Maryland Announces $2.2 Million Settlement with Nursing Homes for Involuntarily Discharging Patients

This past month, the state of Maryland announced a settlement due to the involuntary discharge of nursing home residents in violation of Maryland’s Patient’s Bill of Rights.

Medicare Recipients’ Rights and Involuntary Patient Transfer and Discharge

Maryland’s Patient’s Bill of Rights protects the rights of individuals in nursing homes. Under the Bill of Rights, Medicare recipients are entitled to certain rights, including having access to doctors, specialists and hospitals, being treated with respect and free from discrimination, receiving health care services in a language the patient can understand, and appealing certain decisions about health care payment, coverage of services, and prescription drug coverage.

The Bill of Rights explicitly provides certain safeguards to nursing home residents who are involuntarily discharged. Discharged patients are at high risk for mortality, and discharge is meant to be an option of last resort for nursing homes. HG § 19-345.2 provides specific procedures for providers to follow before discharging or transferring a resident. Those procedures include having a post-discharge care plan, medical assessments, and written documents from the resident’s attending physician. Providers also are required to provide residents with at least a 3-day supply of medications.

In the event of an involuntary transfer or discharge, providers are required to discharge or transfer the resident to a “safe and secure” environment where the resident will be under the care of a licensed provider or to a person who has agreed in writing to provide a safe and secure environment. Maryland law requires that nursing homes notify the Network and the State Survey Agency of involuntary transfers and discharges. If a nursing home does go through with an involuntary discharge or transfer, the nursing home needs to have adequate documentation to show why the nursing home can no longer meet the patient’s medical needs.

Maryland Nursing Home Settlement

This past month the state of Maryland announced a $2.2 million settlement with a nursing home company that regularly discharged Medicare patients who could no longer pay for their care. A news organization published the stories of several patients who had been discharged from nursing homes the company ran and dropped the patients off at the doorstep of unlicensed nursing homes where they were allegedly assaulted and robbed, among other locations. The law prohibits nursing homes that receive Medicare from taking payments for patients if they improperly discharge patients. The Maryland Attorney General’s office subsequently filed a lawsuit against the nursing home company, alleging that the nursing homes unlawfully discharged patients’ whose Medicare coverage had run out and could not pay for their care.

Contact a Maryland Nursing Home Attorney

If your loved one has been improperly discharged or transferred from a nursing home, you may be able to bring a claim against the nursing home. Maryland nursing home residents have rights, and a nursing home attorney can help you determine whether to pursue a claim against the facility. The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have nearly two decades of experience representing victims throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Contact us at 1-800-654-1949 or 410-654-3600, or via our online form to set up a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Court Rejects Nursing Home’s Demand for Arbitration in Recent Wrongful Death Case, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published October 26, 2018.

Medical Malpractice Claims in Maryland Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published October 5, 2018.

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