The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the admission agreement signed by the nursing-home resident’s granddaughter (who was appointed guardian of her grandfather’s property) did not impose personal liability upon the granddaughter for payment of the cost of her resident’s care (provided by the plaintiff facility). Therefore, plaintiff should not have seized the granddaughter’s personal funds. The default judgment in favor of plaintiff should have been vacated, and the breach-of-contract complaint should have been dismissed:
… [t]he admission agreement in this case is subject to the Nursing Home Reform Act (hereinafter the NHRA). As relevant here, the NHRA provides that “[w]ith respect to admissions practices, a nursing facility must . . . not require a third party guarantee of payment to the facility as a condition of admission (or expedited admission) to, or continued stay in, the facility” … . However, that prohibition “shall not be construed as preventing a facility from requiring an individual, who has legal access to a resident’s income or resources available to pay for care in the facility, to sign a contract (without incurring personal financial liability) to provide payment from the resident’s income or resources for such care” … .
The admissions agreement set forth the relevant contractual obligations of the granddaughter, and the admissions agreement demonstrates as a matter of law that it did not render the granddaughter a “third party guarantee of payment” … .”The admission[s] agreement merely required the [granddaughter] to facilitate payment from the . . . resident’s available income and resources, and only to the extent that the [granddaughter] had access to such income and resources and only if [the granddaughter] could do so without incurring any personal financial liability” … . …
.. [T]he plaintiff failed to adequately allege a breach of the granddaughter’s contractual obligation to facilitate payment to the plaintiff from the resident’s “income or resources” … . Nassau Operating Co., LLC v DeSimone, 2022 NY Slip Op 04029, Second Dept 6-22-22
Practice Point: The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) prohibits holding a third-party who signs an admission agreement personally liable for the costs of a resident’s care. The agreement may only obligate the third party to pay the costs from the resident’s assets (over which the third party exercises control).