I shared with our readers the outrageous and unfair admission agreement/contract used by Trinity Mission Nursing Home here in Virginia in a previous post last week. To say the admission agreement used by this nursing home chain is “one-sided” would be a huge understatement.
Lauren did some quick legal research and it appears at least one court in the state of Mississippi agrees with our assessment of this grossly unfair contract.
In May of 2006, the Court of Appeals for the State of Mississippi in Trinity Mission Health & Rehabilitation of Clinton and LPNH Holdings Limited, LLC, Appellants v. The Estate of Mary Scott, found many aspects of the Trinity Mission contract to be “unconscionable.” The term unconscionable is a legal term which refers to a contract which is so unfair to a party that no reasonable or informed person would agree to it. Typically, a court will not enforce an unconscionable contract (award damages or order specific performance) against the person unfairly treated, on the theory that he/she was misled, lacked information or signed under duress or a misunderstanding.
In the Mary Scott case, the lawyers for the resident argued that fourteen provisions of the admission agreement were unconscionable or illegal. Amazingly, even the lawyers hired by Trinity Mission conceded that several provisions were unconscionable and should be stricken. After reviewing the evidence, the appellate court found the following provisions to be unconscionable and unenforceable:
1. The provision prohibiting lawsuits against the facility for acts of negligence:
2. The provision waiving liability for criminal acts against individuals;
3. The limitation of recoverable actual damages to $50,000;
4. The exclusion of punitive damages in cases of willful or wanton conduct;
5. The language requiring the resident to pay for enforcement costs of the agreement if the resident challenged the grievance resolution process or its award;
6. The language requiring legal action within one year of the alleged event;
7. The court also rejected the contracts provision setting the costs for requested copies of the resident’s medical records at three dollars per page. The court noted that Mississippi law set the maximum allowable charge for medical records (like Virginia) and the Trinity contract could not supersede Mississippi law.
My Take: This agreement/contract is outrageous…unfair…and unreasonable. Don’t sign it. I do not believe a Virginia court would find the agreement enforceable, but take your loved one to another nursing home. If Trinity Mission tries this hard to avoid its responsibilities and obligations to its residents….then it is not a place I would want to take care of one of my family members. Trinity Mission has at least the following four nursing homes in Virginia:
Trinity Mission Health & Rehab Hillsville (Hillsville, Virginia)
Trinity Mission of Charlottesville (Charlottesville, Virginia)
Trinity Mission Health & Rehab of Rocky Mount (Rocky Mount, Virginia)
Trinity Mission Farmville (Farmville, Virginia)