NURSING HOMES: Clinton Signs Anti-Dumping Bill
Just days after it sailed through the House and won unanimous approval in the Senate, President Clinton yesterday signed into law a bill that bars nursing homes from evicting Medicaid recipients, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The bill, pushed through Congress with support from Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and Rep. Jim Davis (D-FL), will not force nursing homes that do not participate in Medicaid to accept Medicaid recipients, but those facilities that do participate would be prohibited from dumping such patients should it pull out of the program. The law also requires nursing homes that do not participate in Medicaid to warn incoming residents that when their assets run out and they become eligible for Medicaid they could be forced to leave. "One thing the industry now well recognizes is that [patient dumping] practices are indefensible," said Christopher Jennings, deputy assistant for health policy to President Clinton (Leinwand, 3/26). Although the nursing home industry backed the legislation, Linda Keegan, vice president of the American Health Care Association, said, "We will see more and more nursing homes opt out of Medicaid because of the inadequacy of Medicaid payments." Toby Edelman, a lawyer for the National Senior Citizens Law Center, applauded the law, but similarly warned of a potential backlash. She said, "Few nursing homes withdraw entirely from Medicaid, but many limit their participation by certifying only a small number of beds for Medicaid. ... And if a person is admitted as a private patient and later becomes eligible for Medicaid, the person may be told that 'no Medicaid beds are available.'" Edelman recommended a more comprehensive follow-up bill to prevent "nursing homes from discriminating against Medicaid beneficiaries" (Pear, New York Times, 3/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.