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DEAR BRUCE: Can a nursing home take your own home after they have taken all your money? — J.H., via e-mail

DEAR J.H.: I think what you are asking is under Medicaid. If someone is receiving services in a nursing home, then their assets have to be almost completely depleted for the state to recover the monies they spent on that individual’s behalf. Can they go after the home? Not until after you pass away. They can get a lien against the home. Where it becomes a little dicey is whether the person involved is clearly never going to leave the nursing home.

For example, a person with advanced Alzheimer’s may never go back to that home. Whether Medicaid can start a foreclosure under those circumstances is a little fuzzy. Generally, Medicaid would not be able to, but once the individual passes away and there is no spouse living in that home, then the state has a responsibility to try to recover the public money by taking the proceeds of the sale.

DEAR BRUCE: If you are put in a hospital for an emergency and are on special medication, do hospital employees have the right to administer the medication? Or can I refuse and say that I want to have my medication from my house? I need to know this answer because it has happened to me, and the hospital administered the wrong dosage of medication. I’m in a dispute with the hospital now about paying a bill, and I was told to go to the head of the hospital. I even told them I could put this story in the paper with all the evidence I have on all their mistakes. Can you help? — Carol, via e-mail

DEAR CAROL: In all likelihood, no hospital is going to administer medications that have not come from their pharmacy. You indicate that you think the hospital has given you the wrong dose of medication. Did you immediately contact the physician who prescribed this medication and ask him to treat you at the hospital? Given today’s litigious society, I can’t imagine a competent hospital staff would allow you to use prescription medication without them at least consulting the physician who prescribed them. Be careful about telling the hospital you could publicize their “mistakes.” There are some very interesting laws with regard to that type of activity.

Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams’ House Smart be your guide. Price: $14.95, plus shipping and handling. Call: 800-337-2346.

Send your questions to: Smart Money, P.O. Box 2095, Elfers, FL 34680. E-mail to: bruce@brucewilliams.com. Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns.