Senior living residents or their family members in at least eight states have filed complaints to their state attorney general or long-term care ombudsman about unfair billing practices related to the pandemic. That’s according to a report in USA Today Thursday.
The complaints include communities raising rent for all residents, charging for meal delivery and personal protective equipment, siphoning stimulus checks and requiring residents to pay for 24-hour care before they can return from the hospital. According to the report, experts say communities where many residents pay out of pocket, such as assisted living and memory care communities, have more latitude to pass those expenses on to residents than nursing homes, which rely heavily on reimbursements from the federal government. They also worry more operators will begin charging residents for these mounting costs as the pandemic continues.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living has said that the pandemic’s strain has put the nursing home industry on the “verge of collapse.” The association applauded the federal government’s allocation of $15 billion in COVID-19 relief funding for assisted living operators and other providers earlier this month but also has stressed more funding may be needed as cases continue to spike.
“With the majority of assisted living residents using personal funds to finance their daily care, the unfortunate consequence of government inaction is that providers are shouldering the burden and those costs may be passed along to residents,” the association said in a statement to USA Today.