Right to a BedHold During Readmission into a Nursing Facility

February 27, 2005

If a resident must leave a Nursing Facility to be hospitalized for a specific medical condition, most states will authorize nursing facilities to hold a bed (hereinafter referred to as a bed hold) for a certain period of time. The bed hold can either be privately paid at the Nursing Home’s private pay rate, or if the home resident returns to the facility within 15 days or less.

Federal law requires that all nursing facilities notify residents and/or potential residents of their bed hold rights during the admission process. This notification must not only include the facility’s bed hold policy but also include Medicaid’s payment for bed holds under the applicable state program. Furthermore, when the nursing home resident leaves the faciity due to a period of hospitalization, the facility must again give notification of bed hold policies for both private pay and Medicaid programs. When the resident is to be discharged from a hospital, most residents look to the initial nursing facility they were previously placed for readmittance. Federal law dictates that residents have a right to be readmitted from the hospital to the original nursing facility’s next available bed. This is regardless of the length of stay of hospitalization.

Sometimes, on occasion, however, nursing facilities have refused to readmit residents often claiming that the resident is either too difficult or the facility cannot meet the increased needs of the resident. Mostly, these claims are misguided but often succeed because discharge planning from a hospital has to be done on a timely basis. Residents must often find another facility to grant admission before a resolution can be achieved with the initial nursing facility.

If the nursing facility refuses admission, the resident should contact an Elder Law attorney who can either make a complaint with the applicable state agency or file a claim with the local court in order to seek an injunction against the nursing facility. Considering time is often the biggest issue in discharge planning, many residents and their families are forced to accept a “bed” at a new facility rather than wait for readmittance to the original one.