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Nursing Home Involuntary Discharge

Nursing homes seem to be attempting to discharge their “more challenging” residents at an increasing pace. Reimbursements rates are static, Medicaid is very slow paying, and labor costs are rising- if the facility can find staff. As a result some nursing homes will attempt to discharge residents who are heavy care, noisy, or who otherwise are an issue to the staff. Often this takes the form of just telling the family that the family needs to find another facility. Sometimes, the process is more formal: the facility presents an actual Notice of Nursing Home Involuntary Discharge.

Most families do not understand that the right of a nursing home to discharge a resident involuntarily is very limited. The facility must have a discharge plan in place by which the resident will receive the necessary care. Even then, the resident and/or responsible party has a right to appeal any such discharge to either the Department of Health and Human Services or directly to Probate Court. Unfortunately, some nursing homes will attempt to “bully” the family into accepting a discharge and will frequently tell the family that it is their responsibility to find another facility. That is simply not accurate! It is the facility’s responsibility and the staff cannot offload that duty to anyone else.

Usually, once an attorney is involved, the facility will back down. An appeal to Probate Court and the resulting bad publicity is not something any nursing home wants. We usually can mediate whatever issues are causing the nursing home angst and reach a solution without a discharge.

This issue is very similar for Assisted Living Facilities, too. If your loved one has received a formal Notice of Discharge or even an informal “request” to move, please contact us immediately and we will contact the facility on your behalf.

About the Author

Dwight Sowerby