Discharge of Residents for Nonpayment of Bill

Nonpayment of bills in a long-term care facility by residents is frequent, and it can lead to discharge.  Being discharged from a facility can be devastating to residents and family members.  Facilities can assist residents in paying their bills in a timely manner before it leads to a significant past due balance and a discharge notice is issued.

There are several reasons why residents are prevented from paying their bills.  Some examples include:

  • Residents may no longer have capacity to manage their finances, thus forgetting to pay their bills, or mismanagement of funds.
  • Their decision maker has not paid; maybe the person overlooked the payment, did not know where to send the check, might be misusing the resident’s funds, the person moved, became ill, or passed away.
  • The Medicaid application was not submitted on time, or the application could not be processed because requested documents were not provided to the eligibility worker. 
  • The Medicaid application was denied, because the resident is over resources.

Nonpayment of facility bills must be addressed immediately.  It is important, because it would prevent accumulating fees that could mount to thousands of dollars.  The facility can address this issue by doing the following:

  • Assess residents to see if they are still able to manage their finances and communicate changes with family member or loved one.
  • Assist the residents and/or family members with the Medicaid process.
  • Be in close contact with the resident’s decision maker when a balance is due;  if there is no response from the decision maker, find out if there is another surrogate person to contact.
  • If there are reasons to suspect financial exploitation, contact Adult Protective Services and the Ombudsman Program.

The key to addressing this issue immediately is to be proactive and have open communication between the facility and the resident and/or decision maker. 

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