Nursing Homes Forcing Out Frail and Sick Residents

Elder abuse lawyers have all seen cases of residents being evicted from nursing homes, or refused readmission, for dubious reasons. We sometimes call it Medi-Cal prejudice; that is residents being refused admission to a nursing home for no other reasons than they are Medi-Cal recipients.

One former client of our firm called a nearby nursing home hoping to find a room for her mother, who was about to be discharged from the hospital. The first question from the nursing home was whether her mother was receiving Medi-Cal. Medicare, or private pay. When the daughter told the nursing facility her mother received Medi-Cal, she was promptly told there were no available beds, but that her mother could be put on a waiting list.

Homeless.jpgBeing a nurse herself and believing there were available beds, the daughter called the same facility the following day to see if there was room for her mother. Using a different name, she again asked if there were available beds, and this time, after informing the nursing home her mother received Medicare, she was told there were several rooms available, and that the facility would be happy to provide a tour that afternoon.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that nursing homes across the country are refusing to admit, or are forcing out, frail and ill patients who are on Medicaid (“Medi-Cal” in California), because the facilities can make more money caring for residents on Medicare or private pay. Over the last decade, the number of complaints over the discharge practices of nursing homes has doubled, and the true number of force evictions is unknown, as it is believed most go unreported.