You Have Rights Under Washington Law
Patient dumping or involuntary discharge refers to the eviction of a resident from a nursing home or any other long-term care facility. Did you know there are strict state and federal regulations in place to prevent resident dumping? Compensation may be available if you or a loved one experienced this unethical practice.
Resident dumping often involves a hospital. The nursing home facility may send the resident to a hospital for treating an acute condition and refuse to take them back. While receiving care in the hospital, the nursing home may give up the resident’s bed or room to another resident.
Many dumped residents have nowhere to turn. They may languish in the hospital for days or weeks while staff try to find another care facility, or they may return to their families who are ill equipped.
Common Reason for Resident Dumping
Resident dumping is against the law, but nursing home facilities do this for a wide array of reasons. The most common is demanding care. The resident may need more care than the facility is willing to provide at the agreed-upon monthly cost. Resident dumping can also occur following physical altercations or emotional outbursts.
In most cases, this practice is financially motivated. Private insurance companies and Medicare tend to provide higher rates than Medicaid. Medicaid residents are less profitable for nursing homes as compared to those covered by private insurance companies or Medicare. In addition, Medicare residents have shorter stays allowing for quicker turnover and higher profits.
Unfortunately, elderly care facilities have been known to dump residents from the vulnerable and low-income Medicaid bucket.
You Have Legal Rights
In Washington state, the facility must hold the bed or unit for 20 days when the resident is likely to return to the facility by the 20th day. After the 20th day, the unit or bed is available to others, unless a third party agrees to pay the provider to continue to hold the bed.
Federal regulations also require nursing home facilities to provide 30 days’ notice before discharging or transferring a resident. This is not required under specific circumstances, such as when the resident’s health has improved enough to be discharged. An exception also applies if the resident is a danger to the safety of others or to themselves, has urgent medical needs or has lived in the facility for less than 30 days.
Written notice provided by the nursing home needs to include specific information about the reason for transfer, effective date, location of hospital and information for filing an appeal. Appropriate documentation needs to be provided by the facility regarding the medical record.
What to do if Someone You Know has Been Dumped
If you or someone you know was recently dumped by a Washington state nursing home facility, you may have time to file an abuse or appeal claim. You can have a complimentary case evaluation call with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney at Walton Law. They will help identify the best route to move forward. Call Walton Law at (360) 503-0231 or visit WaltonLaw.com to live chat with a member of our team and learn more.