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Can private pay facility change rules for their benefit?

Around August 2014, I moved mom into a private pay assisted living/memory care location. At that time, they had a large one bedroom with a living room that they were willing to convert to a double room (Room A). We argreed on the rate and moved mom in. A few months later, they sent a letter about a rate hike. To me that sound a little like bait and switch. I negoitated with them to keep the same rate as it had not even been a year yet. Mom had a couple of roommates in this shared room. A few months after that, they contacted me about a room for my mom with a lower rate (Room B). I agreed to that! I did not have to do anything-they moved all her stuff. They have again sent a letter about a rate increase. I called and after a few weeks negotiated an affordable rate. During the new rate negoitation, nothing was ever said about the possibility of moving mom to another room if someone wanted to have a room mate. Now, someone has moved to the facility and wants a room mate in another room (Room C). They told me they were going to move my mom to that room because I was not paying to full room rate for Room B. After the Regional Director talked to her supervisor, I was told this week the decision was for my mom to stay in Room B until such time as space became available in Room C. I have been paying the agreed upon rate for Room B since she has been in it. The contract I signed does not give the facility permission to move my mom because of convenience for them. Please advise because I think I need legal assistance. Thank you.
Status: Open    Mar 21, 2016 - 09:00 AM

Senior Living Communities, Elder Law

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Expert Answers

Apr 04, 2016 - 01:06 PM

First of all, kudos to you for negotiating your mother's room rate each time they have raised it. You have already done a great job advocating for her.

It sounds like you may have a legal issue regarding a contract, or a series of contracts. The contract you signed and the laws in your state will help determine what the facility can and cannot do regarding moving your mother. I would recommend contacting an elder law attorney in your state or finding a general practitioner who often works with contracts. An elder law attorney should have a more intimate knowledge of the laws surrounding assisted living facilities, but a contract attorney may have more experience in negotiating or arguing contract language.

If you do not wish to consult an attorney, never underestimate the power of negotiation -- as you have established! You may be able to get what you want by being firm, but kind, with the administrative staff. In my experience, most facilities are willing to work with families who are reasonable and pay the bill on time! Good luck to you!

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