Kansas assisted living residents barred from appealing involuntary discharge – Ottawa Herald

By Tim Charpentier Kansas Reflector

TOPEKA – Early Alzheimer’s led to rancher Charles Imthurn being placed in an assisted living facility in Kansas and it was dementia that prompted his involuntary discharge.

Imthurn’s wife, Rachel, said the facility caring for her husband and five other Alzheimer’s patients with memory, thinking and behavior problems decided without warning to withdraw from this line of business. The facility fired nursing staff and told residents to get out, she said. No 30 day grace period. No doctor’s prescription. No explanation.

“It was critical that he stay there and not move because Alzheimer’s patients don’t move well,” she said in 2021 testimony before a Kansas committee. House. “It’s called transference trauma, and it cost Charlie his life. He died nine days after being deported.

Imthurn, of Maple Hill, reported the 2011 incident to the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services, which investigated but took no action. She contacted lawyers and was told that no case could be brought. She notified the Kansas Attorney General’s office, but was advised that state law did not prohibit the involuntary discharge.

Here’s why: Kansas nursing homes governed by federal law must give a person the right to appeal an involuntary discharge. However, Kansas Assisted Living Facilities provide residential support and services that are not directly covered by Medicaid or Medicare. These facilities are tied to licensing requirements set by the state, which has not established the right to appeal unintended releases.

Imthurn and a collection of organizations led by the Alzheimer’s Association of Kansas are pushing for change with the 2004 House Bill. The legislation, known as “Charlie’s Bill”, would require an assisted living facility to give notice and a reason for the forced transfer. This would create the right to an administrative remedy from the state for a person living in an adult care facility.

“It’s kind of unbelievable,” said Jamie Gideon, who represents Kansas and the National Alzheimer’s Associations on Capitol Hill. “People who get dripped have been dropped off at hotels, at homeless shelters.”

As of 2020, approximately 55,000 Kansans were living with Alzheimer’s disease. This number is expected to increase by 12% by 2025.

Linda MowBray, president of the Kansas Health Care Association and the Kansas Center for Assisted Living, said in testimony last year that an appeals process leading to a requirement for a facility to withhold or readmit a resident whom he does not believe to be able to serve would be bad “for the resident, the staff and potentially for the other residents”.

“Call after call could drag on for months. It would be irresponsible and risk serious consequences for a community to attempt to care for someone whose needs are clearly outside the services they can provide,” said Mow Bray.

It’s unclear what the 2022 legislature intends to do with Charlie’s Bill or two other pieces of legislation requested by the Alzheimer’s Association.

The organization championed House Bill 2122, which would provide an option for people with dementia who needed guidance to make decisions that fell in the gap between independence and legal guardianship. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee a year ago but was blocked by the full House.

Gideon said it’s natural for people to seek help when making a decision, including consulting a lawyer, accountant or doctor. The bill would allow a trusted adult to serve as an informal advisor on medical issues by outlining choices, benefits and risks.

“The idea behind supported decision-making is not a new concept,” she said. “However, what is new is using the big picture principles to help people with disabilities, including changes in memory and cognition, stay in control of their lives by working with supporters to understand the issues and options, receive advice and help make choices and decisions about simple things. and complex issues.

Additionally, the Alzheimer’s Association is lobbying the Statehouse on behalf of Bill 2543. It would extend support under the Aged Care Act to people under 60 with the disease.

The measure would benefit about 2,000 Kansans through the provision of services such as attendant care, respite care, chore services and adult day care.

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