5 Things You Need To Know About Admissions Agreements

When signing any sort of contract, there is always a risk that the signee will be taken advantage of. Contracts can be hard to read and translate, especially if they are bogged down in legalese. When it comes to nursing homes and other care facilities, the risk of blindly signing an agreement that harms you as a resident increases. Not all facilities intend to cause harm with their admissions agreements, but rather the risk is that the resident (or even their loved ones) may be under a lot of pressure and stress, and they may feel they have no choice but to sign—even if they don’t know everything contained in the contract.

That’s why it is critical to have a basic understanding of what admissions contracts typically contain, and how you should approach the process. Here are 5 things you need to know about admissions agreements.

PC: Joey Banks via Unsplash

Admissions Agreements

Many thanks to the California Advocates of Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) for creating a helpful fact sheet on admissions agreements. They have outlined the many things to keep in mind, including:

  1. The various sections/topics that need to be in the contract. When looking over the contract, be sure to note that it includes a description of residents’ rights, visiting guidelines, evictions, theft and loss policies, fee schedules, a list of services provided, access to telecommunication technology if needed, provisions for both modifying and terminating the agreement, complaints procedures, house rules, and more.
  2. Read the agreement thoroughly. Unfortunately, some facilities may take advantage of the fact that residents and their families have no other choices. But don’t let that force you to sign something you haven’t read. According to HSC 1569.881; CCR 87507, facilities must make a blank copy of the agreement available. Ask for a copy to take home and read thoroughly. Make a list of questions. Maybe even ask an attorney to take a look at the document and explain any confusing portions.
  3. All fees must be stated clearly in the agreement. Up front fees, and variations of fees must be clearly laid out in the agreement. If fees are not stated, ensure that it is added to the agreement.

Note: Facilities cannot charge a security or damage deposit or a cleaning fee.

  1. Look for arbitration. Keep a keen eye out for any section that is intended to protect the nursing home facility from liability or require arbitration. These clauses most likely do not have the residents’ best interest at heart. An arbitration agreement would limit your ability, as a resident, to take legal action against the facility. It is not advised to sign an arbitration agreement as part of your admission paperwork.

“The law already allows someone to seek arbitration when advised by counsel that it is the most prudent strategy.” 

  1. Do not sign unless you fully understand the agreement. As a protection against abuses and to ensure you are not blindsided by mystery policies, it is crucial to only sign the admissions agreement voluntarily and after reading it and having your questions answered. Keep a copy of the agreement (which must be provided to you) where you can easily access it if any concerns come up. 

If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect, call Gharibian Law (877-460-1187) today for a FREE consultation and the best legal representation.