Elderly Couple Sitting on a CouchIt's rarely anyone's first choice to move into a nursing home, but it's often the best option for the safety and well-being of a loved one who can no longer live independently. Moving into a nursing home can be a difficult transition for many people, and once they are settled, you hope they won't have to face any more traumatic changes, especially if you are happy with the facility and the care that is being provided. So, what can you do if the nursing home wants to transfer or discharge your loved one against their will? We take a look at how the right to remain with a chosen service provider guaranteed by the Texas Human Resources Code applies in this situation.

Texas Protects Seniors With Special Rights

People over the age of 60 in Texas are afforded a special set of rights to protect them from medical, financial, and caregiver abuse. These rights are designed to ensure that seniors can live with dignity as they get older and begin to need more assistance to complete everyday tasks. Many of these rights apply to hospital and nursing home situations, including the right to remain with a chosen service provider.

When a Texas Nursing Home Can Transfer or Discharge You Against Your Will

There are a number of reasons a nursing home might want to transfer a resident, particularly if that resident is difficult to manage or has intense care needs. However, in order to move or discharge a resident, the facility will have to show that one of the following conditions exists:

  • The facility cannot meet the resident's needs, and the transfer is for the resident's welfare.
  • The resident no longer requires nursing home care due to improved health.
  • The health and safety of the resident or other residents are endangered by the resident's continued presence.
  • The facility is closing or is no longer participating in the program that pays for the resident's care.
  • The resident has failed to pay for services.

Even if the facility can meet one of these criteria, they are still required to provide the resident with written notice 30 days before the date of transfer or discharge. The notice must give a reason for the change, provide the date of transfer, state where the person will be moved to, and notify them of their right to appeal the action and how to go about an appeal. If the resident is incapacitated, the notice must be served to their legal representative or family member. The only exception to the notice requirement is if the transfer occurs due to an emergency.

Appealing a Nursing Home Transfer

If your loved one is in a Medicaid-certified nursing home, they will be provided with a hearing if they object to the discharge or transfer—or if you object on their behalf. You do not need a lawyer for this hearing but will be able to speak up on your loved one's behalf. It's important to understand that a nursing home cannot transfer or discharge your loved one simply because they no longer want to care for them. If the transfer means they will get lower-quality care or will be farther away from family and friends—or the transfer itself will cause unnecessary trauma—you have a right to appeal. As soon as you receive word of the intended transfer, you should communicate with the facility and let them know you are opposed. It's also a good idea to let them know that you are aware of your loved one's legal rights. If you believe the transfer is unjustified, you should contact the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services or the Texas Attorney General's office as soon as possible.

Are You Looking for a Medicaid Planning Attorney in Texarkana, TX?

As trusted Elder Law attorneys in Texas and Arkansas, we make it our mission to keep seniors and their family members informed of their rights and options for care. If you are looking for Medicaid planning advice, you need to speak with an experienced Medicaid planning attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Texarkana office directly at 903.223.5653. We also have offices in Tyler, Paris, and Longview, as well as Magnolia, AR!


Brad Crayne
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Brad Crayne helps clients in TX and AR with estate planning, asset protection, probate, and medicaid planning.