Nursing homes throughout the United States have been accused of seizing residents economic impact payments under CARES Act, and The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are aware of these allegations. Communities that seize these payments could potentially be terminated from participating in Medicare & Medicaid programs.
In order to prevent mass exploitation, lawmakers called on the agency to issue guidance on preventing long-term care facilities from taking stimulus relief payments. In a letter to the CMS, House Ways and Means Committee Chairmen Richard Neal (D-MA) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairmen Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ) wrote “It is crucial that this vulnerable population group continues to have the certainty that comes with these [economic impact payments] and are not coerced into wrongly handing over their checks for fear of being kicked out of their homes.” Further progressing their efforts in ensuring seniors receive appropriate resources.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid issued a notice in response to the lawmakers and to bring awareness to the issue. There have been no specific complaints sent to the CMS regarding this practice but, “residents and families should still know their rights” CMS stated. They continued by warning nursing homes that seizing resident’s checks could be a violation of federal regulations of Freedom from Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation. Specifically, misappropriation of resident’s property.
The CMS urges residents and families that have been compelled to sign their stimulus to a facility call their survey state agency for investigation. “CMS and State investigators will make referrals to the States Attorneys General, as appropriate, if they find a nursing home in violation of these requirements,” CMS added.