Nursing home evictions are all too common, and oftentimes, they have traumatic effects on residents and their family members. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in 2015 alone, 9,192 complaints out of 140,145 total complaints were regarding discharges and evictions.
Some believe the problem is much larger than what the 9,192 complaints suggest, as many residents face eviction or early discharge without putting up a fight. Ombudsman agencies told The New York Times that out of everything, eviction-related complaints are the most voluminous category of criticisms received by state long-term care ombudsman programs.
If evictions tend to potentially magnify health problems a resident is already facing by creating additional stress and trauma, why such a high rate of discharge?
Some legal advocates credit a switch from Medicare to Medicaid funding as a key culprit. Skilled facilities generally receive anywhere from $430 to $500 per patient per day if covered by Medicare, but in contrast, they are provided with a mere $200 per patient per day if covered by Medicaid. As a patient’s Medicare coverage comes to an end, the lucrative payments begin to fizzle, and as a consequence, in some cases, so does the resident’s time at the nursing home.
Though this practice is illegal under federal law, legal advocates told The New York Times it is not uncommon for nursing homes to still participate and pressure residents into leaving as their Medicare runs out.
Not all evictions are wrongful. Though facilities are given few legitimate circumstances in which a resident can be removed, in December 2017, federal regulators deemed the rate of eviction to be a concern and took action. State inspectors have been instructed to report any evictions or discharges that violate a patient’s rights.
Residents’ Rights and What To Do If A Loved One Is Being Evicted
First, it should be noted that all residents who are being evicted have a right to appeal their discharge. Those who choose to appeal are entitled to a hearing and are granted the right to remain at the nursing home throughout the appeal process.
Any nursing home that begins the discharge process must first send a written letter to the resident, the resident’s representative and the state long-term-care ombudsman 30 days prior to the move-out date.
While regulations allow skilled care facilities to discharge residents they are unable to properly care for, if this is the reason for eviction, the facility must explain which needs they are unable to meet and how they attempted to meet those needs.
If a nursing home resident is released to a hospital, the home is required to keep that patient’s bed available for a week or two in the event the patient decides to come back.
Patients who are waiting to start Medicaid have a right to stay at a nursing home, and furthermore, all homes are required to display information regarding advocacy groups, the state long-term-care ombudsman program, state agencies and any other organizations that could be helpful to the resident.
Should a resident be evicted and choose not to appeal the discharge, it is still highly recommended that he or she file a complaint with the state.
Evictions unfortunately are common. If you or a loved one has experienced an eviction or another form of mistreatment, please feel free to contact us for a free, confidential consultation via our website, or call us at (901) 322-4232. We have proven success and years of experience recovering funds by fighting for justice for victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, and we would be happy to help you in any way we can.