The number of complaints specifically relating to improper eviction and discharge rose by 70% between 2012 and 2017, according to Joseph Rodrigues, California’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman. The total number of complaints in California to the ombudsman’s office was 1,504, and a recent KQED news report indicates that California is not alone among state-run long-term care ombudsman offices in seeing an explosive increase in the number of complaints related to elder abuse occurring in nursing homes and assisted living facilities regulated by states. Because less than 1 in 10 instances of elder abuse is ever reported at all – much less to a state office – it is safe to say that the total number of elder abuse instances in California is much, much higher than reported.
Although state offices have limited resources to monitor instances of elder abuse and take preventative and enforcement action against elder abuse, it is often up to the family members of elder abuse victims to notice the signs of elder abuse and take action to win financial damages for their loved ones while at the same time deterring elder abusers and their employers from continuing to let abuse occur.
The Goal of Increased Revenues at Nursing Homes is Driving Improper Discharges
The KQED report highlights a number of improper and potentially illegal evictions and discharges of elderly residents from nursing homes and assisted living facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds.
According to experts cited, the reason that nursing homes and facilities are engaging in increased evictions and discharges is to maximize the revenue they can earn. Elder care facilities often receive Medicare funds after an elderly resident leaves a hospital, but this generally covers only a short duration of stay. While low-income residents may be eligible for Medicaid funding in elder care facilities, these facilities often do not want to accept the lower reimbursement rates associated with Medicaid, and thus will take action to remove the resident.
Under federal law, an elder care facility may involuntarily evict a patient where the facility is unable to meet the resident’s needs; the resident no longer needs services; the resident poses a danger to others; or the resident is unable to pay for services. If the reason is payment, the resident must be given a reasonable time to pay as well as a 30-day notice of eviction. Furthermore, should the eviction occur, it must be done in a safe and orderly manner.
As discussed here in November, Johnson Moore recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of one elderly resident involuntarily discharged from a Fresno nursing home who was left bleeding on the sidewalk by nursing home representatives while a nursing home administrator argued with her over charges.
Contact the Southern California Elder Abuse Attorneys at Johnson Moore Today
If you or a family member has suffered elder abuse through an improper eviction or discharge from a California nursing home or assisted living center, you may be entitled to obtain financial compensation and take action to deter future elder abuse by working with Johnson Moore to bring an elder abuse lawsuit.
At Johnson Moore, we know full well that elder abuse victims and their families often face stonewalling, denial, and even intimidation when they try to take action against elder abuse. Our attorneys are compassionate and determined defenders of the elderly, and we will take the time to fully understand your concerns and assess what steps we can take on your behalf. Even if you are unsure of whether you have a valid claim, we look forward to hearing from you to help you explore your options for obtaining the justice you deserve. Contact Johnson Moore today to schedule a free consultation.