Transfer of Assets to Qualify for Medicaid Constituted a Breach of the Defendants’ Contract with Plaintiff Continuing Care Retirement Community
The Third Department, in a full-fledged opinion by Justice Lynch, determined the defendants’ (the Yezzis’) transfer of funds in order to qualify for Medicaid constituted a breach of the contract with the plaintiff (GSV), a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), as well as a fraudulent transfer under the Debtor-Creditor Law:
… [T]he essence of the CCRC financial model requires a tradeoff between the resident and the facility, in which the resident must disclose and spend his or her assets for the services provided, while the facility must continue to provide those services for the duration of the resident’s lifetime even after private funds are exhausted and Medicaid becomes the only source of payment. With this long-term commitment, the facility necessarily must evaluate the financial feasibility of accepting a resident in the first instance.
Pertinent here, the contract provided that the Yezzis could “not transfer assets represented as available in [their] application to be a [r]esident of [GSV] for less than fair market value, unless the transfer [would] not impair [their] ability to pay [their] financial obligations to [GSV].” The contract further required the Yezzis to “make every reasonable effort to meet [their] financial obligations” to GSV and prohibited them from making “any transfers or gifts after actual occupancy, which would substantially impair [their] ability or the ability of [their] estate to satisfy [their] financial obligations to [GSV].” Further, the contract specifies that the financial information disclosed with their application was “a material part of this [contract], . . . [that was] incorporated as a part of this [contract].” Although, as defendants correctly contend, the contract does not affirmatively state that the Yezzis must expend the private resources identified with their application, it does expressly preclude the transfer of such resources without fair consideration.
Given the long-term nature of the contract, which expressly embraced the prospect of nursing facility care, we agree with Supreme Court that the admission agreement is supplemental to, and does not supercede, the contract. We recognize that, under the admission agreement, the Yezzis were required to “pay for, or arrange to have paid for by Medicaid, . . . all services provided by [GSV]” (emphasis added). We are not, however, persuaded by defendants’ interpretation that this disjunctive provision required plaintiff to accept Medicaid as an alternative payment source. Construed together, the contract and admission agreement are actually compatible in that the CCRC financial model anticipates that, upon depletion of a resident’s personal resources, Medicaid will be the ultimate source of payment — and plaintiff is contractually obligated to accept Medicaid while continuing to provide the same services. Consistently, addendum X to the admission agreement specifies that, “[i]t is the responsibility of residents, and those who assist them, to use the residents’ assets and income to pay the costs associated with their residency and health care.” Good Shepherd Vil. at Endwell, Inc. v Yezzi, 2015 NY Slip Op 08031, 3rd Dept 11-5-15