There are Rules to Follow in Skilled Nursing Facility Evictions


Receiving an eviction notice is jarring and intimidating. Receiving an eviction notice from a skilled nursing facility (SNF) is even worse. Residents might be so intimidated that they simply move out without considering other options.

There are two things to consider if you or your loved one receives such a notice: first, what legal procedures are there to contest the eviction; second, what protocols the SNF must follow to discharge a resident.

As to legal procedures to contest the eviction, you should consult an attorney experienced in elder law to discuss what options are available for your specific situation. Attempting to navigate the waters of a legal contest alone can be difficult and confusing, but may be well worth it to prevent an eviction.

For protocols, the answers are more straightforward. A federal law, the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA), applies to any SNF that accepts Medicare and/or Medicaid reimbursement.

Under the NHRA, transfer or discharge of a patient is permissible only if one (or more) of the following six conditions is met:

1. The resident needs a higher level of care;

2. The resident no longer needs nursing facility care;

3. The resident endangers others’ safety;

4. The resident endangers other residents’ health;

5. Failure to pay; or

6. The facility is closing.

Of the reasons for transfer or discharge, the most common is that the SNF cannot meet the higher level of care that the resident requires. The SNF must provide documentation to show what the needed level of care is, how it attempted to meet that level of care, and that the proposed transferee facility can reach that higher level of care.

The SNF must also provide a notice with the reason for discharge, proposed effective date, location of transfer or discharge, appeal rights, and contact information for agencies that can help the resident. There must be a transfer/discharge plan set out for the patient, often included in the patient’s care plan.

It’s unfortunately common for a transfer or discharge to be justified by “behaviors” that are predictable for a certain medical condition. For example, a patient with dementia will begin to display a greater need for guidance and assistance as their condition progresses. An SNF should not attempt to transfer a patient simply because those special needs have intensified in an anticipated way.

If you or a member of your family receives an eviction note from a skilled nursing facility or nursing home, make sure you know what rights and protocols are part of the process before you respond or move out unnecessarily.

Reference: Skilled Nursing News (December 17, 2017) “What SNFs Should Know About Proper Protocols for Resident Eviction”