Assisted living residents on Medicaid could be evicted after a hospital stay

Some residents of assisted living facilities who are covered by Medicaid are at risk of being evicted if they leave the facility for a period of time – even if they leave merely for a temporary hospitalization.

This is a significant problem that seniors should be aware of when they are planning for long-term care.

In general, Medicaid will pay nursing homes to hold a room for a Medicaid recipient who is temporarily absent due to a hospitalization. This entitles the resident to return to the first-available room.

However, most states don’t make similar “room-hold” payments to assisted living facilities. And there is no law requiring assisted living facilities to give priority to returning residents.

As a result, even if an assisted living resident leaves for only a short hospital stay, the facility could refuse to accept the resident once he or she is ready to return. The resident might end up having to find a nursing home instead.

Although the federal government has authorized state Medicaid programs to make “room-hold” payments to assisted living facilities, only a handful of states (including Georgia, Illinois, Montana, and Washington) have adopted such programs so far.

Recently, the the National Senior Citizens Law Center issued a white paper discussing this issue in more detail. The white paper is available at

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