Questions and Answers about Long Term Care

  1. What are some good resources to learn about the skilled nursing facilities in the area?  It seems as though you can get great care in some places and not in other places. 

 

  1. One of the best places you can find information about nursing homes is on Medicare’s website.  There you can compare reports on nursing homes within a zip code range, or look for information by name of facility.  Included in the report is information on how nursing homes have performed on health and fire safety inspections, how the nursing home is staffed with nurses and other healthcare providers, and how well the nursing home cares for their residents.  This information comes, primarily, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) health inspection database, a national database of resident clinical data known as the Minimum Data Set (MDS), and Medicare claims’ data.

Another great resource for information about nursing homes, and long term care options in general, is the Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.  This program is authorized in the Older Americans Act and the Older Michiganians Act and works to address the quality of care and quality of life for residents who live in licensed long term care facilities.  If you have questions about long term care options in general, or concerns about a specific facility, the local Long Term Care Ombudsman is a great resource and an advocate for nursing facility residents. Learn more about the program at  www.MLTCOP.org or by calling 866-485-9393.

  1. Is it true a nursing home can involuntarily discharge someone?

 

  1. Yes, there are situations in which a nursing facility can issue an involuntary discharge of a resident.  These are limited circumstances, however, and there are laws that protect residents from being discharged simply because staff doesn’t like someone, or a person’s care level has increased.   

Legitimate involuntary discharge reasons include:  the resident’s needs cannot be met in the nursing home setting or the resident doesn’t require skilled nursing home care anymore; the nursing home is closing; the safety or health of other individuals in the nursing home are at risk; or the resident has been given reasonable notice but has not paid the nursing home and no other insurance options exist for payment. The latter is often at issue, especially if a resident is transitioning from Medicare, private pay, or other insurance, to Medicaid payment, and the nursing home states there are no Medicaid beds available in the facility.

There are strict guidelines regarding written notice of involuntary discharge, the appeal process for the resident, and what the nursing facility’s legal responsibility is to the resident in preparation of discharge.  The State must approve all involuntary discharge plans.  Anyone with questions about this should contact the local Long Term Care Ombudsman for assistance, at 1-866-485-9393 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Alternatives to nursing home care can be discussed with a professional knowledgeable about available options, as a public service of Area Agency on Aging, by calling the Info-Line for Aging and Disability at 1-800-654-2810.