Nursing Homes as Guardians of Their Debtor Patients

If you saw today's New York Times article on New York nursing homes seeking guardianship over residents in order to collect outstanding debt, under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law, you may also have questions.

Section 81.19 of the Mental Hygiene Law specifies (emphasis added):

(e) Unless the court finds that no other person or corporation is available or willing to act
as guardian, or to provide needed services for the incapacitated person, the following persons or
corporations may not serve as guardian:
1. one whose only interest in the person alleged to be incapacitated is that of a
creditor;
2. one, other than a relative, who is a provider, or the employee of a provider, of
health care, day care, educational, or residential services to the incapacitated person, whether
direct or indirect.

If a corporate entity may petition or threaten to  obtain  guardianship over a current resident in order to resolve an outstanding disputed debt owed to the corporate entity and withdraw the petition as soon as the debt is paid in full, what can guardianship law mean in New York?

x-posted at PrawfsBlawg

2 comments

  1. The Times article was put on our list of questions to ask our trust attorney at our up coming review.
    Also a post about Long Term Care Insurance might be an interesting topic. I wonder what happens when your insurance company goes BK and quits paying.

    Like

  2. I’be been on both sides of the nursing home guardianship issues.
    The nursing home usually (not always) moves when the family or someone is looting the assets, either to avoid paying the nursing home or simply to loot the assets. Or perhaps the other spouse does not have capacity, or is confused, or stubborn.
    In any case is it often ugly and difficult.

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