Residents who have tested negative for COVID-19 may find themselves on the list of “expendables” in their nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Even worse is that they may not even be given the proper notice under the law that their beds are being confiscated for coronavirus patients coming out of a hospital.
Denying a resident the right to be treated with dignity, and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or status in the facility, could be a violation of the Nursing Home Bill of Rights, which is actionable in a court of law.
The corporations that own these nursing homes are primarily concerned with their bottom line. If they have the opportunity to replace residents who are paying less for their bed under programs like Medicaid, with residents who are paying more under Medicare or self-pay, they have an incentive to make room. Because of the higher-level care COVID-19 patients require, they become more profitable to these companies. When a single COVID-19 bed can generate an extra $219,000 per year, is it really surprising that nursing homes are chomping at the bit to throw your family member out into the cold?
Evictions are dangerous and illegal
Regardless of whether the state is asking nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients, the facility owes a duty under federal law to ensure if a resident must be moved that he or she is placed in a safe location after being given 30 days’ notice of the change. That is not what appears to be happening.
Because safety rules implemented in many states prohibited residents’ family members from entering nursing homes, it removed a level of protection. Before anyone could fight it, residents were dumped into unsuitable living arrangements that endanger their health, including:
- Homeless shelters
- Boarding houses
- Facilities that lack the ability to manage their specific healthcare issues
- With family members untrained to deal with their care
Residents experiencing neglect through involuntary discharges from their nursing homes have serious health issues that require constant supervision, such as:
- Mobility issues
Putting other residents at risk
Aside from the obvious moral and legal issues that exist in choosing to immediately evict someone from a nursing home for financial gain, there is a hazard to consider. When patients infected with coronavirus become residents in these nursing homes, it puts every other existing resident at risk for becoming infected and dying.
Nursing homes are breeding grounds coronavirus, and their employees and residents account for a large amount of the reported COVID-19 deaths across the country. Residents should be able to feel safe in their homes, which is what these facilities are to them.
Have you or a family member experienced abuse or improper care while living in a nursing home or assisted living facility? The attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder, LLC work to protect the rights of vulnerable adults who are often at the mercy of health care administrators. To see how one of our South Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys can help enforce your rights, schedule your free consultation today by calling 803-327-7800, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
Read more about S. Randall Hood