Defending Against a Nursing Home Eviction in New Mexico
Once you’ve successfully settled your loved one into a New Mexico nursing home, the last thing you want to deal with is an eviction. Unfortunately, nursing homes may evict residents for financial reasons, which is traumatic for all involved. If you’re loved one was wrongfully evicted from a nursing home or is being threatened with eviction, it is crucial to understand his or her rights, and your recourse. At Sorey, Gilliland & Hull LLP, we understand the importance of protecting your elderly family members. The first step in defending against wrongful eviction is empowering you with the knowledge and understanding of the law.
The Elder Bill of Rights and Eviction
In 1987, Congress passed a bill called the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) to enforce nursing homes to provide quality care to residents and treat them with dignity, respect, and decency. The NHRA guaranteed a comprehensive list of rights, including those relating to evictions, transfers, and discharges:
- The right to 30-day advance notice before eviction or transfer that contains the name and contact information of the local long-term care ombudsman
- The right to appeal any proposed transfer or discharge, and to not be evicted during the appeal process
- To be prepared, oriented, and safely discharged from the facility
In other words, not only does a nursing home have to give formal notice ahead of time, a resident has the right to an appeal.
Medicaid and Eviction
When it comes down to it, a nursing home is a business a profit-based enterprise, and individuals that pay privately for service in a nursing home may be considered more valuable. Thankfully, the Nursing Home Resident Protection Amendments passed in 1999 makes it illegal for a nursing home to evict a resident on Medicaid, or who is waiting for Medicaid. Even if a nursing home stops accepting residents on Medicaid, they cannot discharge a resident simply because they’re on Medicaid.
Legal Reasons for Discharge
For a nursing home to evict or discharge a resident in New Mexico, there must be valid reasons, and the cause must fall under one of the following:
- The resident must pose a significant risk to other residents at the facility.
- The resident must have recovered sufficiently that they no longer need nursing home services.
- The nursing home closes.
- The nursing home has not been paid. If the resident is a Medicaid beneficiary or is waiting for Medicaid, this reason is invalid.
What if My Loved One Was Sent to a Hospital?
Nursing homes are required to hold beds for a limited amount of time when a resident goes to a hospital, generally for one week. If the resident is a Medicaid beneficiary, the bed is usually paid for by Medicaid, and otherwise, it must be paid privately. If the patient is on Medicaid and has an extended stay in the hospital that loses their bed, the nursing home must provide them the next available bed.
If the nursing home doesn’t intend to accept the resident back into care, they must still follow the procedure of providing an orderly and safe discharge – they cannot refuse to allow a resident to return to the nursing home without proper discharge planning and ensuring the resident is moved to a safe location.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If your loved one was wrongfully evicted or is under threat of eviction at a nursing home, a lawyer can investigate and file legal action against the nursing home. At Sorey, Gilliland & Hull LLP, our Albuquerque nursing home attorneys are intimately familiar with all aspects of both federal and New Mexico nursing home law, and we will do whatever it takes to help you fight abuse, neglect, and unlawful practices.