This is Strategy #23 from Lamson & Cutner’s publication, “25 Strategies to Prevent Financial Ruin from Long-Term Health Care Costs.” Click here to see the other strategies.
If you require nursing home care, you’ll have to choose a facility. Experienced Elder Law attorneys can suggest homes in your area you may want to consider. An established firm may also have relationships with some of the better residences, which may facilitate your acceptance at one of them.
Capable firms often receive referrals from many nursing facilities, to assist their prospective residents with preparing successful Medicaid applications. There are lawyers who have worked with quality homes many times, and maintain a strong rapport with their staffs.
One of a nursing home’s primary concerns is getting paid for its services. When a competent Elder Law attorney says a client will get Medicaid, a facility will generally regard it as a reliable recommendation. The nursing home staff knows that if skilled lawyers handle your application, they can be more confident of Medicaid approval. Consequently, there’s an increased chance of the home accepting you as a resident.
It’s like any other business relationship. An attorney can present a solid application on behalf of a client. If there are two applicants for a vacancy, will a home be more responsive to someone whose case is handled by a law firm they know and trust, or a complete stranger? There’s no guarantee of course, however, it’s another benefit of working with experienced Elder Law professionals, and stacks the deck in your favor.
Here’s an example that shows how these relationships can work to your benefit. Lamson & Cutner represented a widow who was residing in a nursing facility on Long Island. We secured her assets and obtained Medicaid approval to pay the cost of her care. Just as important for this client, due to the strong relationship we had with the staff, she was able to keep a room she loved because of its extraordinary view.
Your attorney can also help persuade a nursing home to take you as a new resident with a “Medicaid pending” status. Then, even though Medicaid may not process your application until several months later, the establishment may still feel comfortable enough with potential approval and retroactive payment from Medicaid that they will accept you.
In instances of pending applications, you can see that if a nursing facility is dealing with a law firm they don’t know, or with a person who files his or her own application, the admissions staff may worry about Medicaid approval. If they let you in and Medicaid rejects your application, they may have to go through an extended series of procedures involving hearings and court appearances. These are expensive, time-consuming, and expose them to risk.
Nursing homes don’t want problem cases. If you’re not going to pay for the care yourself, they want to know that you’re eligible for Medicaid. This is another reason why it’s to your advantage to have your application professionally prepared.
If you need home care, these same principles can work on your behalf. Some lawyers have excellent relationships with home care providers also.