2015 Georgia Code
Title 31 - HEALTH
§ 31-8-116 - Involuntary transfer of residents discharged from facility; return to facility after transfer

GA Code § 31-8-116 (2015) What's This?

(a) Except in an emergency, where the resident or other residents are subject to an imminent and substantial danger that only immediate transfer or discharge will relieve or reduce, a facility may involuntarily transfer a resident only in the following situations and after other reasonable alternatives to transfer have been exhausted:

(1) A physician determines that failure to transfer the resident will threaten the health or safety of the resident or others and documents that determination in the resident's medical record. If the physician determines that the facility cannot provide care, treatment, and services which are adequate and appropriate, it shall be conclusively presumed that the failure to transfer will threaten the health or safety of the resident. If the basis for the transfer or discharge is the safety of the resident himself, the resident shall not be involuntarily transferred or discharged unless a physician determines that such transfer or discharge is not reasonably expected to endanger the resident to a greater extent than remaining in the facility and documents that determination in the resident's medical records;

(2) The facility does not participate in or voluntarily or involuntarily ceases to operate or participate in the program which reimburses the cost of the resident's care;

(3) Nonpayment of allowable fees has occurred. The conversion of a resident from private pay status to Medicaid eligibility due to exhaustion of personal financial resources or from medicare to Medicaid does not constitute nonpayment of fees under this paragraph; or

(4) When the findings of a medicare or Medicaid medical necessity review determine that the resident no longer requires the level of care provided at the facility.

(b) If the facility voluntarily or involuntarily ceases to operate or participate in the program which reimburses the costs of the resident's care, the facility must cooperate fully with the state Medicaid agency and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regional office in the implementation of any transfer planning and transfer counseling conducted by these agencies.

(c) The facility shall assist the resident and guardian in finding a reasonably appropriate alternative placement prior to the proposed transfer or discharge. The plan for such transfer or discharge shall be designed to mitigate the effects of transfer stress to the resident. Such plan shall include counseling the resident, guardian, or representative regarding available community resources and informing the appropriate state or social service organization.

(d) The facility must notify the resident, guardian or representative, and attending physician at least 30 days before any involuntary transfer, except a transfer pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of this Code section. This notice must be in writing and must contain:

(1) The reasons for the proposed transfer;

(2) The effective date of the proposed transfer;

(3) Notice of the right to a hearing pursuant to Code Section 31-8-125 and of the right to representation by legal counsel; and

(4) The location to which the facility proposes to transfer the resident.

(e) The resident shall receive at least 15 days' notice prior to an involuntary intrafacility transfer.

(f) If two residents in a facility are married and the facility proposes to transfer involuntarily one spouse to another facility at a similar level of care, the facility must give the other spouse notice of his or her right to be transferred to the same facility. If the spouse notifies a facility in writing that he wishes to be transferred, the facility must transfer both spouses on the same day, pending availability of accommodations.

(g) Each resident shall be discharged from a facility after the resident or guardian gives the administrator or person in charge of the facility notice of the resident's desire to be discharged and the date of the expected departure. Where the resident appears to be incapable of living independently of the facility, the facility shall notify the Department of Human Services in order to obtain social or protective assistance for the resident immediately. The notice of the discharge by the resident or guardian, the expected and actual date thereof, and notice to the department, where required, shall be documented in the resident's records. Upon such discharge and, if required, notice to the department, the facility is relieved from any further responsibility for the resident's care, safety, or well-being.

(h) Whenever allowed by the resident's health condition, a resident shall be provided treatment and care, rehabilitative services, and assistance by the facility to prepare the resident to return to the resident's home or other living situation less restrictive than the facility. Upon the request of the resident, guardian, or representative, the facility shall provide him with information regarding available resources and inform him of the appropriate state or social service organizations.

(i) Each resident transferred from a facility to a hospital, other health care facility, or trial alternative living placement shall have the right to return to the facility immediately upon discharge from the hospital or other health care facility or upon termination of the trial living placement, provided that the resident has continued to pay the facility or third-party payment is provided for the period of the resident's absence. In cases of nonpayment to the facility during such absence, a resident who requests to return to a facility from a hospital shall be admitted by the facility to the first bed available after discharge from the hospital.

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