Add Bockelman v. GGNSC Gallatin Brandywood LLC, No. M2014-02371-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 18, 2015), to the long list of cases in which a Tennessee court affirmed an order upholding the validity of an arbitration agreement signed by the deceased’s designated health care agent.
The patient at issue here had signed a “Health Care Agent” form in December 2008, appointing her daughter as her agent. The form provided that the daughter was given “permission to make health care decisions for me if I cannot make decisions for myself, including any health care decision that I could have made for myself if able.” In January 2010, the patient’s doctor deemed her incompetent to make health care decisions, and he documented and signed such designation.
Following the incompetence designation, the patient had several other medical appointments. Some notes from these subsequent appointments indicated that she did not have any “neurological deficits,” while others referred only to a “physical incapacity.” She was treated at times based on her own preferences rather than her best interests, yet the official incompetence designation was never overturned or amended.
In May 2010, the patient was admitted to defendant nursing home. During the admission process, daughter presented the health care agent form and signed all the admission documents on patient’s behalf, although daughter later testified that patient was competent at this time. One document signed by daughter as patient’s agent was an Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement. At the top, this form noted in bold, capital letters that it was “not a condition of admission to or continued residence in the facility.”