Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Involuntary Discharge from a Nursing Home

The long-term care attorneys from Bodie Law in Maryland discuss common situations in dealing with involuntary discharge from a nursing home.

Involuntary discharge from a nursing home can be a complex issue. Understanding the answers to some frequent questions may help to ease the process. The following tips can help shed light on the subject and may allow for a more stress-free transition.

  1. Can a nursing home discharge a resident? When a nursing home resident does not agree to leave, it is known as an involuntary transfer or discharge. Federal and state laws have strict rules about involuntary transfers and discharges, and nursing homes can discharge or transfer residents only for a limited number of reasons. There are six main reasons:
  • The resident is endangering the health and/or safety of another individual in the facility.
  • The resident is a Medicare or Medicaid recipient and the facility has been decertified from the program.
  • A transfer or discharge is necessary for the resident’s welfare because their needs can no longer be met by the nursing home. Their doctor must state why the discharge is mandatory.
  • The health of the resident has improved and they no longer require the services provided by the facility. Once again, a doctor should specify why the discharge is appropriate.
  • The resident has failed to pay or have others pay the facility for their stay.
  • The nursing home has ceased operations.
  1. Is advance notice required? The nursing home is required to give written notice at least 30 days before the proposed transfer or discharge date. However, a continuing care retirement community must provide 60 days notice. The notice must be sent to the local Long Term Care Ombudsman, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and to any relatives who have acted as a representative.
  2. What needs to be included? It is necessary for the notice to include the following items:
  • Each reason for the proposed involuntary discharge or transfer.
  • The resident’s right to request a hearing and how to do so.
  • The right to consult with an attorney.
  • The right to a safe and secure transfer or discharge.
  • The name, address and phone number of the Maryland Department of Aging and Long Term Care Ombudsman.
  • The name, address and phone number of Maryland Legal Aid, the Older Americans Act Senior Legal Assistance Program, and if you the patient has developmental disabilities or a mental illness, the address and phone number of Maryland Disability Law Center.
  • The date on which the transfer or discharge is to occur.

A notice lacking any of this information may be seen as invalid.

  1. What actually happens if a discharge or transfer occurs? The discharge or transfer must be safe and secure no matter the reason of the discharge or transfer or how long the person has been in the nursing home. The nursing home must provide the following items:
  • Post-discharge plan of care.
  • Comprehensive medical assessment.
  • Written confirmation from the attending physician that the transfer or discharge complies with the post-discharge plan.
  • Current list of medications.
  • A medical evaluation statement.
  • At least a three-day supply of current medications.
  • The necessary information that will allow new prescriptions for important medication.
  • A written statement of the date and time of the discharge, how it will occur and where the resident will be sent.

Knowing the frequently asked questions and the patient’s rights regarding involuntary discharge from a nursing home may allow you to better address a difficult situation. For more information on involuntary discharge, contact a long-term care attorney from Bodie Law in Maryland today.