Greater and greater numbers of Americans are aging, and the phenomenon is anticipated to cause major growth in the United States elderly population. According to the most recent U.S. Census, there were 44.7 million individuals aged 65 and older in 2013, a number that is expected to increase to 98 million by 2060.
With such a large demographic group, it is necessary to consider what types of health care services are available, and nursing homes are one of the most common solutions for care. But though nursing homes are often the first choice that families opt for, this may only offer a temporary resolve, as nursing home evictions are becoming a more regular occurence.
Unfair nursing home evictions
In 2012, there were approximately 15,800 nursing homes in the U.S., with about 1.4 million residents. Around two-thirds of those residents are Medicaid beneficiaries, and this is the group most commonly plagued by unfair nursing home evictions. In fact, forcing a resident to leave due to their Medicaid status has been illegal since 1999 when a bill was passed outlining nursing home limitations and beneficiary rights.
Medicaid residents are seen as less profitable than residents that pay out of pocket, or with other types of insurance such as Medicare, and as such are “less desirable” to the homes. Chronic illnesses are often expected with the aging population group, but some homes are not as accommodating to more behavioral diseases that tend to be more costly in terms of labor.
Despite this law, nursing home evictions have resulted in between 8,000 and 9,000 complaints to the U.S. government every year. According to the Administration for Community Living, a federal organization, unfair evictions are the the leading category of all nursing home complaints.
Take for example Bruce Anderson, a 66 year-old man who suffered from a brain injury that required staff to monitor him 24/7. His nursing home admitted him to the hospital due to contracting pneumonia, however once Anderson was treated the nursing home refused to readmit him.
Anderson has been living in the same hospital room since May 28, 2015- almost a full year. The Anderson family reached out to the California Department of Health Care Services for legal help, and though a hearing ruled in their favor, the Norwood Pines nursing home still refuses to readmit Anderson.
A law enforcement issue?
Bruce Anderson is just one of the nearly 9,000 individuals that has sought government assistance in challenging their unjust eviction. Though there are laws in place, those numbers show that there is a clear enforcement issue of rights of the residents in regards to Medicaid recipients.
That is why organizations such as the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, who now work with Anderson, aim to assist residents with taking the best course of action to exercise their legal rights. Many times there is a disconnect between the state rulings, and the entity that actually handles enforcement, so the legal advocates of nursing home residents hope to get their clients cases heard by the federal court.
Aptly named, Enclothed Cognition is the official Medelita blog for medical professionals interested in topics relevant to a discerning and inquisitive audience. Medelita was founded by a licensed clinician who felt strongly about the connection between focus, poise and appearance.