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How to Fight a Nursing Home Discharge

An old woman in a wheelchair in a nursing home

As an experienced elder law practice in Bucks County PA we know and clients tell us all of the time that the process of getting admitted to a nursing home can be stressful. Now, imagine you or your loved one has been asked to leave.

Nursing homes are required to adhere to certain discharge procedures before forcing a resident to leave, but all the same, many family members accept this decision without question.

If your loved one is facing eviction from a nursing home, it’s important to remember that you have the right to challenge an improper discharge.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how and why nursing homes can evict residents, and how an elder law attorney can help you.

Why am I being discharged from my nursing home?

Under federal law, there are only five scenarios in which a nursing home can ask a resident to leave:

  • Their health has improved
  • The facility cannot meet their needs
  • Other residents health or safety is at risk
  • The resident has not paid despite receiving notice
  • The nursing home ceases operations

There might be other circumstances where a nursing home wants to eject a resident. Maybe they’re difficult, or they have difficult family members. Or it could be that the resident receives Medicaid.

In cases like these, the nursing home might deviate from the proper procedure, or might try to evict the resident by transferring them to a hospital and then refusing to readmit them.

If it’s the latter case, state law could require the home to hold the resident’s bed for a set number of days – typically two weeks. Residents must be told about the bed-hold policy prior to transfer.

If the resident pays privately, they might have to cover the cost of holding the bed. Medicaid will pay this cost for residents who are Medicaid recipients.

In addition, the nursing home must readmit Medicaid recipients to the first available bed if the bed-hold deadline has come and gone.

Nursing homes are also restricted from discharging residents without proper planning and notice. Typically this means 30 days prior written notice, although shorter notice is permitted in emergencies.

Even if the patient is hospitalized, the nursing home could still need to do proper discharge planning even if it doesn’t intend to readmit the resident. The discharge plan must make sure the resident has somewhere save to live – ideally near family – and detail the care they’ll receive.

If the nursing home won’t readmit a patient or insists on ejecting them, you can appeal or file a complaint with the state’s long-term care ombudsman.

Appeals should be filed as soon as possible following a discharge notice or after being barred re-entry to the nursing home.

If you or someone you love is facing nursing home eviction, it’s important to have someone on your side who knows the law.

Contact Gummer Elder Law today to learn how we can help you make sure you or your loved one has a safe place to live.