Earlier this month, The Mercury of Pottstown reported that in Pennsylvania, adult children could be sued for their parent’s nursing home bill after the PA Supreme Court declined to review the lower court decisions in the case of HCRA v. Pittas.
According to the article, the decisions were based on interpretation of the “filial support” laws here in PA. This law states that adult children are financially responsible for their indigent parents, although the word “indigent” is not defined.
In the Pittas case, Mr. Pittas’ mother went into a nursing home for rehabilitation after a car accident. She then moved to Greece, leaving almost $93,000 in unpaid nursing home bills. The court found that since Mr. Pittas’ mother did not have sufficient income to pay the nursing home bill, she was considered indigent. There was no evidence that Mr. Pittas took any of his mother’s money for himself, yet the Superior Court rejected his arguments that the courts should have considered other forms of payment, like his mother’s husband, her other two adult children, or Medicaid.
In the article, it mentions that other states have similar filial support laws, but none are used to the extent that they are here in Pennsylvania. Also, Pennsylvania’s laws authorize providers of care to bring law suits against adult children.
This case leaves open the opportunity for adults with parents to incur significant care costs. The possibility that this could happen to you if you have a parent in a nursing home makes it even more important to ensure that they are getting the care they deserve. If you suspect that your parent is in a skilled nursing facility and is being neglected, you may have a case. Contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates for a free review of your case.