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⭒ CANHR Advocate Did You Know Articles

Nursing Homes Cannot Require Assurances That You Will Not Be Eligible for Medi-Cal

It is well known that many people on Medi-Cal have a terrible time trying to find a nursing home that will admit them. What’s also true, unfortunately, is that those who have limited assets but are not yet on Medi-Cal often face financial discrimination by nursing homes as well. Some Medi-Cal certified nursing homes require applicants to disclose financial information that is used to project how long they can pay privately before qualifying for Medi-Cal. Applicants with more money are usually given preference.

While California HSC Code §1439.7 permits nursing homes to inquire about a person’s assets prior to admission, the federal Nursing Home Reform Act states that Medi-Cal certified nursing homes must “not require oral or written assurance” that applicants are not eligible for, or will not apply for benefits under Medi-Cal. 42 USC §1396r(c)(5)(A)(i). Requiring financial disclosure is a type of impermissible assurance that a nursing home applicant is not eligible for Medi-Cal, now or in the future.

Why are nursing homes being allowed to discriminate in this way if the practice is not legal? Sadly, because California and federal regulators are doing nothing to stop it. Until they start enforcing the law, people seeking nursing home care are left to decide whether to comply when a prospective facility subjects them to financial screening or to look elsewhere for a nursing home that does not practice this form of discrimination.