The federal government said Thursday that debt collectors and nursing homes are violating a law that prevents them from requiring residents' relatives and friends to pay the costs of care facilities. The report also noted that some of these facilities have forced relatives and friends to declare bankruptcy or have their homes seized.
In response to the growing number of complaints, the government sent letters to nursing homes and debt collectors to urge them to follow the law and stop collecting fees that are not paid. According to the report, many of the families who spoke with regulators said that their relatives were forced to pay thousands of dollars in unpaid fees.
The head of the Consumer Bureau, Rohit Chopra, held a public hearing to discuss the issue. He was joined by administrators of nursing homes and other individuals affected by debt collection.
According to lawyers in New York, they have seen numerous lawsuits filed against the families and friends of nursing home residents who are being forced to pay the facility's fees. This puts the families in a difficult situation and forces them to choose between protecting their loved ones or their financial ruin.
One of the individuals who spoke at the hearing said they received a letter from a debt collector demanding thousands of dollars for his mother's nursing home stay. He broke down in tears as he told the officials of the Consumer Bureau that they should do something to stop the collection agencies from harassing him and other individuals.
The report also highlighted the cases of debt collectors who were sent to collect unpaid fees after the death of a loved one. One woman was sent to collections for over $80,000 two days after her mother passed away.
The agency noted that debt collectors are also violating various laws when it comes to collecting fees from nursing homes. One of these laws prohibits them from making false, misleading, or deceptive representations.
The agency did not identify the individuals who were affected by debt collection. However, it noted that these activities could violate various laws. One of these laws prohibits debt collectors from making false or misleading representations.
According to the CDC, there are 1.3 million people in nursing homes in the US. Rising demand and the cost of care are some of the factors that have led to the increasing number of people in this facility. In 2021, the annual cost of a room in a nursing home was around $108,405.
The cost of long-term care has increased significantly over the past couple of years. Most people are not insured against the rising cost of care. Medicare, which provides coverage for older adults once they reach the age of 65, only covers nursing home care for up to a hundred days. On the other hand, Medicaid, which is a government-backed program, provides low-income individuals with financial assistance to pay for nursing home care.
According to lawyers at the Justice in Aging, the lack of enforcement of laws has led to many nursing homes requiring residents to pay for their own care.
During the hearing, it was noted that the agencies that are responsible for overseeing the operations of nursing homes rarely cite companies that require their third-party clients to sign admission agreements. A lawyer representing some of the individuals who spoke at the hearing stated that courts should be educated about the scope of these problems.