Thursday, August 07, 2008

Nursing homes, assisted living centers pose problems for families with questionable evictions

The Wall Street Journal this morning (Aug. 7) is reporting that some “custodial care” nursing homes, especially those with Medicaid patients, are beginning to evict these patients, and convert their facilities to “skilled nursing” which pays more. According to the story, severely disabled patients, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, are more likely to be kicked out. Family members, especially those living in distant cities, could be faced with caring for them again.

The story, on p D1, “Personal Journal,” is by Theo Francis and is titled “To Be Old, Frail And Evicted: Patients at Risk: as nursing homes shift focus to short-term care, families must look elsewhere,” link here. The article contains a bar graph of discharge disputes.

There are five legally acceptable reasons for a nursing home eviction. (1) closure of institution (2) failure to pay (3) need specialized care not available there (4) well enough to go home (a controversial possibility for other family members – who might be compelled to take care of them personally, it would seem) (5) endanger health or safetly of others (again, potentially controversial).

Residents of assisted living facilities have fewer protections. Florida requires a facility to give 45 days notice of an eviction, but does not require giving a reason. However, an eviction cannot occur for an illegal reason (like race). This sounds like “employment at will.” The WSJ article covers assisted living facilities with a shaded sidebar on p. D4.

This story is a certainly alarming report.

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