Nursing Home Chain Sued by Maryland's Attorney General
While nursing homes have an unfortunate history of abuse, some might not know they also have a tendency to evict seniors who bring in less of a profit than potential new patients. This action is called an “involuntary discharge.” In 2015, 9,000 complaints were made against such discharges. Maryland and Illinois are attempting to hold nursing homes accountable for unnecessary evictions.
Brian Fosh, the attorney general of Maryland, says more than half of all involuntary discharges have come from one small chain of nursing homes run by Neiswanger Management Services (NMS Healthcare). The state is now suing NMS for Medicaid fraud, alleging the company charged the state for services it didn’t provide, including discharge planning.
Lack of Discharge Planning for Nursing Home Residents
Nursing homes who discharge patients are required to ensure a resident has a safe place to go afterward, but NMS sent residents with complex medical issues to homeless shelters and unlicensed board-and-care facilities.
In one example, an employee from NMS dropped off a woman with severe dementia in front of her son’s home and drove away without checking to see if her son was even home. Several hours later, her son found her wandering around when he came home from work.
Many Nursing Homes Motivated by Profit
This involuntary discharge is also primarily a financial decision. Nursing homes receive more money from Medicare than Medicaid. Medicare payments for long-term care only last for 100 days, after which Medicaid takes over. The nursing homes were discharging patients who were just transitioning from Medicare to Medicaid, which yields a lower profit.
In the suit, Maryland also cites e-mails that offer bounties for getting patients out quickly. A hundred dollars was offered to people who could make a bed vacant within two hours, which made more room for new Medicare patients.
Cracking Down on Nursing Home Evictions
Nursing home evictions have also more than doubled in the last 5 years in Illinois. The state is attempting to crack down on nursing homes that improperly discharge residents with legislation. These laws would also help improve enforcement of staffing standards.
This bill is being led by Senator Daniel Biss, who is attempting to prevent nursing homes from discharging patients who take up too much staff time or who make complaints. One nursing home resident was sent to a psychiatric unit for complaining about not receiving physical therapy he needed to use his new prosthetic leg.
Nursing homes who discharge their patients for no good reason cannot, under current laws, be forced to take back the individuals. The Department of Public Health (DPH) has no power over them.
This new legislation would give DPH the authority to order a resident be readmitted and would fine a nursing home $250 per day for a failure to do so.
Leading Nursing Home Litigation Attorneys in Baltimore
If your loved one was harmed by nursing home staff or another medical professional, don’t hesitate to call us. Brown & Barron, LLC is a dedicated civil justice law firm.
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