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Federal regulators step up enforcement at nursing homes

The Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 states that a nursing home facility is not allowed to transfer or discharge a resident unless it can establish certain criteria. This law was passed as a result of complaints by residents throughout the country about evictions.

These complaints have increased in recent years. The United States Department of Health and Human Services reports 140,145 complaints about discharge and eviction issues. In response, regulators sent a memo to officials throughout the country to review discharge, eviction and transfer of residents from nursing home facilities during inspections.

When can a nursing home facility evict a resident? There are situations when it is legal for a nursing home facility to evict a resident. These situations can include:

  • Adequate care. If, for some reason, the facility cannot provide adequate care for the resident.
  • Residence is unnecessary. If the resident does not need the care provided within the facility.
  • Safety. If the presence of the evicted resident puts the safety or health of other residents at jeopardy.
  • Payment. The resident has not paid for services.

Meeting these criteria can be difficult. As such, it is wise for a nursing facility to carefully review these regulations before moving forward with an eviction.

Why are inspections focusing on eviction of nursing home residents? One focus will include whether or not the source of payment played a role in the eviction of a tenant. This is due to allegations that facilities are evicting residents when Medicare funding ends. These allegations are supported by the fact that Medicare reimbursement rates are much different than those paid out by Medicaid.

Nursing homes and other care facilities that believe they are the subject of an investigation are wise to seek cost-effective legal representation. An attorney can help protect the future of the facility by providing guidance during the process and fighting against any enforcement issues that may result from the inspection.