Long-term care collection dispute

Print
Email
|

by JESSE JONES / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on June 8, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 8 at 9:54 PM

"Whenever I needed help, she was there to help me out. She was tough and some of that rubbed off on me," said Jan Meredith.

That's why she reacted so strongly to what happened. Her 99-year-old mother, Ann Meredith, used to live in Merrill Gardens Northgate Plaza. The facility claimed she owed $4,027 and sent the bill to collections.

What bill? Jan says she never saw one.

"I was really angry. I felt this isn't fair, this isn't right," she said.

Merrill Gardens who manages the facility is blaming Ann for a flooding incident in her room and they wanted her to pay for the repairs.

"That she had tried to go to the bathroom and dropped a depend down the toilet, and I'm questioning that," said Jan.

So am I. A nurse's physical assessment of Ann shows that she was unable to assist with clothing and hygiene due to impaired balance and leg weakness. In other words, she was unable to use a bathroom by herself.

"Toward the end she couldn't do anything by herself," said Jan.

She says they wouldn't put her in contact with anyone who witnessed the incident.

"Nope, they just said she did it, but I don't see how she could have," she continued.

Jan says she spoke to an accountant at Merrill Gardens about the collections notice.

"He said he'd look into it and get more details and get back to me," she said. But he never did.

So Jan called me, and I spoke to Robin Buban from Merrill Gardens. She couldn't talk about Jan's mom, but did say they could have done a better job handling this.

"This is not how we communicate with our families. We want to have close and frequent communication," Buban said. "So we apologize and and that's why we're forgiving that debt and will not be collecting for the damage cost."

We appreciate Merrill Gardens taking care of this as quickly as they did.

If you have a loved on in an assisted living facility, make sure you keep all of your records. That physical assessment really helped Jan make her case. If you need help, another resource is a long-term care ombudsman. They are free and can help you find a resolution to difficult cases like Ann's.

Link: http://www.ltcombudsman.org/ombudsman

For consumer concerns, e-mail Jesse at getjesse@king5.com or call toll-free 877-51-JESSE.

Print
Email
|