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Posted June 18, 2008

Ask An Expert

Elderly Care: Your Rights in Assisted Living Facilities

Q. My parents are in an assisted living facility. They are running out of money in the next four months. The place takes Medicaid, but we were told my parents would have to enter a nursing home for three months and then come back to the assisted living facility. We do not want to move them because they are very ill and the assisted living facility has become their home. Also, our family does not have the funds to provide for them. Dad is 95 and Mom is 90. They are both in hospice care. What are our options? Thank you.  

Jan P., Plano, Texas.

A. Although anything is possible, this explanation from the assisted living facility is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Someone is trying to get rid of them. What I think they are trying to say is that they are too sick to function in this facility and perhaps must go to a nursing home. 

Please review the admission agreement that was signed when your parents were originally admitted. If you don’t have a copy, ask the facility to supply a copy. If the facility has other skilled nursing residents in the facility, then they are required to keep your parents. If they accept Medicaid then they must keep your parents in the facility. It’s as simple and clear as that.

Frankly, it sounds to me like they are trying to replace them with other private-paying residents.

For help, you can contact the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), 701 W. 51st St., Austin, Texas 78751. Their phone is 512-438-3011, and their mailing address is P.O. Box 149030, Austin, Texas 78714-9030.

In addition, you can contact Patty Ducayet, State Long-term Care Ombudsman, at 512-438-4356 and email: patty.ducayet@dads.state.tx.us, or you can contact Cheryl Cordell, Ombudsman Specialist, at 512-438-4217 and email: cheryl.cordell@dads.state.tx.us

This answer is provided by Jack Halpern, MPS, LNHA, an eldercare advocate and a licensed nursing home administrator based in New York City. Halpern, a nationally recognized expert on eldercare issues, is the author of many articles on eldercare and nursing home abuse, and is the CEO of My Elder Advocate. His website is www.myelderadvocate.com, and he can be reached at jhalpern@myelderadvocate.com.

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