Evicting residents from ALF’s is a controversial topic.
Currently, there is a regulation in place that mandates that ALF’s give a resident 45 days’’ notice in order to evict them. However, resident advocates believe that a system should be in the place where facilities must first report proposed evictions to the Ombudsman’s office and allow for a mediation and appeals process.
You can read more about this in the Sun-Sentinel – http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-05-06/business/fl-assisted-living-discharges-20120506_1_nursing-homes-evictions-eric-m-carlson
You may notice in the above article that no specific examples were given of any illegal 45 days’ notices.Even though the article tries to spin a negative light on ALF’s regarding the issue. That is because 45-day notices are for the most part usually given for a reason, there are always two sides to every story. Unfortunately, the ALF side of the story is often viewed as suspicious.
When discussing ALF resident evictions, there is a negative stigma applied to ALF owners and operators. The perception is that ALF owners are ‘bad people’ that are out to take advantage of residents and mistreat them. There is also a perception that ALF owners are more concerned with their own financial needs, and are choosing to evict residents as a way of retaliating against residents for filing complaints against our facilities.
Believe it or not, the majority of affordable ALF’s owners and operators are nice, caring people that work hard every day and run great facilities, besides the lack of funds they have to operate with.
The last thing owners and operators want to do are throw a resident out and have to worry about filling an empty bed. The truth is, operators usually demonstrate a great deal of patience and give the residents more than enough chances before finally resorting to 45 days’ notice.
Reasons ALF’s Give a 45 days’ notice
- Refusal to pay (resident spends rent money and informs facility they can’t pay their rent this month. These residents usually bounce from facility to facility executing the same scam)
- Not following the rules (infractions range from smoking in rooms after multiple warnings, drinking, stealing from residents and or threatening staff and other residents
- Requiring more care then the facility was lead to believe (a family member, resident or hospital misleads the facility during pre-screening about resident’s behavior or level of care. This results in the facility being unable to provide appropriate care.)
- The resident has a grudge against the facility and constantly files unfounded complaints against the facility (very often the resident is not happy with being placed in an ALF and takes their anger out by trying to cause problems for the facility. Their weapon of choice is filing complaints with the state hotline. They do not make the most effective action by first talking to the facility owners/administrators about their complaints, which usually resolves concerns/complaints immediately. They resort to simply calling in a complaint. This is very frustrating to the facility when a state inspector shows up and the resident didn’t even mention the issue, to give the facility a chance to address it.)
Attending to a complaint investigation is a very time-consuming process that can take three or more hours. When multiple unfounded complaints are filed, these actions start to resemble harassment. It becomes apparent that the resident is not happy at the facility and it would be better if they look for another ALF. In the past, I’ve had AHCA surveyors deal with resident complaints, telling me, “you didn’t hear this from me but if I were you I would get rid of this resident.” This can be a sensitive issue and it is advised that it is dealt with, with caution. The state is aware that this happens, but depending on the investigator you never know who they will side with.
Whether the issue is the resident breaking rules or the resident needing more care, you MUST make sure you document everything leading up to the issue of a 45 days’ notice! You should also offer to help the resident find a new facility. Remember the stigma attached to ALF’s is that ‘we are the bad guys’ so the laws are not on the ALF side. If your 45 days’ notice gets investigated by AHCA and they decide that you gave the resident a 45 days’ notice to retaliate against them, or that you did not show good cause for discharging a resident, the regulation states that your ALF can be fined $2,500.