Under federal law if a nursing home patient goes to a hospital and the nursing home subsequently refuses to readmit the resident, the resident is entitled to an administrative hearing conducted by state government. However, even when residents win the hearings it can be difficult to get some states to enforce their own rulings.
Bruce Anderson lived in a California nursing home for four years before he left the nursing home for a hospital due to pneumonia. When the hospital was ready to release him, the nursing home refused to take him back.
Federal law requires states to conduct an administrative hearing in these cases, which California did. Anderson won the hearing. However, as Next Avenue reports in "The Agonizing Limbo of Abandoned Nursing Home Residents" Anderson was not readmitted to the nursing home after winning the administrative hearing.
In California a different agency is supposed to enforce the rules than the agency that holds the hearing. The enforcement agency sometimes disagrees with the results of the hearing and refuses to enforce the decisions.
Anderson is suing the state.
This is an unfortunate situation and it is not uncommon. Nursing homes are often eager to get rid of residents who require a lot of staff attention. The problem, however, is that these elderly people have nowhere else to go to receive care and must remain in hospitals when it is not medically necessary for them to do so.
In many cases it is actually harmful to stay in the hospital. This also creates financial problems for hospitals, too. It can cost more to provide care for these patients than the government is willing to reimburse.
Reference: Next Avenue (March 4, 2016) "The Agonizing Limbo of Abandoned Nursing Home Residents"