The nursing home says they are going to discharge me next week. Can they do this?

Maybe. A nursing home must have a legitimate reason for discharging or transferring a resident. Involuntary transfers may be harmful to elderly residents. Transfers often involve separation from family, friends, and familiar surroundings. 

The Nursing Home Reform Act (NHR) addresses this problem. This law lists the only permissible reasons an individual may be discharged from a nursing home. It is possible that the nursing home may tell you that you are being discharged for one of the permissible reasons when in fact the discharge is not permissible. 

Before discharging you, the nursing home must give you a written notice listing the reason(s) you are being discharged. The notice must tell you that you have a right to request a fair hearing. Adequate notice must be given to allow you and your family to plan for your discharge. The nursing home must provide you with sufficient preparation and orientation to ensure a safe and orderly transfer or discharge. If your nursing home has decided to discharge or transfer you, and you do not agree with that decision, you may contact: 

Erika H. Young Chairman of the Board of Review DHHR Phone: (304) 558-0955 

Bldg. # 6  Fax: (304) 558-1992  

Capitol Complex

Rm. 817-B e-mail:

Charleston, WV 25305   

You may also contact your regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Every nursing home is required to post the name and contact information for the regional ombudsman. If you do not know who your Ombudsman is you may contact: 

State Ombudsman, West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services Phone: (304) 558-3317 

1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East Toll-free: (877) 987-3646 

Charleston, WV 25305

fax: (304) 558-5609 

For more information, see: West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Income Maintenance Manual, § 17, Appendix C(D), (last visited May 27, 2015); Toby S. Edelman, National Senior Citizens Law Center, Nursing Facilities (March 1997).