Can a Patient Be Kicked out of a Nursing Home?
After carefully selecting the best nursing home for your loved one, the last thing you want is to receive notice that the facility is evicting your family member. Unfortunately, this is something that many nursing home residents deal with each year, often due to issues such as being unable to pay for the facility. Learn when a nursing home can and cannot kick out a patient, as well as the proper steps that the nursing home legally must take to do so.
Legal Protections Against Improper Nursing Home Resident Discharge
There are several important laws in place to protect the rights and well-being of senior citizens. One is the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, which created something known as the Residents Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights is a list of legal privileges that are guaranteed to nursing home and long-term living facility residents. It includes the right to:
- Dignity and respect
- Proper medical care
- Be informed about services and medications
- Make their own health care and financial choices
- Be free from abuse and neglect
- Refuse medication and treatment
This law requires nursing homes to provide their residents with certain services and outlines the standards that these services must meet. It prevents a nursing home from evicting a resident without fair notice, warning and a valid reason for the discharge. In addition, the Nursing Home Resident Protection Amendments of 1999 prohibits the improper transfer or discharge of a resident who qualifies for Medicaid. Under this law, a nursing home that chooses to stop participating in the Medicaid program cannot evict a current Medicaid resident because of the withdrawal.
When Can a Resident Be Kicked Out?
It is only legal for a nursing home to discharge a resident if it does so in accordance with all applicable laws. First, the nursing home must have a valid and lawful reason for evicting the patient, such as:
- The eviction is necessary for the resident’s health, safety or welfare, or the well-being of others.
- The resident has been unable to pay for the services provided by the nursing home. (Unless the patient is waiting for Medicaid and the facility did not tell the patient that they do not accept Medicaid).
- The resident’s health has improved to the point where he or she no longer requires nursing home care.
- The nursing home cannot meet the patient’s needs.
- The nursing home shuts down.
Next, the nursing home must evict the resident using the proper procedures. The facility must give a 30-day written notice of the plan to discharge the patient and its reason, except in an emergency. The nursing home must safely and orderly transfer or discharge the resident, as well as correctly inform the patient of its readmission policy.
How To Fight an Improper Discharge
If you believe that a nursing home in California is evicting your loved one without a valid reason or without using the proper procedures, you have rights. You can appeal a transfer or discharge that you believe goes against the law. You can file this appeal by contacting the nursing home directly and asking to speak to an administrator. The nursing home lawfully must have a grievance procedure in place for dealing with appeals and complaints. You could also file a complaint with your State Ombudsman Program or Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
It may also be necessary to contact a Los Angeles nursing home abuse attorney who handles cases involving nursing home abuse for legal advice. A lawyer can help you understand your loved one’s rights and assist you with the appeals process if you receive a discharge notice. If your loved one’s future is at stake, hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to represent you and your family during the legal process.