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The New York Times Interviews Ombudsmen on Resident Dumping

June 21, 2020

The New York Times published an article on involuntary transfers and discharges during the Coronavirus pandemic stating that facilities are clearing out less-profitable residents to make room for residents who would generate more revenue: patients with COVID-19. Nursing homes across the country are kicking out residents and sending them to homeless shelters and rundown motels.

Nuring homes have long had a financial incentive to evict Medicaid patients in favor of those who pay through private insurance or Medicare, which reimburses nursing homes at a much higher rate than Medicaid, about $600 more per patient per day. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the situation—with nursing homes not allowing visitors, there is much less supervision of their practices. Unfortunately, some NHs appear to be taking advantage of that void to evict vulnerable residents, which poses serious public health risks.

Fifteen state-funded Ombudsmen said in interviews that some homes appear to be taking advantage of that void to evict vulnerable residents. The New York Times contacted more than 80 state-funded nursing-home Ombudsmen in 46 states for a tally of involuntary discharges during the pandemic at facilities they monitor. Twenty six Ombudsmen, from 18 states, provided figures to The Times: a total of more than 6,400 discharges, many to homeless shelters.

“We’re dealing with unsafe discharges, whether it be to a homeless shelter or to unlicensed facilities, on a daily basis, and COVID-19 has made this all more urgent,” said Molly Davies, the Los Angeles Ombudsman, whose office works with residents at about 400 nursing homes.

Traditionally, Ombudsmen would regularly go to nursing homes. In March, though, Ombudsmen — and residents’ families — were required to stop visiting. Evictions followed.

“It felt opportunistic, where some homes were basically seizing the moment when everyone is looking the other way to move people out,” said Laurie Facciarossa Brewer, New Jersey State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

Read the full article.