A woman who transferred nearly $60,000 from her mother’s bank account can’t be held liable for nursing home fees not covered by Medicaid, a New Jersey appellate court has ruled.
In the months after she moved to Liberty Royal Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in 2013, the nursing home resident applied for Medicaid coverage. She was denied for a 224-day period because she had previously “transferred” $58,618 to an account in her daughter’s name.
In fact, the daughter, referred to as “M.D.,” had transferred the money in 2010 before she became her mother’s power of attorney, later claiming she did so because her father was showing signs of dementia and mismanaging the funds.
M.D. claimed she used the cash for her mother’s care, to include costs of the mother’s condo and at-home care, before a fall precipitated her nursing home stay.
It was the daughter who signed her mother’s financial documents when the resident moved into Liberty. She did so only as the power of attorney and not as a guarantor, however.
Liberty’s owner, Future Care Consultants, sued the woman, arguing that the transfer was conversion.
But the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division said Future Care was never the owner of the funds in question and had no standing to bring such a case.
The July 5 ruling also notes there was no contract or other signed document between Future Care or M.D. that would have made M.D. a responsible payer.
The defendant “is not obligated to pay (the) balance out of defendant’s own funds and plaintiff’s argument is therefore devoid of any merit,” the court ruled.
The court also tossed a counter suit alleging Liberty violated the Nursing Home Act, again citing the lack of any agreement between the parties.