Illegal Nursing Home Evictions on the Rise
In an illegal, but growing, new trend, nursing home residents are returning from emergency hospital stays only to find that they are denied re-admittance into their long-term care nursing home facility.
Left homeless, many are then forced to seek attorney representation and wait in the hospital until a new placement can be found. This often has devastating effects on the elderly person’s physical and mental health.
Residents dependent on Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California), are particularly vulnerable to eviction. Medicaid (or Medi-Cal) pay nursing homes as little as half the amount of money that a long-term care facility gets from private insurance or Medicare or from residents who pay out-of-pocket. Those long-term care facilities that put profits over people, look for reasons to evict lower paying residents.
Although all nursing home residents are given strong protection on paper, evicted residents often spend months looking for a new residence facility because few states bring punitive action against nursing homes convicted of illegally evicting residents.
For many of these evicted residents being forced into a new, unfamiliar environment can also be “the beginning of the end.” Researchers find that nursing home dumping has a direct effect on the lives of residents. They become more prone to getting hurt, becoming depressed, or dying in a new nursing home.
No national figures on nursing home dumping exist. But discharge-related complaints recorded by the federal Administration on Aging more than doubled in the decade before 2006, rising 177%. That’s nearly twice the growth for complaints overall.
Facilities are only legally allowed to evict residents for six reasons:
- Failure to pay
- A resident no longer needs nursing home care
- A resident’s needs cannot be met in that nursing home
- A resident is endangering the safety of others
- A resident is endangering the health of others
- The facility is going out of business and has given up its license
Even if a resident has met one of the legally eligible reasons for eviction, the facility must provide a 30-day written notice of the eviction and provide facts supporting it.
Included in eviction notices must be telephone numbers of the nursing home inspection and licensing authorities and instructions about how to appeal the eviction. The nursing home also must put together a plan to ensure that the move will not harm the evicted resident.
To protect your loved one from being illegally evicted after a hospital stay:
- Carefully read all admissions documents and ensure that the facility has not tried to illegally force you to sign away your loved one's bed in the event of a hospital stay.
- Make sure you have a written certification from the nursing home that they will hold your loved one's bed while they are in the hospital.
- Contact your loved one's insurance to find out how many days they will pay for the nursing home to hold your loved ones bed per year.
- Before signing admission papers, ask the facility if they will evict your loved one if they are on Medicare (Medi-Cal) or if your loved one has an emergency hospitalization. If they say “no”, get it writing.
If your loved one has been illegally evicted from their nursing home after a hospital stay, you may have an elder abuse case. Contact Garcia & Artigliere for a free consultation.