State Supreme Court to decide if widows are responsible for nursing home bills

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The New Haven Advocate reports that the CT State Supreme Court is considering a case that could have a devastating impact on CT’s 28,000 nursing home patients and their families. The case involves who should pay the $60,795.32 nursing home bill of a man who died two years ago. The nursing home, Wilton Meadows, is suing the patient’s widow citing a law that requires a spouse to pay bills from dentists, doctors, hospitals or items bought to benefit the family; nursing homes are not listed in the law. The lawyers argue that nursing home care is an “item” that benefited the whole family but a lower court disagreed. Nursing homes claim they have no other choice than to bill families because of low Medicaid rates. Too often families bringing patients to nursing homes sign papers taking responsibility for applying for Medicaid and agreeing to pay the bills that Medicaid doesn’t cover. Medicaid applications are difficult and it can take years to qualify.
Ellen Andrews