You have a right to remain in a nursing home unless the facility can prove that a transfer or discharge is necessary under the following reasons:
- Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (non-Medicare or Medicaid facilities):
- Medical reasons,
- Your physical safety,
- The physical safety of other residents, staff or visitors, or
Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (facilities which receive Medicare or Medicaid):
- Your welfare or needs cannot be met,
- Your health has improved so you do not need services,
- The safety of individuals in the facility are at risk,
- The health of individuals in the facility are at risk,
- You have failed to pay, or
- The facility ceases to operate.
If you receive Medicaid or have a Medicaid application pending and the facility participates in the Medicaid program, it cannot discharge you. If only a portion of the facility participates in Medicaid and there are no beds available in that portion, you may be discharged if you are unable to pay with your own funds.
You should receive a notice
If the nursing home wants to transfer or discharge you, it must give you written notice of the proposed move, unless an emergency arises which makes the move necessary immediately. Facilities which receive Medicare or Medicaid must give 30 days’ notice and all others 21 days’ notice. If the nursing home is alleging that the transfer or discharge is an emergency you should receive the notice as soon as practicable before the move. The notice must tell you why the nursing home wants to move you, where it is moving you, your right to appeal the home’s decision, and organizations that you can contact for assistance.
Assistance with an involuntary transfer or discharge
The Illinois Long-term Care Ombudsman can answer questions about the involuntary transfer or discharge process, provide assistance in contesting the transfer or discharge, or provide you with information regarding the availability of free legal assistance. You can find the Ombudsman for your area by:
- Visiting the Illinois Department on Aging website
- Calling the Illinois Department on Aging, Senior Helpline at 800-252-8966
- Writing to the Illinois Department on Aging at 421 E. Capital Ave., Springfield, IL 62701.
Developmentally disabled or mentally ill individuals may also request assistance from:
Equip for Equality, Inc.
20 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60602
You can appeal a discharge or transfer from a nursing home
If you file a timely appeal, the facility cannot discharge or transfer you while the appeal is pending. If there is an emergency which threatens your safety or the safety of others, the facility may discharge you right away. In this case, you may be returned to the facility if you win your appeal.