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Dear Advocate:
Room Transfers


Dear Advocate,

My father has been a resident in the special "Alzheimer's Unit" of a local nursing home for the past two years. I recently informed the nursing home that my father would be going on Medi-Cal since his funds are running out. I was told that my father would have to move to another section of the facility since the Alzheimer's Unit is for private pay residents only. Is this legal? I don't want him moved, since it will be very traumatic for him and he is getting the care he needs.

Daughter in Contra Costa

Dear Daughter,

Unless the "Alzheimer's Unit" is a separately licensed facility, which is unlikely, your father cannot be moved merely because of a change to Medi-Cal status.

If a facility is certified for Medi-Cal, all of the beds—except for the Medicare distinct part—are Medi-Cal certified, and facilities cannot discriminate by "weeding out" Medi-Cal residents.

If a facility continues to insist upon the move, file a complaint with Licensing & Certification and cc a copy to your local ombudsman. Call the CANHR office for more information.

There are no special criteria or regulations for an "Alzheimer's Unit", and they are governed under the same regulations as nursing homes in general.

While some Alzheimer's units offer very specialized services and activities for Alzheimer's residents, others are merely "in name only" and used as a justification for higher rates.