Posted by Hazel Phillips, Partner
CMA report triggers Maria Mallaband contract change
National provider Maria Mallaband Care Group has changed its policy on charging fees following the death of a self-funded resident. Under the new policy, fees are only charged up to the date of death.
This policy follows the publication by The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) of its final report of its care home market study
Charging of fees after death
The CMA has now launched a further consultation with accompanying draft guidance on the charging of fees after death
The final guidance will be incorporated into more comprehensive guidance covering care home contracts as a whole in the spring.
The draft guidance focuses on four main issues which may arise following the death of a resident as follows:
- the continued charging of fees
- charging the estate for any shortfall in FNC during that period;
- charging third parties for any shortfall in local authority funding during that period
- storing and disposing of the deceased’s possessions
We are aware that this is something of a hot topic for our care clients. While it is generally accepted that fees should not be charged for a prolonged period after death, the experience of some providers shows that there can be real difficulties in balancing commercial realities against a consumer–friendly approach, particularly when relatives are not willing to work with the home and make appropriate arrangements.
The CMA makes it clear that it considers fees should be charged for no more than three days post-death, and that any advance payments covering an additional period should be refunded. It doesn’t rule out the possibility of contracts charging for longer if a room remains uncleared, but indicates that that providers should try and mitigate their loss by removing possessions and storing them for a reasonable storage fee. The CMA recognises that ultimately it may be reasonable for providers to sell the possessions for a reasonable fee.
We can help
The CMA is already taking action against providers that it considers are not acting in accordance with consumer laws. Now is the time to review your contracts to make sure they are compliant with consumer legislation.
For a free audit of your care contracts please contact Hazel Phillips
01225 730 100 Email us
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