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KUOW Newsroom

'Patient dumping' is becoming more common at Washington's hospitals

Washington is seeing a rise in nursing homes or group homes sending residents to hospitals and then not taking them back, known as patient dumping.

The state's long-term care ombudsman is now calling for more consistency ... when it comes to enforcing so-called anti-dumping laws.

Patricia Hunter says more patients ... especially those with disruptive behaviors ... are being involuntarily discharged from their nursing or adult family homes after they go to the hospital for emergency care or planned surgeries.

Patricia Hunter: “Where the facility puts a stop to the readmission and says, ‘Hey, wait, we can’t bring you back in,” and nine times out of 10 it’s not because of a complex medical condition that they can’t meet the person’s needs, nine times out of 10 it’s because the person has a behavior challenge that the facility believes they can’t manage.”

Hunter says part of the problem is the fact that low Medicaid rates are a disincentive for facilities to manage complex clients.

This is a transcript post of a story broadcast on KUOW Public Radio.