WASHINGTON — Maryland’s attorney general is accusing a local nursing home chain of evicting hundreds of vulnerable residents, in some cases dumping them in homeless shelters or unlicensed facilities as soon as the patient’s Medicare benefits ran out.
Frosh said a look at NMS’s operations over a 17-month period showed a clear pattern of behavior. He said NMS represents 2 percent of all the nursing home beds in the state, yet “they represent 66 to 70 percent of the evictions.” In some cases, Frosh said, patients were “Just tossed out — they put their (the patients’) stuff out in front of the facility and closed the door.”
The suit alleges that NMS would evict patients in order to maximize reimbursement from the federal program. Medicare reimburses facilities at a higher rate than Medicaid.
Under Maryland law, nursing facilities are required to provide discharge plans to patients once Medicare benefits are depleted so that a patient’s medical care would not be interrupted.
Thirty-year-old Andrew Edwards, who has kidney disease, said he is one of those patients who was evicted from a NMS facility in Hagerstown.
Edwards is clear on one thing; The care he got while at the Hagerstown facility was very good.
“I liked everybody there, “ he said, singling out the physical and occupational therapy staffers for their performance. “And all the nurses and techs were really great, too.” But when his insurance ran out, things changed.
Edwards was taken to a home in Catonsville. He said he was told the woman who operated the home was very caring and that he would get continued medical services. He said he noted right away that the Catonsville home was not handicap-accessible and just as importantly, his appointments for dialysis had not been arranged. “They never set up my dialysis, so I ended up in the emergency room,” he said, which led to a two-week hospital stay.
WTOP contacted NMS but did not hear back. The Washington Post quoted NMS CEO Mark Yost as saying he “strongly denies any wrongdoing.”