Nursing homes are evicting vulnerable residents amid pandemic

Many nursing homes in the U.S. are forcing out older or disabled residents to make room for COVID-19 patients who create more revenue for the facilities, according to an investigative report from The New York Times.

The publication spoke to social workers, elder-care lawyers and nursing home monitors nationwide who said the facilities are often moving residents to homeless shelters, motels or other unsafe facilities through involuntary discharges. 

These patients' extended nursing home stays are typically covered by Medicaid, which reimburses facilities at a much lower rate than Medicare or private insurers. The payment disparity motivates nursing homes to admit sicker patients who require shorter lengths of stay — such as recovering surgical patients who traditionally are the facilities' largest revenue drivers.

Since hospitals paused essential surgeries during the pandemic, facilities are now turning to COVID-19 patients to help make up some of this lost revenue. Hospital executives and state officials said COVID-19 patients can bring in up to $600 more Medicare dollars per day than other residents. 

No national data exists on how many residents have been involuntarily discharged from nursing homes. But 18 states shared data with the Times, which found at least 6,400 such discharges have occurred during the pandemic. 

The evictions appear to violate federal rules requiring nursing homes to place residents in safe locations and give them at least 30 days' notice before forcing them to leave, according to the Times.

To read the full article, click here.

More articles on post-acute care:
Nursing homes fall short of federal testing recommendation
Wisconsin to test all nursing home residents, staff
Serious infection control issues found at 10 Life Care facilities, CMS says 

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