Proposed Bill Seeks to Prevent New Jersey Nursing Homes from Financially Victimizing Residents:
New legislation has been introduced to prevent New Jersey nursing homes, or any entities associated with these homes, from managing residents’ financial affairs without a court order, says an article on nj.com. The legislation comes in the wake of two alleged events of nursing home malpractice in which vulnerable residents lost their assets when a financial agent affiliated with the nursing home industry acted as their power of attorney.
Both of the aforementioned alleged nursing home malpractice cases involved the Brooklyn-based financial company Future Care Consultants, and its CEO, Shmuel “Sam” Stern. Stern assumed total control over the assets of two nursing home residents, Suzanne Araneo and Peter Bonnano, when these residents signed power of attorney documents under questionable circumstances. In both cases the only witnesses of the signing were members of nursing home staff. Both nursing home residents were subsequently drained of their assets. The stories go as follows:
- Suzanne Araneo allegedly signed a power of attorney while under heavy medication at Anchor Care & Rehabilitation, giving over to Stern every power to sell, transfer or dispose of her assets. The notarization of Araneo’s signature on the power of attorney documents was by someone not present at the time of signing. Araneo later discovered that all of her possessions had been sold off or thrown away, including her car. Among the allegations of nursing home malpractice in the lawsuit filed against Anchor Care were the following accusations: false imprisonment, breach of contract, and violation of the rights of a nursing home resident.
- Peter Bonanno also signed away his assets to Stern while staying at Lakeland Health Care Center following a brief hospital stay, despite the fact that existing documentation showed his sister was in control of these assets.Stern allegedly liquidated several bank accounts jointly held by Bonanno and his sister, diverting nearly $60,000 to the nursing home. Lakeland then used these funds as a basis for billing Bonanno at the private pay rate, which is more profitable than the Medicaid rate, claimed Bonanno’s attorney.
The proposed bill, introduced by state Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex and co-sponsored by Sen. Robert Singer, R-Ocean, aims to prevent nursing homes and associates from managing the financial affairs of nursing home residents “except pursuant to an order of the Superior Court appointing that person as guardian.” The legislation moreover would ban nursing home owners or workers from acting under a power of attorney on behalf of residents.
In the cases of both Araneo and Bonanno, no guardianship and accompanying court review were involved in deciding whether or not someone ought to be handling these residents’ affairs or if signing powers of attorney were in their best interests. Vitale’s bill would establish extra protections for residents against this sort of nursing home malpractice by requiring guardian appointments.
Fighting against Elder Abuse, Nursing Home Malpractice, and Wrongful Death
As a nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney, Brian P. Murphy is committed to fighting for the health and safety of Philadelphia/PA an NJ nursing home residents. Your loved one living in a Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home, should feel safe and sufficiently cared for and not need to worry about being subjected to nursing home abuse/neglect. Brian Murphy’s extensive experience working as a wrongful death attorney and fighting negligent nursing homes demonstrates his commitment to holding nursing homes responsible for nursing home malpractice. Should you find yourself needing to contact a nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney, call Brian Murphy today to discuss your legal options.