Once a resident is settled in a nursing home, receiving the care they desperately need, being forced to leave is a traumatic experience. Being discharged too soon can lead to serious medical issues and a rapid decline in physical and mental health. Walnut Creek nursing homes are required under federal and California laws to follow the correct procedures before discharging a resident—something that residents and their loved ones are often completely unaware of. A nursing home cannot refuse continued treatment simply because it is unprofitable, because the resident is on Medicaid, their rooms are full, because the resident is being difficult, or for any other arbitrary reason. Residents and their family members can take legal action to prevent an unlawful discharge. To learn more about your rights as a resident or family member, contact a Walnut Creek nursing home attorney before it is too late.
Federal Laws That Nursing Homes Must Adhere To
Under federal law, the only time that a nursing home is allowed to forcefully discharge a resident or force a resident to transfer to another nursing home is during the following circumstances, according to Medicare.gov:
- The transfer or discharge is necessary for the welfare, health, or safety of the resident or others;
- The resident’s health has declined to the point where the nursing home cannot meet the resident’s care needs;
- The resident’s health has improved to the point where the nursing home care is no longer necessary;
- The resident is not paying for the services they are responsible for covering; or
- The nursing home shuts down.
Fighting Discharge Due to Discrimination
Residents of nursing homes have many rights, including the right to have visitors, the right to be treated with dignity and respect, the right to privacy, and the right to be treated fairly and without being discriminated against. Nursing homes cannot treat a resident unfairly due to discrimination, and this includes improper discharge. If a resident is discharged because of their race, color, national origin, disability, religion, or age, you can take legal action against the nursing home.
Were You Sent a Written Notice for the Transfer or Discharge?
Even when a transfer or discharge is based on legal grounds, there are certain protocols that must be followed. For example, under 42 CFR §483.15(c)(3)(i), nursing homes must provide written notice to the resident’s representative in a language and manner that he or she understands. And, in some cases the notice must be given 30 days in advance of the transfer or discharge.
Appeal the Decision With the Help of an Experienced Walnut Creek Nursing Home Attorney
While the nursing home may make it seem as if the discharge or transfer is set in stone, you do have the right to appeal the decision. Moreover, once you make the appeal, the nursing home cannot move the resident while the appeal is pending. As such, you need to get started immediately. For assistance, call the Walnut Creek elder law lawyers at Feldman Law Group today at (925) 208-4543 to schedule a free consultation.