Skip Navigation
Babel Fish Translation Babel Fish logo Spanish Flag Russian Flag Korean Flag

Admission Contract

The potential resident, his or her Guardian of Property or Power of Attorney will be asked to sign an admission contract as part of the admission process.

Image of someone filling out paperwork.The admission contract is a legally binding document that defines and describes a resident's legal relationship with the nursing home. Maryland law requires that the admission contract specify the services the facility promises to provide in exchange for the payments made by, or on behalf of, the resident. No matter what an administrator or any staff member might say, a facility is legally bound to provide only what is stated in the contract.

Components of the Contract

These components should be included in the admission contract:

  • State the resident's rights and obligations
  • List the services included, the basic monthly fee and all items that cost extra (The facility can increase its charges, but only after it gives a 45-day written notice to the residents involved.)
  • State the nursing home's policy regarding the right to apply for Medical Assistance benefits if the resident's personal funds are exhausted during a stay in the facility
  • State whether the facility is a Medical Assistance (Medicaid) provider
  • Specify the nursing home's procedure for filing a complaint
  • Outline the facility's transfer and discharge policies and how those policy decisions can be appealed
  • Provide details about leave of absence policies
  • Provide information on the “bed hold” policy if the resident is admitted to a hospital

Important Note: If a nursing home is a certified Medical Assistance provider, it must accept Medical Assistance payments when a resident's own funds run out.

Signing an Admission Contract

As the principal party to the contract with the facility, the resident should sign all the documents, if he or she is mentally and physically able. The nursing home cannot require anyone else to sign the contract unless a court has adjudicated the resident as "disabled" and a Guardian of Property has been appointed, or there is a valid Power of Attorney that grants this specific responsibility to another person.

If there is a Power of Attorney or Guardian of Property, it is important that he or she sign as "agent for _____" to avoid any financial liability. A family member who is not the Power of Attorney or Guardian of Property may sign the contract but he or she should read the contract carefully to be sure that it states clearly that the family member is agreeing to pay from the resident's funds only.

It is essential to understand that it is illegal for a nursing home to require any other person to pay for a resident's nursing home costs; however, another person may voluntarily agree to do so. Be cautious of signing a contract that uses the words “responsible party” or “guarantor,” both of which impose personal liability for the cost of care for the resident on another person.

Before Signing the Contract

Image of papers.Since an admission contract is a legally binding document, a potential resident, or family or friends, may want to consider the following before signing a contract:

  • Obtain and review a copy of the contract before entering the facility. If the facility will not provide a copy of the contract, a copy of a model nursing home admission contract can be obtained from the Office of Health Care Quality (410-402-8201).
  • Compare the nursing home contract with Maryland's model nursing home admission contract. This contract is written in plain English and can be quite helpful to potential residents and families.
  • Discuss any aspect of the contract you do not understand with the nursing home admissions coordinator or administrator. If any changes are made, both you and a facility representative should initial the changes in the margin of the contract opposite the changes.
  • Be sure there are no blank spaces in the contract at the time you sign it.
  • Obtain an exact copy or photocopy of the original contract, signed by you and the facility representative.

You may wish to consult a lawyer for his or her legal advice and review of the contract before signing it.

Your local Maryland Access Point (MAP) Office may have more information regarding nursing home contracts. In Baltimore County call 410-887-2594.