“Hospital Dumping” is an illegal eviction process for nursing home residents which has become a major concern for the elderly in the U.S. and about 9,000 people fall victim to this practice every year.
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Illegal Hospital Dumping
Thousands of elderly residents are getting dumped every year in hospitals where they are taken for acute care treatment of illness or injury. Once their hospital care is completed, they are told without prior warning that they cannot return to their nursing home.
According to federal laws, these types of nursing home evictions are illegal. If a nursing home resident is transferred to a general hospital for acute care, federal and state laws require the nursing home facility to hold the resident’s bed for up to seven days. If hospital care exceeds seven days, the facility must give the resident the first available bed after hospital release has been cleared. A nursing home can’t force a resident out of a facility without following certain procedures, including a 30-day written notice, and even with written notice, only six legitimate reasons are acceptable for eviction:
- A resident’s failure to pay for nursing home care and services
- A resident no longer needs nursing home care
- A resident presents dangers to other residents’ health
- A resident presents dangers to other residents’ safety
- The nursing home can no longer meet a resident’s needs
- The nursing home is going out of business
For nursing home residents, involuntary evictions are traumatic events that often result in physical and emotional harm. Residents who go through this process are often left confused, disoriented and frightened. Medical studies show that fatality rates are up to nine times greater for residents who are illegally evicted from nursing homes where they have been residing.
Hospital dumping affects mostly low-income nursing home residents who have lost the ability to pay for care, except through Medicaid. Ironically, those abandoned in expensive hospitals cost Medicaid more than twice the cost of nursing home care. When nursing home residents are dumped in hospitals without any possibility of returning to the nursing home, hospitals are forced to find another facility to take them. Many abandoned residents are sent to substandard nursing home facilities with high vacancy rates, while others are sent to homeless shelters or psychiatric facilities.