When the COVID-19 emergency began, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the federal agency which controls the administration of long term care facilities, issued guidance which changed the rules around discharges.
The agency gave facilities the right- temporarily- to move a resident out of the resident’s room and into a different room in the facility – or to a completely different facility- with minimal notice to the resident and their family if the move was designed to help limit exposure to COVID-19. The agency allowed facilities to do this to create divisions between people who tested positive for COVID-19, people who had been exposed to COVID-19, or for any other reason. The moves related to COVID-19 were something the agency called cohorting. This meant they could move people who were COVID-19 negative to one place, and people who were COVID-19 positive (or had been exposed) to another inside of their facilities, or transfer them to a different facility with minimal notice.
Last week, the agency announced that long term care facilities are no longer allowed to move residents to new facilities with minimal notice to the residents and the family, and reinstated the normal rule. The normal rule requires facilities to give residents and their families thirty days’ prior written notice before a resident is discharged from one facility and moved to another. The agency has also said that facilities have to provide written notice to residents before their room or roommate is changed, once again. The agency left an exception for if a facility is moving a resident to create a cohort. If you believe your family member has been removed from their room or their facility, and should not have been, call Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.
By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Medicaid Attorney