Nursing Homes Behaving Badly

There are some wonderful nursing homes in the Houston area and throughout all of Texas. They provide a valuable care-giving service, follow the rules, and help families through a very difficult time. Unfortunately there are far too many not so wonderful nursing homes in Texas. These nursing homes take advantage of families in vulnerable positions and also generally provide less than wonderful care to their residents. Let’s talk about what one nursing home recently attempted to do to a client of mine and how illegal their actions would have been if they carried out their threats.

This particular nursing home in Austin, Texas was home to a client of mine. My client’s family decided to move their loved one to an assisted living facility and out of the nursing home that she was currently in. When the nursing home was notified of the scheduled discharge from their facility I received a phone call from their business office manager describing how he “did not want her discharged and having a balance here.”

If you want to know how ridiculous that statement was, less than 30 days earlier the Administrator of this Austin nursing home had sent an eviction notice to my client’s family to begin the process of discharging their loved one because she had a balance due! So apparently in this nursing home they want to kick you out while your medicaid application is pending and at the same time if you attempt to leave voluntarily they will hold you against your will.

But let’s get back to the legal issues involved in this situation and what the nursing home threatened to do.

Can A Texas Nursing Home Interfere With A Voluntary Discharge Due to a Billing Issue?

No, no, no, no, no, no. Under absolutely no circumstances does a nursing home have the right to interfere or obstruct a resident from leaving their facility as long as it is medically safe for them to leave the nursing home. Nursing homes are not prisons, they are medical facilities.

So what should you do if you find yourself in a situation like this and the nursing home is threatening to not allow your loved one to leave until they extort some more money out of you? There are three steps you can take that may help you get some relief.

  1. Call the police and file a criminal Unlawful Restraint against any nursing home employee who attempts to interfere with the discharge;
  2. Report the nursing home’s actions as a violation of Chapter 102 of the Texas Human Resources Code to DADS;
  3. Consult with a lawyer to investigate all civil remedies available against the nursing home as an entity and employees individually.

Don’t let an out of control nursing home push you or your loved one around. If you need a Medicaid lawyer to represent you in dealing with a nursing home then give me a call at (832) 592-7913 today.

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