Some nursing homes in New York state are filing guardianship petitions to gain legal power over their residents, including control of their money, in order to pay nursing home debts owed by the patients.
According to The New York Times, researchers at Hunter College in New York City claim that these types of guardianship cases are becoming more common in the state.
The Hunter College researchers found that out of 700 random guardianship cases over the past ten years filed in Manhattan, 12 percent were nursing homes.
The nursing homes are using Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law passed by New York legislators in 1993. This law was passed on behalf of seniors who had not prepared a power of attorney or health care proxy prior to becoming mentally incapacitated. The law allows anyone, including nursing homes, to file for guardianship of anyone who is deemed to be incapacitated, notes KBOAttorneys.com.
Many times the family of the senior has no idea that the nursing home has even filed the petition, or if they do find out, the family must hire its own lawyer to fight the nursing home in court.
“It’s a strategic move to intimidate,” Ginalisa Monterroso, chief executive of Medicaid Advisory Group, a company that represents seniors in nursing homes, told The New York Times. “Nursing homes do it just to bring money.”
However, nursing home lawyers claim that filing for guardianship is better than suing a mentally incapacitated resident for unpaid debts.
Sources: The New York Times, KBOAttorneys.com, NY.gov
Image Credit: WebTV3