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Nursing Home Involuntary Transfer/Discharge: The Resident’s Right to Appeal

submitted by Bria Lewis, Esq.

Every resident living in a nursing home, regardless whether they are there for a short-term rehabilitation stay or long-term care, has the right to receive a written notice prior to being transferred or discharged to a different facility or location. While many residents voluntarily leave the nursing home, often after a short-term rehabilitation stay, others are unfortunately asked to leave too soon, for example, when they still require nursing home level of care, or to an unsafe location, for example, a shelter.

Residents have the right to appeal a transfer or discharge notice that they do not agree with. For more information on a resident’s right to appeal, including when the resident is being asked to transfer to a different nursing home for “long-term care”, please see our Involuntary Nursing Home Transfer/Discharge Guide and our Nursing Home Resident Rights & Tips Guide.

When a resident appeals their discharge, there will be a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, who will issue a decision. That decision is required to be made accessible to the public by federal and state laws. Currently, in order to access these decisions, interested parties must submit a request under the Freedom of Information Law. This process is time consuming and burdensome. It also does not give consumers, attorneys, and others, sufficient time to research precedent prior to a hearing.

The Center for Elder Law & Justice along with advocates from Legal Assistance of Western New York, Empire Justice Center, Mobilization for Justice, Long Term Care Community Coalition, and the New York Legal Assistance Group, wrote a letter to New York State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker requesting that these discharge appeal hearing decisions be made available to the public in a searchable online database. Posting these decisions online will help ensure resident rights are protected.

The Center for Elder Law & Justice is available to answer questions on nursing home resident rights and can provide representation for residents who have received a notice of discharge and want to stay. Contact our office at (716) 853-3087 to learn more about your rights as a resident in a nursing home for potential legal representation.






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