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Are Nursing Homes Illegally Ejecting Unwanted Patients?

Across the United States, nursing homes are reportedly removing their unprofitable patients—those who are poor and require extra care—by using any of their outbursts as reasons to send them to hospitals for psychiatric evaluations, according to an article written in The New York Times in late 2020. After the hospital discharges these patients, the article states, nursing homes are refusing to allow these residents to re-enter the facility. The report cites court filings, government-funded watchdogs in 16 states, and more than 60 lawyers, nursing home employees, and doctors as evidence. 

According to The Times, this practice is a violation of federal laws that restrict nursing homes from abruptly evicting patients. More specifically, nursing homes must follow strict guidelines when they intend to evict someone, including giving the patients 30 days’ notice and devising a plan to transfer the resident to a facility that can meet their needs. If a resident goes to a hospital, the facility must hold the bed for a week.

Are Nursing Homes Incentivized to Remove Less Profitable Patients from Their Facilities?

Understanding how nursing homes make money is vital in order to accept the root of the problem. Seventy percent of American nursing homes are for-profit, meaning that lower-income residents who are covered by Medicaid—which reimburses nursing homes at a lower rate—are much less profitable for nursing homes than high-income patients on Medicare. The financial issues within nursing homes are only compounded by the coronavirus, which has led to staffing shortages as employees become sick and are afraid to go to work.

The Times is reporting that, as a result, nursing homes are finding ways to get rid of their most expensive and least lucrative patients. Their method? Disguising an angry outburst—which might be ordinary for patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or similar illnesses—as psychiatric frenzies that require external medical care. After they’re discharged, the nursing homes are refusing their readmission. This is often an illegal practice. The Times writes:

“In a New York nursing home, a resident hurled a bingo chip. At a home in Georgia, a 46-year-old woman, paralyzed from the waist down, repeatedly complained that no one had changed her diaper. In a California facility, a patient threw tableware. In all three cases, the nursing homes cited the incidents as a reason to send the residents to hospitals for psychiatric evaluations—and then to bar them from returning.”

If you notice this kind of behavior as it relates to your loved one, it may be an instance of nursing home abuse. It’s important, in this case, that you reach out to a practiced nursing home abuse lawyer for legal assistance as soon as possible.

Call an Expert Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in New York City

If you believe that a member of your family is caught up in a harmful or neglectful situation, contact the trusted attorneys at Dalli & Marino. We’re a group of experienced lawyers who understand New York regulations and government healthcare. Our team of highly skilled trial attorneys will best be able to help you determine how much compensation you may be awarded based on the circumstances of your case.

At Dalli & Marino, our verdicts and settlements have recovered millions of dollars for our clients since 1996. We approach each case on an individual basis and serve to help you or your loved one recover the money you need to compensate for your injury or illness. Give us a call at (888) 465-8790 or complete our contact form today.