Can my nursing home discharge or transfer me?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | elder law

Nursing home planning is a great way to ensure you have the resources you need for your long-term care. Good nursing home planning pays off when you are placed in a safe, secure nursing home that meets your needs.

However, what happens if your nursing home tells you they are discharging or transferring you to another facility. Are they allowed to do this?

When a nursing home can discharge or transfer

The answer to this question depends on the circumstances. You can generally only be discharged or transferred to another nursing home facility if your health needs cannot be met at your current facility or you no longer need the services.

You can also be transferred if your nursing home closes. Sometimes your own behavior can cause a discharge or transfer. If the nursing home has evidence that you were behaving in an aggressive or threatening manner toward staff or other patients, it may attempt to discharge you.

Another common reason a nursing home can discharge you is for non-payment of their services. However, Medicaid or Medicare denial does not allow them to immediately discharge you.

You have rights that you can exercise in this situation, including appealing the denial. A nursing home cannot discharge you for non-payment if you appealed a Medicaid or Medicare denial and the appeal is still pending.

Outside of these reasons, a nursing home can usually not discharge or transfer you without your permission.

What to do if your nursing home tries to transfer or discharge you

If you receive news that you are being transferred or discharged and you believe the situation does not meet one of these exceptions, there are some steps you should take.

Remember that this is your life and you have a right to know what is happening. Ask for the specific reason they want to transfer or discharge you.

If it is a transfer, ask for detailed information about where the nursing home wants to transfer you to and when.

Keep all documentation related to the proposed transfer. The law requires a nursing home to give a resident 30-day written notice before a transfer, with some exceptions. The nursing home must also provide this notice to your designated legal representative or family member.

The written notice must include information on where you are being transferred to, what you can do if you oppose the transfer and information about who you can contact for help.

Appealing a nursing home transfer

You have a right to appeal the transfer and the transfer cannot happen until any appeals are finished. The deadline to appeal is usually 30 days, unless it is an emergency transfer, in which case the deadline is 15 days.

When you appeal a transfer, you will be scheduled for an appeal hearing before the Division of Medical Assistance Board of Hearings. You may request that the hearing be held at the nursing home.

Receiving notice that you are being transferred or discharged without your permission can be traumatizing and cause you to feel like your careful planning was a waste. This is not true. You have many rights as a nursing home resident and there are resources to help you protect them.