New Tool Helps Family Members Avoid Improper Debt Collections by Nursing Facilities: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently issued a resource for family members and caregivers of nursing home residents. Federal law prohibits nursing homes from requiring residents’ family or friends from assuming personal financial liability of residents’ expenses. Nursing homes often illegally add language to admissions contracts requiring financial liability of a family member prior to admission. The CFPB Know Your Rights Tool includes language that caregivers should look for in nursing home contracts like holding the caregiver as a “responsible party” or “joint and severally liable.” The tool also reaffirms residents’ and caregivers’ right to refuse to sign a nursing home contract that holds anyone other than the resident personally liable for nursing home costs. It also provides information on getting help with debt collections issues from a long-term care ombudsman, legal aid, state nursing home survey agencies, state attorney general’s offices, and the CFPB’s complaint process.
Nassau Suffolk Law Services’ Consumer Debt Legal Assistance Project provides legal assistance to persons who are experiencing consumer debt problems, especially in matters of credit card and medical debt including nursing home debt. Services may include litigation defense and representation, phone advice, and/or referral for further services, including bankruptcy where appropriate. Residents of Nassau can call 516-292-8100. Suffolk residents can call 631-232-2400
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