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Readmission to a Nursing Home Following a Hospital Stay  

Nursing home residents sometimes have trouble returning to their nursing home following a hospital stay. This Fact Sheet helps explain how federal and state laws protect hospitalized residents who want to return to the same nursing home.

Nursing home residents have the right to return to their nursing home following a hospital stay if they still need nursing home care. This right exists whether or not a resident pays a fee to reserve his or her bed in the nursing home. However, if a resident does not pay to reserve the bed and the nursing home is full, he or she may have to wait until a bed becomes open at the facility. When a resident is ready to return from the hospital, all Georgia nursing homes must offer the resident the first available bed.

Before a resident is hospitalized, a Medicaid-certified nursing home must give the resident and a family member or legal representative written information describing its bed hold policy and the resident's right to return to the first available bed.

In Georgia, Medicaid will pay a nursing home to reserve a bed for a Medicaid resident during a hospital stay of up to 7 days. The following information explains your rights if you choose to pay to reserve the bed beyond the 7 days or if you choose not to pay to reserve your bed beyond the 7 day hospital stay.

PAYMENT MADE TO RESERVE BED

(Medicare & private pay residents only)

State and federal law provide that when a resident must temporarily leave a nursing home for hospital care, the nursing home is required to provide the resident an opportunity to reserve the bed. You will be responsible for paying the bed rate per day.

When a nursing home resident is hospitalized, the resident or resident's representative should discuss the bed holding policy with the home's administrator. The resident's physician should also be contacted immediately to determine as accurately as possible the length of hospitalization. If the hospital stay is likely to be lengthy, it may be financially unwise or impossible to hold the bed.

THE NEXT AVAILABLE BED

The right to the next available bed means that a resident awaiting discharge from a hospital (or temporarily place in another nursing home) has the right to be readmitted before the nursing home can admit persons on the waiting list. Exceptions to this rule may occur if a bed becomes available in a room occupied by members of the opposite sex.

PAYMENT NOT MADE TO RESERVE BED FOR A MEDICAID RESIDENT BEYOND 7 DAYS

If a resident does not pay to hold the bed, State and federal laws give him or her the right to return to the first available bed.

If the resident does not pay to hold the bed, the resident or family member should notify the nursing home immediately that the resident wants to return to the first available bed. It is a good idea to make this request in writing. If a bed is available and the resident's care needs can still be met by the nursing home, the resident must be readmitted when discharged from the hospital, even if the bed was not reserved. However, if a bed is not available when the resident is ready to be discharged from the hospital, the resident may need to go to another nursing home until the next proper opening in the original nursing homes occurs.

If you experience problems as a result of a temporary hospital leave from a nursing home, contact your local ombudsman office for assistance.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

The information contained in this web site applies only to GEORGIA, USA. It is intended only as INFORMATION and does not constitute legal ADVICE, nor does reading, downloading or otherwise using this site create an attorney-client relationship.  Anyone seeking specific legal advice should contact an attorney licensed in the appropriate state, and should never rely upon the information provided herein, or any other web site, for that matter.