Knoxville WWII veteran faces long delay in nursing home refund after wife's death

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - A World War II veteran has had to wait for more than four months for a refund check. His wife passed away unexpectedly in early December, two days after being admitted to a nursing home. He had paid $6,000 in advance for her care, but he still hasn't gotten a refund.

Losing a loved one is hard enough emotionally, especially if you have been married for over 70 years. Many people who reach their 90s don't need stress and complications, and most are not up to date on either social media or the internet.

Stanley, 95, misses his wife of 72 years. Louise, a great grandmother, died unexpectedly in early December. Their family did not want their last name printed.

"Everyone loved her. I'm missing her very much," said Stanley.

Louise became sick in December. Stanley put her in a local nursing home. He took her to Westmoreland Health and Rehabilitation Center in West Knoxville.

"That's the only place that would take her. She had good care at the nursing home," Stanley said.

Admission papers show Louise first entered Westmoreland on December 4. The fee for a semi-private room was $200 a day.

"She just couldn't get around and do for herself," her husband said.

Stanley said in the admissions handbook, he was required to pay in advance which is industry standard, he was told. His receipt shows a $6,000 deposit the day Louise was admitted.

"In the nursing home, you pay your fee in advance.  So that was $6,000. Well, she died on the second day, which was December the 6th," he said.

Stanley spent his career as a salesman for General Electric, so he's familiar with refunds. He said despite several efforts of seeking information from Westmoreland Rehab about the refund,  he has not yet received the outstanding amount he expected from his $6,000 deposit.

"They told me I'd be lucky if I'd get it by the first of February," said Stanley.

By April, he still hadn't received the refund and he said the nursing home was unable to tell him when he would get it back.

"I just think it's poor business to let something drag on this long," he said.

WATE 6 On Your Side checked with other local facilities that offer services like Westmorland Health and Rehabilitation and asked about their refund policy if a resident or patient were to die and time remained on their contract. They said 30 to 60 days was the normal time period for refund checks to be returned. One facility even said their policy is two weeks for a return.

Stanley said he called Westmorland's business office. He said waiting 120 days is a bit too long.     

"I just would like to get the refund and have closure on that part of my wife's death," he said.

WATE 6 On Your Side called Westmoreland Health and Rehabilitation. Their response was that his "check is in the mail." They said they "apologize for the delay. It is our practice to pay refunds as quickly as possible."

Westmorland also said, "It is not our intent to inconvenience any of our past residents or their families" and they "apologize for the inconvenience it caused." 

Stanley said he's pleased Westmoreland has finally sent the refund. 

"Well, I'm just going to put it back in the bank where I got it. I don't have any need right now," he said.

Stanley said he received $5,600 on Wednesday, the exact amount he was due.

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