Does your admissions process put you at risk of a legal nightmare?

Senior care admissions legal risk
Senior care admissions legal risk

By Susan Saldibar

(originally published in Senior Living Foresight)
“Just one missed signature can cost thousands in lost revenue!”

Are you ready for your next compliance inspection?

Ask yourself these 2 questions:
“Are your admissions move-in documents legally defensible?”
And “Would they stand up to an audit?”

There are a number of ways your documents may lead to a deficiency citation

  • Out-of-date documents
  • Incomplete documents, and
  • Missing signatures
  • Mistakes & Inconsistencies
  • Document Version Control

These can totally derail a move-in process. But they can also cause major legal headaches from auditors, as well as cost thousands of dollars per month in lost revenues, after you discover your less-than-tidy document management.

Think this isn’t serious stuff? Spend a few minutes with Darren Mathis, owner and CEO of LincWare, who knows how critical this can be. “To be honest, these are some of the reasons we developed AdmitPlus,” he tells me. AdmitPlus is LincWare’s digital admissions platform. “Senior living community operators often don’t even know they have a document problem until an auditor comes around and tells them that they do.” That’s a bad way to find out.

I spoke with Darren recently about some of the problems associated with admissions document issues. When you think of the sheer number of documents involved in the admissions process, it isn’t hard to see all the potential points of failure.

Here are a few of weak points in your admissions process

  • Outdated documents: There is a good reason legal documents go through version changes. Because legislation and requirements go through changes. Just try to justify an outdated document to an auditor. You’ll get nailed every time. And yet it happens. All the time. “This is especially an issue when communities get into the habit of emailing new documents back and forth,” Darren tells me. “We recently did a document review for a prospect and found that 30% of their locations were using the wrong version of the move-in documents. Corporate had no idea,” Darren adds.
  • Version Control: You have to have a set of documents per location when dealing with paper. When you have multiple locations, admissions management teams continually struggle to stay on top of document management. Plus, with paper, you have no way of being 100% sure the correct versions are being used. If you have 20 locations, you have 20 sets of documents times the number of care levels to manage.
  • Unsigned and/or missing documents: When there is a dispute about a document and it turns out the document was never signed, it becomes a moot point. The resident has the advantage. “This cost one of our clients over $3,000 in lost revenue, because a resident didn’t sign the document that stated they would be charged for a full month if they moved out mid-month,” Darren explains. The same is true if a document is missing.

Want to schedule a call to see how LincWare can help your organization?

So, what happens when one or more of the above compliance issues is uncovered in an audit or state inspection?

The short answer is that your community will be cited a deficiency citation if they discover documents that are missing, unsigned or otherwise poorly executed.

The prospective resident or the prospective resident’s responsible person must sign a written admission agreement prior to admission. The admission agreement shall be kept on file by the facility and shall specify at least the following:

Minimal Requirements of the Admissions Agreement

  1. Room and board charges and charges for basic and optional services
  2. Provision for a 30-day notice prior to any change in established charges
  3. Admission, retention, transfer, discharge, and eviction policies
  4. Conditions under which the agreement may be terminated
  5. The name of the responsible party
  6. Notice that the Department has the authority to examine resident records to determine compliance with licensing requirement and
  7. Refund provisions that address the following:
  1. thirty-day notices for transfer or discharge given by the facility or by the resident
  2. emergency transfers or discharges
  3. transfers or discharges without notice and
  4. the death of a resident

Lay your legal and lost revenue fears to bed with next-generation admissions software

The prospective resident or the prospective resident’s responsible person must sign a written admission agreement prior to admission. The admission agreement shall be kept on file by the facility and shall specify at least the following:

Having an automated platform that centralizes documents, keeps versions updated with appropriate communities, enables flow-through of signatures and other redundant information, and ensures that all documents are executed, will give you the confidence to say “Yes!” to those questions.

LincWare
401 Main Street
East Rochester, NY 14445
​For Sales & Tech Support
585-563-1669
sales@lincware.com
support@lincware.com

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