The state of California is being sued by three nursing home residents who claim that they have been illegally evicted from their nursing homes after hospital admissions. They claim that because they are expensive to care for and are on Medicaid, that the nursing home takes advantage of the absence and denies them readmission.
One of the resident’s family member appealed to the California Department of Health Care Services, which oversees Medicaid. They held a hearing, and the resident won, and the nursing home was ordered to readmit her father; however, the nursing home—Norwood Pines—still refused him.
The job of enforcing this order is that of the Department of Public Health, not the Department of Health Care Services, which gave the order, creating a gap in oversight. And although residents can file complaints with the Department of Health directly, California state records show that just 11 nursing homes are fined each year for wrongly discharging a resident, indicating that there might be a lack of negative consequences for the nursing homes who discharge unfairly.
NPR reports that nationwide, between 8,000 and 9,000 people complain to the government about nursing home evictions every year. It’s also the leading category of nursing home complaints.