California patients can sue state over patient dumping, appeals court rules

A federal appeals court ruled California nursing home residents may continue a lawsuit that accuses the state of not taking enough action to prevent patient dumping, reports The Sacramento Bee.

In a July 18 opinion, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco allowed the lawsuit against California's Department of Health Care Services and Department of Health and Human Services to proceed. The decision overturns a previous federal court ruling that dismissed the suit.

The suit claims three nursing home residents, one of whom is now deceased, were illegally refused readmission to their nursing homes after leaving to seek treatment at hospitals. The plaintiffs' lawyers argue the facilities declined to readmit the residents because they were on Medi-Cal, which offers lower reimbursements than Medicare or private insurance.

After the residents won their appeals to be readmitted to the nursing homes, state regulators failed to enforce the decision, the suit claimed. The state of California argued it only has regulatory power over the appeals process itself and cannot enforce actions reached from an appeal.

To view The Sacramento Bee's full report, click here.

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