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Patient Dumping from Long Term Care Facility

Patient Dumping from Long Term Care Facility

Patient dumping, also referred to as “involuntary discharge,” is the illegal eviction of a patient from a long-term care facility.

Most often, patient dumping takes the form of “hospital dumping.” A facility sends a patient off for hospital treatment of an acute issue, then gives away their bed to someone else, and refuses to take the patient back. With nowhere to go, some dumped residents go back to families who may not be able to care for them. The less fortunate may end up in motels, homeless shelters, or even on the streets.

If you or a loved one has recently been dumped from a California long-term care facility, you may still have time to file an appeal or an abuse claim. Through a free case evaluation, the Peck Law Group can examine your individual circumstances and help you choose the best route forward.

What Counts as a Long-Term Care Facility?

Senior nursing homes are not the only types of long-term care facilities. From assisted living facilities to skilled nursing homes, there are many reasons a person may need long-term care. For example, long-term patients can include people with complex medical needs who need 24-hour care; patients recovering from an accident, surgery or medical event; patients with temporary or permanent physical or cognitive impairments; and more.

Long-term care can last anywhere from a few weeks or months to ongoing care for the rest of a person’s life. Placing yourself or a loved one in long-term care is often a difficult, emotional decision, and the situation becomes even more heart-wrenching when a patient is dumped and left with nowhere to go.

Why Do Patients Get Dumped?

Although it is against the law, facilities dump patients for many different reasons. Perhaps you or your loved one required more demanding care than the facility was willing to provide, or maybe there were behavioral issues such as emotional outbursts or physical altercations. However, patient dumping is often financially motivated.

Medicare and private insurance companies reimburse long-term care facilities at much higher rates than Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) does. Therefore, Medi-Cal patients are less profitable to facilities than those covered by Medicare or private insurance companies.

Medicare coverage, however, is limited to 20 days of full coverage following an illness or injury, then 80 more days of partial coverage. Medicare patients tend to have shorter stays, allowing for quicker patient turnover and higher profits for facilities that shuffle patients in and out through a revolving door.

Unfortunately, this has led to an alarming trend of facilities dumping vulnerable, low-income Medi-Cal patients to make room for higher-paying patients covered by private insurance or Medicare.

What Does the Law Say?

There are federal and state regulations in place intended to prevent patient dumping. For example, in California, care facilities must hold a patient’s bed for up to seven days when a patient is transferred to a hospital. This rule is meant to deter hospital dumping.

Federal regulations require that:

  • Facilities must provide 30 days’ notice before a resident is transferred or discharged, except under specific circumstances (for example, if the resident’s health has improved enough to be discharged, if the resident’s presence endangers the health or safety of others in the facility, if the resident has urgent medical needs, or if the resident has lived in the facility fewer than 30 days).
  • The facility’s written notice must include specific information about the transfer or discharge, including the reason, effective date, location to which the resident is being moved, information on how to file an appeal, and more.
  • Facilities must provide appropriate documentation in the resident’s medical record and communicate.

Get the Legal Help You Need — and Deserve

If you or a loved one has been dumped by a long-term care facility, don’t wait to hire an attorney. The Peck Law Group offers top-notch representation backed by decades of successfully litigating long-term care abuse and neglect cases.

Let us help you find justice and recover compensation you are owed. Call 866-999-9085 or fill out the form on our site today for a free case evaluation.

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Adam Peck, ESQ

About the Author

Adam J. Peck, ESQ is a principal with Peck Law Group, APC. In 2008, Mr. Adam Peck received his Juris Doctorate from Whittier Law School where he graduated Cum Laude. His practice is primarily dedicated to representing Elders, Dependent Adults, along with their loved ones and family members, who have suffered horrific personal injuries.

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