When Can a Nursing Home Involuntary Discharge a Resident Under NJ Law?

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a NJ Discharge from a Nursing Home Lawyer

Under New Jersey law and pursuant to N.J.A.C. 10:63-1.10(e), there are only four reasons when a nursing home can justify the involuntary discharge of a resident. The first is if the discharge is required by medical necessity. The second is if the discharge is necessary to protect the physical welfare or safety of the resident, or of other residents. The third is if the resident has failed, after notice, to pay the nursing home from his or her available income. The fourth is if the nursing home is required to do so by the New Jersey State Department of Health due to licensure action or if the nursing home has been suspended or terminated as a Medicaid provider.

Nursing homes sometimes attempt to justify a discharge because of the non-payment of fees, i.e., failure to pay the nursing home bill after notice. However, discharges for non-payment are rarely legally justified because, under state law, once a Medicaid applicant has provided all of his or her income to the nursing home, the proposed involuntary discharge is prohibited even if the nursing home fees are not paid in full. N.J.A.C. 10:63-1.10(e). For example, if a nursing home resident receives only Social Security retirement benefits and is awaiting a Medicaid eligibility determination but pays all of his or her income to the nursing home, the resident cannot be discharged even if the majority of the monthly nursing home bill remains unpaid. N.J.A.C. 10:63-1.10(e). Further, under federal law and again under NJ law, a nursing home must give a resident at least 30 days’ advance written notice of any proposed involuntary discharge. (see 42 C.F.R. § 483.12(a)(4) and (5), N.J.S.A. 30:13-6 and N.J.A.C. 10:63-1.10(g)(2). If the nursing home resident requests a hearing, then the proposed discharge is stayed pending the final agency decision. N.J.A.C. 10:63-1.10 (g)(2).

Concerned about a threatened discharge? Then contact me personally today to discuss your nursing home matter. I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns. You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.