Friday, September 7, 2012

Nursing Facility Case Law Update

In May of this year, the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued a decision requiring a son to pay for his indigent mother’s care provided in a skilled nursing facility.
Brandon B. Rothey, Esquire
In Healthcare & Retirement Corporation of America, d/b/a Liberty Nursing & Rehabilitation Center v. Pittas, a mother received care from a skilled nursing facility for injuries sustained in a car accident.  After discharge, the mother relocated to Greece.  A large portion of the bill remained unpaid.  The Plaintiff instituted a filial support action against the son.  Pursuant to 23 Pa. C.S.A. § 4603 (the “Act”), the facility sought to hold a son liable for the outstanding amount incurred.  After a three day non-jury trial, the court entered a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff in the amount of approximately $90,000.00.  On appeal, the Superior Court held that the son had sufficient financial ability to pay for the care of the indigent parent and that the parent was indigent for purposes of the Act.
Pennsylvania is one of only a small number of states to require such responsibility.  However, the Act is not without its detractors and a bill has been introduced to repeal the filial support law.  House Bill 321 is currently in the Judiciary Committee.  It is unknown at this time whether the Superior Court’s decision will be appealed or whether the House Bill will make it out of Committee.  Rest assured, that the attorneys of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP will continue to monitor these important decisions.

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