Shortened after-death billing cycle under new law could squeeze assisted living operators

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A New Hampshire law affecting the billing practices of assisted living communities after a resident’s death could result in increased fees for all residents, an expert says.

Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed Senate Bill 281 into law on Friday, which prohibits assisted living communities and nursing homes from operating a 30-day notice vacancy policy. Under this policy, properties continue to charge rent and fees for up to 30 days after a resident’s death to cover the costs of renovations before reoccupancy by a new resident.

The law now puts an end to this billing cycle at 10 days. If personal property prevents the reuse of a room, this 10-day period begins after the estate or responsible party removes those items. Connecticut has a similar books law, capping the billing cycle at 15 days.

New Hampshire Health Care Association President and CEO Brendan Wlliams called the new law an “interesting precedent” and suggested it would affect assisted living communities more than nursing homes because of the time and money needed to renovate someone’s home.

“The short period does not take into account the labor crisis which can make it difficult to refurbish an assisted resident’s bedroom or bedrooms, as the setting is often very personalized and not as simple as transforming a nursing home bedroom “Williams said. McKnight Seniors Residence. “It also presumes the inability of residents to knowingly enter into full month-long rental contracts – a presumption of incapacity that does not exist in other areas where the rights of an older consumer may be at stake. : Medicare Advantage contracts, life insurance viatical settlements, reverse mortgages, daily leases, etc.

Williams said facilities will adjust their policies, possibly at a higher cost to all residents.

New Hampshire Association of Residential Care Homes Board Chairman Eldon Munson said McKnight Senior Residence that his legislative committee did not oppose the bill and deemed it “valid”. He added that although NHARCH, Argentum’s national partner, has several larger supplier members, most of its members are in the 20 to 30 bed range and have had no problems with clearing a bed. room within 10 days.

State Sen. Bill Gannon (R-Sandown) sponsored the bill after he received a $14,000 bill from his mother’s assisted living community after she died and he removed her belongings. Gannon testified at a hearing in January that he negotiated a lower bill with the community, but he knows of other families who have lost money because of the billing policy.

Gannon also testified that a 10-day process “seems fair, giving the establishment time to paint the room and make small repairs if needed.” He said SB 281 will end “unfair practices” in senior living communities and nursing homes.

“These end-of-life expenses have hit New Hampshire’s grieving families hard, taking thousands of dollars to pay for a nursing home room weeks after the death of a loved one,” Gannon said in a statement. Twitter Publish. “These vacant rooms are filled almost immediately, so these facilities shouldn’t charge two families at the same time.”

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