Complaints About California Nursing Home Evictions Rise

Nursing Home Blog

More and more often, nursing homes are discharging residents against their will. When residents who don’t have a lot of money are evicted from nursing homes, they may not have anywhere else to go.

What nursing homes are doing to these impoverished residents is at best unethical and, at worst, also illegal. The problem is getting worse. In California, complaints made against nursing homes, alleging improper discharges and evictions, have risen 70 percent in the last five years. In Illinois, the number of complaints has doubled over the last seven years.

Nursing Homes Dump Residents Who Have Nowhere to Go

KQED investigated the problem of nursing home evictions and uncovered some tragic stories:

  • A former teacher, recovering from a stroke, was told she had to come up with $336 a day or leave, after Medicaid cut off payment to the nursing home. Her only income was Social Security disability. She left. With nowhere to go, she slept on the couches of acquaintances, cheap motels and in her daughter’s car. Over the next several months, she had to go to a hospital emergency room five times.
  • A woman confined to a wheelchair was discharged from a nursing home and sent to a homeless shelter, even though she was in a lot of pain. The shelter refused to accept her because of her wheelchair. She went to a motel, but soon ran out of money. Now she is living on the streets when she is not in hospital ERs.
  • A 73-year-old woman alleged a nursing home left her on the sidewalk in front of a relative’s house.

Why Do Nursing Homes Evict Poor Patients?

It’s all about the money. Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) pays nursing homes less than the homes would receive from Medicare or private payments. Since Medicare only pays for a maximum of 100 days in a nursing home, low-income long-term nursing home residents get shifted into Medicaid or Medi-Cal programs. Then they become vulnerable to being discharged by nursing homes that want their beds filled with higher-paying patients.

Often, the discharges are illegal. Nursing homes can only legally discharge patients for specific reasons, and they must give written notice at least 30 days in advance.

If you have a loved one who has been discharged or evicted from a nursing home, it is important to know your rights. Call the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at Garcia & Artigliere at (800) 281-8515 for a free consultation.