MOORESVILLE, N.C. — If you have a parent, grandparent or other family member in assisted living, then you know the stress of worrying about making sure they receive the best possible care.
But what happens if you think the facility didn't follow proper protocol? That's the situation a Mooresville family found themselves in when their father passed away. If you're in this situation or headed that way, there's a lot to know and a lot to keep track of daily.
The Summerville family chose Carillon assisted living in Mooresville for their father, Glenn. The stay wasn't long. He needed surgery and things didn't go well. Glenn was then moved to hospice for end-of-life care.
The Summervilles lost their dad but they say something important never happened.
"State statutes require, in a situation like this, that facilities go back to the hospital staff and make an assessment to see whether or not the patient will be coming back as a resident, and they didn't do this," said Paul Summerville.
The Summervilles say no medical assessment was immediately done and say Carillon continued to bill them for time their dad wasn't living there. The bill? It was for $5,437.42 by their estimate, something that is in dispute, which is why they called NBC Charlotte's Bill McGinty.
Earlier this week, Carillon told NBC Charlotte on the phone that the contract says families can be billed until belonging are removed and they say the charges here reflect that. But with no medical assessment done, would you — or should you — vacate if you are in that situation?
"If the facility does an assessment, and they deem that they can no longer provide health care services to the resident, they inform us that we must vacate the property," said Paul.
Lots of families find themselves faced with these situations: billing, health and end-of-life care.
Two takeaways here: first, make sure there is great two-way communication, and companies tend to fall back on the small print in their contracts when disputes arrive, so read it thoroughly and note all deadlines. If something appears vague, ask.
So far, Carillon has refunded the Summerville family almost half of the disputed bill, roughly $2,500, but the Summervilles want the whole amount back and say they're entitled to it.
"Because you are relying on them and you are paying them a very big fee to guide you through these processes," Paul added.
Carillon wrote NBC Charlotte a response defending their actions here, saying they have acted fairly and ethically in the matter. As for that assessment, Carillon wrote "an assessment is not required until a resident is ready to return to the community, and event that is typically carefully coordinated by the discharge planners, Carillon and the family. We have many residents who elect to hold their rooms while they undergo a short hospital or rehab stay."
Carillon wrote the following:
“Under the terms of the resident agreement and by regulation, Carillon was entitled to receive a 14-day notice under these circumstances. Knowing the resident had been out of the community for a little more than 2 weeks, we did not uphold this notice requirement. This does not, however, negate the fact that Mr. Summerville maintained physical occupancy of his room via his belongings through the notice date on which he vacated his room, and is financially responsible through that date as a result.”
The Summervilles were quick to point out the care their dad got while he was there was good, and their issue is with the business side of things.