Illegal Nursing Home Evictions Are a Nightmare… and the Feds Have Had Enough!
It’s a terrifying scenario. After decades of contributing to society through her work, family obligations and charitable contributions, your mom finally needs someone to take care of her.
So, you do what any good daughter would do; you take her in to your home and do your best to help.
A few years later, your mom’s mobility has decreased and you feel that she needs more help than you can provide. So, you set out to find the perfect nursing home for her.
Dozens of visits later, you find the perfect nursing home. It’s close enough to visit, the staff seems friendly and, although it will be a stretch, you can afford it.
So, your mom moves in and, for a while, everything is fine. She seems happy and has even made a new group of friends.
Then, one day, your world is turned upside-down. You are informed, in cold, crisp legalese that your mom is being evicted.
The nursing home claims that she has become a danger to the staff and that her behavior is threatening. You suspect that the nursing home simply no longer wants to deal with her eccentric personality and occasional emotional outbursts.
This scenario may seem farfetched, but, the truth is that residents are kicked out of nursing homes every single day. Sometimes the reasons for this are legitimate… but, sometimes they are not. And, since nursing homes are regulated at the state level, getting help with your case is not always simple or easy.
In 2015, the state long-term care ombudsmen received 9,000 complaints related to illegal nursing home convictions. These are the tip of the iceberg.
Well, now the feds have had enough and, for better or worse, they have decided to step in and take a more active role.
Specifically, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has just notified state officials that it has begun an investigation into illegal nursing home evictions. Through this investigation, it hopes to recommend steps to improve the situation for the nation’s most vulnerable people.
Wait a Second… Aren’t Nursing Homes Already Covered by Federal “Rules?”
Yes and no. While the Federal government sets “rules” that nursing homes must follow, the states are left to regulate the facilities in their territory.
As a result, your ability to fight back against an unfair eviction can vary widely… based entirely on where you live!
When is a Nursing Home Eviction Legal?
I’m not a lawyer, so, you should definitely do your own research and consult a legal professional, if necessary. However, the general scenarios in which a nursing home can evict a resident, according to the federal guidelines are as follows:
The resident is a danger to themselves or others at the facility (including staff)
The resident’s care is no longer being paid for
The facility can no longer take care of the resident’s medical or psychological needs
The resident no longer requires the care that the nursing home provides
The facility is closing
The following website has a good overview of nursing home patients’ rights and may be a good place to start researching your options.
What Are the Next Steps?
According to the CMS, there are two paths forward. First, they plan on investigating the situation so that they can recommend changes to the states.
Second, according to AARP, they have encouraged states to apply for federal funds to help address the problem of illegal nursing home convictions.
What is your family’s experience with nursing homes? Has anyone that you know been evicted from a nursing home for unfair reasons? Let’s have a chat!