Legal Aid helps victim of "patient dumping"

Maryland Legal Aid staff attorney Anne Haffner

Long Term Care Assistance Project staff attorney Anne Haffner successfully helped a Carroll County woman who was the victim of "patient dumping" after her nursing home discharged her to a hospital and then wouldn't take her back. "The nursing home claimed that the resident was such a danger to other residents that she wasn't entitled to a notice of involuntary discharge or a hearing," said Haffner, noting that the client has mental health and physical issues, uses a wheelchair and is in a lot of pain. "Not taking her back was a violation of both state and federal nursing home law."

Haffner was then able to get the Office of Health Care Quality to take another look at the woman's case, which then levied a fine against the nursing home for multiple violations. Haffner then prepared an injunction to force the nursing home to take her back. But then the nursing home agreed to settle and the client returned to the nursing home just in time to be able to get a living-at-home waiver, which allowed her to then move into a smaller, more home-like facility. "She's a difficult person with an anxiety disorder," Haffner said. "She's much happier being in an assisted living facility. We're really happy with the outcome."