The State Journal-Register reported on the latest attempts to prevent “patient dumping” through illegal (and immoral) evictions. Statewide patient advocates say improper involuntary discharges are the top complaint filed against nursing homes. There were 911 such complaints received by ombudsmen in the fiscal year ending June 30. Advocates will push again this year to enact stricter legislation that guards against improper discharges affecting patients.
Nursing homes and assisted-living centers in Illinois are allowed to discharge people against their will for reasons that include mental and physical health, behavior and lack of payment. Long-term care facilities are required by federal law to give 30 days’ notice before evicting someone. That time period allows residents, their families and advocates such as ombudsmen the opportunity to trigger appeals that can lead to hearings decided by a third party. But notice often isn’t given, leaving nursing home residents stranded in hospitals while nursing homes immediately evict them or give no reason or inadequate reasons for not taking them back.
“The legislation updates the Illinois Nursing Home Act to reflect the newly revised federal nursing home regulations in relationship with involuntary transfers and discharges,” she said. “The legislation also closes loopholes that currently allow facilities to circumvent regulations making it far too easy to be non-compliant.”
Last year, officials from the nursing home industry opposed the legislation, which would have put into place new monetary penalties when nursing homes fail to give the required 30-day notice for an involuntary discharge.