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Filial responsibility can lead to nursing home debt

On Behalf of | Sep 3, 2015 | Medical Debt

Oregon is one of many states in the country that has a law regarding filial responsibility. According to Oregon state law, responsibility for medical expenses incurred by a parent is placed on the adult child if the parent is unable to pay them. Medicaid covers many of the costs relating to long-term care when a person is unable to pay. However, if there is still a substantial unpaid sum, the nursing home or a collection agency has the right to contact a son or daughter to make an attempt to collect on those bills.

According to, there have been cases in the past few years where collection agencies have been able to receive a ruling ordering the adult child to pay for a hospital bills or nursing home stay. Before expenses can be transferred from a parent to an adult child, there must be evidence that a parent is poor and does not have the ability to be responsible for his or her own means of support. If the parent abandoned or abused the person as a child, or if the person is unable to pay, the court may determine that neither the parent or the child should be held liable for the bill.

A 2015 study conducted by found that the median daily cost of a private room in a nursing home facility in Oregon is $280. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one way to deal with overwhelming debt that may be caused by the extended nursing home stay of a family member.


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The Law Office of Kim Covington is a debt relief agency, and I have helped families, individuals and small businesses, file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, for over 22 years.