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Dear Advocate…
Resident Rights


Dear Advocate,

My mother has lived at a nursing home for about two years, and shares a room with a single roommate. Last week the nursing home informed me that it is planning to move my mother and the other Medi–Cal residents on her unit to a different wing of the facility that has four–bed rooms. The facility wants to reserve the nicer rooms on her unit for private paying residents. Isn’t this discrimination? Does my mother have any rights?

Sincerely,
Distressed in Diablo

Dear Distressed,

Yes, your mother has the right to be treated without discrimination. Segregating her and other Medi–Cal residents in inferior sections of the facility violates their right to equal care and treatment. Your mother also has the right to reside and receive services with reasonable accommodations of her needs and preferences. The nursing home does not have an indiscriminate right to move her merely to satisfy its business interests.

Nursing homes cannot move a resident to another room (except from a private room to a semi–private room) because of a change in payment status from private pay or Medicare to Medi–Cal. If a nursing home has a reasonable basis for changing a resident’s room or roommate, it still must provide reasonable notice in writing and transfer planning.

Seek advocacy support from the ombudsman and read CANHR’s fact sheet on transfer and discharge rights for additional information. Laws referenced above are 42 CFR §483.12(c) & §483.15(e), Welfare & Institutions Code §14124.7 & §14124.10, and Health & Safety Code §1599.78.