THE UNITED STATES – According to an online news report published on NYTimes.com, some nursing homes across the United States are being accused of “kicking out” disabled, old residents, and moving them to dilapidated motels or homeless shelters. Andrew Cullen, a reporter for The New York Times, discovered a disoriented senior citizen lying on a sidewalk in Koreatown, Los Angeles, California. The news report claims that the poor 88-year-old man appeared to suffer from dementia. The news report states that the elderly man used to be a resident at Lakeview Terrace. Lakeview Terrace is a nursing home located in Los Angeles. The articles allege that the elderly man was evicted from Lakeview Terrace a few days before the reporter found the homeless man. Lakeview Terrace is a nursing home that has a record of regulatory issues. The man’s family had put him in the nursing home to ensure that he received round-the-clock attention, and as his dementia worsened and the man would disappear for several days at a time.
The news report states that on April 6, 2020, Lakeview Terrace placed the man Kendrick at an unregulated boardinghouse — without bothering to inform his family. Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Kendrick was wandering the city alone. Also, the report claims that three Lakeview employees stated the individual responsible for kicking the man out of the nursing home was explaining to nursing home staff to attempt to clear out less-profitable residents to make room for a new, more profitable customer, patients with Covid-19.
The issue of nursing home pushing out “low value” residents is a growing issue throughout the United States. Approximately 51,000 nursing home and long-term care facility residents and employees have died of COVID-19. This accounts for over 40 percent of the United States coronavirus death toll. In some cases, nursing homes have been invaluable by taking in patients with coronavirus to ease the overwhelmed hospitals.
Sadly, examples of nursing homes kicking out less profitable residents to take in more profitable coronavirus patients are becoming increasingly common. Some nursing homes are kicking out elderly, defenseless, and disabled residents, who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus and dropping these senior citizens off at rundown motels, homeless shelters, and many other unsafe facilities. Reports of forced evictions have been reported in 16 states. The news article suggests that the “involuntary discharges” might violate federal rules or laws that “require nursing homes to place residents in safe locations and provide them with at least 30 days’ notice before forcing them to leave.”
According to the New York Times article, nursing homes have substantial financial motivation to expel Medicaid patients in favor of residents or patients who have Medicare or their own private insurance. This is because Medicare and private insurance pay nursing homes at a significantly higher rate than Medicaid. In 2018, over 10,000 nursing home complaints were sent to watchdogs regarding force evictions.
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