Articles Posted in Wrongful Eviction

800px-Woman_readingOver the past several months, California residents have been hearing news about nursing homes in our state and throughout the country evicting patients for whom it is more difficult to provide care. For example, an article in Modern Healthcare emphasized that nursing home patients who are “targeted for eviction are frequently poor and suffering from dementia.” Numerous lawsuits have been filed in relation to such evictions, and a recent press release from the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) suggests that elder safety advocates may be gaining ground.

Modesto Elder Care Center Cited for Evicting ‘Long-Term’ Residents

According to the press release, Avalon Care Center, a Modesto-area nursing home, has been cited for illegal patient eviction practices. The press release notes that the California Department of Public Health (DPH) recently levied “a whopping 29 citations” against the care center in Modesto “for engaging in a reprehensible and systematic illegal eviction program to force out undesirable ‘long-term’ residents.” Why did the facility evict these residents? It was not actually for some of the same reasons noted in the Modern Healthcare article mentioned above.

red_coatWhen an elderly California resident requires care in a nursing home, it is often because he or she can no longer live at home and requires more care than a place such as a residential care facility for the elderly (RCFE) or assisted-living facility might be able to provide. However, according to a recent article from the Associated Press, nursing home patients who are more challenging and for whom it is more difficult for staff members to provide care are being targeted for eviction. The topic of nursing home evictions and elder abuse has been an issue for several months now, with advocates arguing that nursing homes and other facilities are refusing to readmit patients following hospital stays. For example, an NPR report emphasized the severity of these allegations and the implications for senior health and well-being.

Yet now, according to an analysis conducted by the Associated Press, it looks as though patients at skilled nursing facilities who require more extended care than other patients may also be subject to wrongful evictions. When elderly patients who need nursing home care are evicted without warning and for reasons beyond the resident’s control, are we looking at situations of nursing home abuse?

Seniors with Dementia Alleged to be Targeted by Skilled Nursing Facilities

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.”

SmartMoney.com has an article out entitled 10 Things Nursing Homes Won’t Tell You. Which has been adapted from the book “1,001 Things They Won’t Tell You: An Insider’s Guide to Spending, Saving, and Living Wisely,” by Jonathan Dahl.

Walton Law Firm thought you might like to see the list:

1. “We’re careless about the drugs we give out.”

If you or a loved one is being threatened by eviction from your assisted living facility (or residential care facility), it is important to know that the law is on your side. Under the California Code of Regulations, an assisted living resident can be eviction for only five reasons:

1. A failure to pay rent within 10 days of its due date;

2. Failing to comply with state or local law (e.g. using illegal drugs, assault/battery, etc);

Many nursing homes are now marketing themselves as “rehabilitation” facilities in an effort to attract the ideal resident: one who stays under 100 days then goes elsewhere. Why? Because Medicare provides lucrative fees for skilled nursing care. It is not uncommon for nursing homes to discharge residents, often prematurely, when the Medicare benefits end.

Most people are unaware that when Medicare coverage ends, a resident who needs skilled nursing care has a right to stay, either by paying privately, or qualifying for Medi-Cal coverage. Under Welfare and Institutions Code section 14124.7, no nursing home that accepts Medi-Cal payments can evict, or transfer within a facility, any person who changes the manner of paying from private or Medicare to Medi-Cal.

For more information on discharge and transfer rights in California nursing homes, see the fact sheet provided by California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

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.