Nursing home evictions can be disruptive and dangerous during normal times, but in these new times of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, evictions are becoming a bigger problem.
Hospitals have been urging nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients to alleviate some of the strain on hospital space. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recently changed the reimbursement formulas, so that it is more profitable for nursing homes to take in sicker patients for a short period of time. COVID-19 patients can bring in at least $600 more a day in Medicare dollars than people with relatively mild health issues.
Nursing homes have had a history of financial incentives to evict patients in favor of those who pay through private insurance or Medicare. More than 10,000 residents and their families complained about being wrongfully discharged in 2018, the most recent year for which data are available.
Typically, there are officials that will oversee nursing homes and their evictions, but with pandemic bans of visitors at nursing homes, many residents are being evicted without knowing their rights. Under federal law, before discharging patients against their will, nursing homes are required to give formal notice to the resident and to the long-term care ombudsman’s office. The resident should be given at least 30 days to find a new facility. Nursing homes are legally allowed to evict residents if they are not able to pay for their care, are endangering others in the facility or have sufficiently recovered.
However, since the coronavirus pandemic started many nursing homes are not following the rules and are dropping off former residents to homeless shelters and hotels leaving these residents very vulnerable. The New York Times recently covered this problem in the article, ‘They Just Dumped Him Like Trash’: Nursing Homes Evict Vulnerable Residents.
As we mentioned in our previous post, Coronavirus May Hide Nursing Home Abuse, since family members and friends cannot visit, there is currently no accountability to make sure your loved one is safe. However, you can still call your loved one daily, visit through video conferencing software, and communicate with the staff on a regular basis. Moreover, now—more than ever—it is important for families to maintain strong relationships with staff who can provide updates in between telephone or video conference.
If your loved one resides in a nursing home, and you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse or a wrongful eviction, please contact us for further information.