Nursing Home Evictions and Elder Abuse in California

file3451272140532If you live in a nursing home, do you have the same rights as a tenant who rents a home from a landlord? According to a recent report from NPR, numerous nursing home residents who live the facility for a temporary inpatient hospital visit return to the nursing home only to learn that they have been evicted. As the article makes clear, this pattern results each year in thousands of nursing home residents finding themselves without a place to live, and that often leads to less-than-ideal situations that can involve elder abuse. Currently, federal law protects nursing home residents from these kinds of evictions, but as the article underscores, “those rules are rarely enforced by the states.” As such, California nursing home residents have decided to file claims against the state of California.

Plaintiffs File Claims Over Nursing Home Evictions

According to the NPR report, when nursing home residents cannot return to their rooms at the nursing facility, they are left with very expensive hospital bills and often the inability to receive the specific kind of care provided in a nursing home. For instance, one plaintiff who was evicted from his nursing home is currently living in his hospital room at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento. At the end of May 2015, his nursing home sent him to the hospital to receive treatment for pneumonia. However, once the pneumonia had been treated, the nursing home would not readmit him. As such, he has been living at the hospital for about 260 days now. The financial costs are very high: Medicaid is paying “about 2.5 times what his nursing home cost.”

Living at the hospital, the plaintiff has no opportunity to engage in the kinds of activities available to him at the nursing home, and his quality of life has diminished significantly. His daughter sought help from the California Department of Health Care Services and they even won after the Department held a hearing. However, the nursing home refused to readmit the plaintiff. According to an advocate with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), “we have lots of cases where the state has found that it’s appropriate for the residents to return, but then they don’t do anything afterward.”

The plaintiff mentioned in the NPR report is certainly not the only nursing home resident in California to be evicted after a temporary hospital stay. Two other residents have joined that plaintiff in filing a claim against the state. In addition, seniors across California are considering lawsuits after being evicted from their homes. For instance, a recent article from NBC News 7 reported that 97-year-old woman has also filed a claim after being evicted from her house, and her lawsuit includes an elder abuse allegation.

Need for Enforcement from the State of California

If the California Department of Health Care Services rules that a patient should be able to return to the nursing home where she or he was living but the facility refuses, is the state to blame? According to the plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits, California needs to “enforce its own rulings,” and that is why they are suing.

If you or an elderly loved one was evicted from a nursing home after a brief hospital stay, you may be able to file a claim. An experienced San Diego nursing home abuse attorney can help. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about our services.

 

See Related Blog Posts:

Nursing Home Abuse and Social Media

Physicians’ Roles in Protecting Elders from Abuse