Questionable Nursing Home Discharge Practices
Too often, residents of nursing homes are treated disrespectfully, as cases to be managed rather than as people to be cared for. The top complaints about these facilities address basic issues such administration of medications, resident/roommate conflict, poor staff attitudes, unanswered requests for assistance, and unfair discharge. In fact, improper evictions are the leading grievance against nursing homes, with complaints totaling as many as 8,000 to 9,000 every year. The problem is likely bigger than what is reported, because many patients and their families don’t realize they have rights to challenge these types of administrative decisions or that there are specific procedures that must be followed. Imagine having to go to the hospital for a treatable disease, but being denied access to your home once you were better. Situations like this are happening to nursing home residents nationwide — even though most denials of readmittance violate the federal Nursing Home Reform Act. Without enforcement by the state departments that oversee Medicaid disbursement or nursing home regulation, many patients are left in limbo. Some residents have even won readmission hearings, but the nursing homes refuse to comply and are not disciplined for those refusals. The residents who are most likely to be denied readmission are Medicaid beneficiaries with behavioral or advanced medical problems. Requiring more care for less money makes these undesirable individuals prime targets for eviction. Colloquially referred to as “patient dumping,” the practice made headlines last year when a citizens group filed a lawsuit against the state of California for its failure to address the issue. The circumstances under which a resident can be discharged or transferred are limited, and there are advance notice requirements. Furthermore, the nursing home must prepare a written discharge plan. Appeals that are filed soon after receiving the notice may mean that the resident can stay in the facility until a hearing is held. Regardless, an appeal can be filed within 60 days of receipt even if the resident has moved. Residents who believe that their transfer or discharge rights have been violated can file complaints against nursing homes and nursing home administrators with the Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation, or through the local ombudsman. Relief is also available through the legal system. Courts have the authority to issue injunctions to prevent transfers, to order reverse transfers, and to make nursing facilities pay financial damages for the harm they caused. If you or someone you love is facing eviction from a nursing home, has been evicted from a long-term care facility, or if you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the Georgia nursing home discharge attorneys at The Mann Law Firm. We have over 50 years of experience helping people and we can help you. Based in Macon, we know that evictions can be devastating to nursing home patients who don’t deserve the upheaval of being kicked out of the place they consider to be home. Contact us to discuss your unique situation by calling 1-478-742-3381or by filling out our online form.