Matter of Absolut Care of Three Rivers v. Shah
Justice Robert Rose
Petitioner nursing home sought a review of a determination by the Department of Health finding decedent ineligible for certain Medicaid benefits applied for on her behalf. After a hearing, the department affirmed a Schuyler County Department of Social Services decision that decedent was ineligible for Medicaid as it found transfers of her assets for less than fair-market value. Under a power of attorney, decedent's daughter opened a joint account with her mother in July 2009, and decedent was admitted to petitioner nursing home in January 2010. Proceeds from a trust, nearly $129,000, left by decedent's late mother were deposited into the joint account. The daughter then transferred over $117,000 from the joint account to her own account. Petitioner argued the transfers exceeded the daughter's authority and were exclusively for a purpose other than to qualify for medical assistance. The court noted the power of attorney authorized the daughter to open the joint account and to engage in banking transactions. Thus, absent proof supporting its claim of self-dealing, petitioner was unable to overcome the conclusion the proceeds were transferred, at least in part, to qualify for Medicaid. The determination was confirmed.