Nursing homes may be the best place for seniors with serious physical or mental health conditions. If it is no longer possible for you or a loved one to live on your own because of age or infirmity, a nursing home setting can provide the necessary supervision, medical help, and assistance with activities of daily living.
Unfortunately, nursing homes can be expensive and sometimes people don’t get the quality of care they expect when they go into a nursing home. To make sure costs can be covered and an appropriate level of care provided, it is beneficial to speak with an experienced nursing home planning lawyer. The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. is here to help. Give us a call at 866-417-4566 for personalized advice in Worcester and Burlington, MA as well as surrounding areas. We can also answer questions including:
- What should be involved in nursing home planning?
- When should the nursing home planning process start?
- How can a Worcester nursing home planning lawyer help?
What Should be Involved in Nursing Home Planning?
Nursing home planning should be focused on two primary goals: making sure you get quality care and making sure you can pay for that care. Both goals can be difficult to achieve, and it is important to start early – well before care is actually required.
To ensure you or a family member get quality care, it is important to research available nursing care facilities. You can read past reviews of nursing homes in your local area, and should check whether the nursing home has been fined or subject to any federal or state penalties for substandard care.
Many nursing homes today are owned by corporate conglomerates, so pay attention to the reputation of the parent company if there are nursing homes owned by big businesses in your area. You should also make sure that the nursing home is in good standing with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and is eligible to be paid by Medicaid.
When a nursing home has been chosen, you also want to pay careful attention to admissions paperwork. There are sometimes clauses included in this admissions paperwork which will waive the right to a civil lawsuit in case of abuse or neglect. These so-called arbitration clauses will require you to resolve a case before an arbitrator, which can sometimes result in less compensation and which can require you to pay a part of the cost of the arbitrator’s fees. An attorney can review your paperwork to help you understand your rights.
An experienced nursing home planning lawyer can also help you to make sure you can cover the cost of a nursing home. Getting nursing home coverage from Medicare or a private insurer is often not possible, as these insurers will pay for care only if skilled medical services are necessary. Most people go into a nursing home not to get skilled medical care, but instead for custodial care because they can no longer manage activities of daily living. Under such circumstances, Medicaid is the only insurer which will pay.
Medicaid is means-tested and if you do not make a plan to protect your assets, you likely will not qualify for Medicaid coverage until you have spent down a good portion of your nest egg. A key part of your nursing home plan, therefore, will be to make sure you have taken steps to structure ownership of assets so property you own doesn’t cause you to be disqualified from Medicaid coverage.
When Should the Nursing Home Planning Process Start?
The nursing home planning process should start as soon as possible. If you have transferred assets to try to qualify for Medicaid without losing the property, Medicaid will impose a period of disqualification.
Medicaid looks back five years from the time you apply to get coverage for a nursing home in order to determine if an asset transfer has happened that should result in a period when you cannot get benefits. As a result, it is best to engage in nursing home planning at least five years before nursing home care is needed.
How Can a Burlington Nursing Home Planning Lawyer Help?
The Law Offices of James A. Miller, P.C. has helped many seniors and their families with the nursing home planning process in Worcester, Burlington, and surrounding areas throughout Massachusetts. If you want to make sure you can cover the costs of nursing care and that you can choose the right facility to meet your needs, give us a call at 866-417-4566 or contact us online. We will help you to address all of the issues that you need to before you or a loved one moves into a nursing home setting. Contact us now to learn more.