Consumer Protection Law

Consumer Financial Protection – Debt Collection Defense Attorney

Debt collectors use various forms of illegal intimidation, including talking with friends and employers about a consumer’s debt without permission from the debtor; making harassing or abusive telephone calls; threatening to take actions that are illegal or not intended; and suing on debts that were paid or not owed. Fortunately there are more lawyers specializing in helping consumers with debt collection harassment than ever before. Melissa Wu is one of those lawyers.

Assisted Living and Nursing Home Admission Agreements

The Attorney General’s Office and the Maryland Department of Aging have created publications that advise consumers about the rights of, as well as risks to, residents of Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities.

The State of Maryland’s Attorney General’s Office has published Nursing Homes: What You Need to Know, which may be downloaded at the Attorney General’s Website at http://www.oag.state.md.us/consumer/NursingHomeGuideWeb.pdf.

Maryland Department of Aging has published Assisted Living: What You Need to Know, which may be downloaded at the Maryland Department of Aging’s website at http://www.mdoa.state.md.us/documents/ALGuide_002.pdf.

Sometimes the admission contract delegates the signer, if other than the resident, a “guarantor” or “responsible party” meaning he/she contractually agrees to pay the resident’s bill if the resident fails to pay. Federal law makes it illegal for a nursing home to require a third party to guarantee payment as a condition of admission, expedited admission or continued stay at a facility. This federal law applies to any nursing home that accepts either Medicare or Medicaid. However, there are exceptions to this federal law, so before you sign an admission contract, have it reviewed by an experienced attorney.

Remember, the resident should sign the admission contract. If someone else signs, it should be done in his or her capacity as guardian or power of attorney only. The admission contact should not attempt to have the resident waive any of his rights or shift away the facility’s obligation to protect the resident and his/her property. This includes admission contracts that require the resident to submit his claims or grievances to binding arbitration while allowing the facility to choose to pursue claims against the resident either through a court of law or through arbitration.

If you have a question about consumer protection issues and the elderly, contact Melissa Wu for a complimentary consultation.