Can I refuse home health care?

by Ann

Ann's Question:

Dear Marcia,

A severe COPD(Medicare and Co-pay) patient wants out of SNF! It has been suggested that she will need in home nursing and occupational therapy once she is discharged from SNF. She wants to go home and be left alone (yes, live independently)She is already strong enough to dress, use the bathroom, walk the halls, etc. She has in her home ALL the equipment to sustain her (nebulizer, oxygen concentrator, back up Life Alert system, once a week aid to run her errands).

Can she refuse this in home nursing and occupational therapy and still be allowed to go home?

Marcia's Answer:

Ann, all patients are privileged by their patient rights. So, yes, she can refuse everything although she will have to understand the potential consequences of refusing services. In most Skilled Nursing Facilities, this is referred to as AMA (Against Medical Advice). i.e. patient is leaving AMA.

No patient can lose their basic Medicare benefits based solely on the fact that they refuse care. A medical waiver is all they need to sign - this releases the doctors and medical professionals from potential back lash should this patient suffer injury and/or death based on her own decision to refuse care.

More and more patients are refusing home care due to a growing level of insecurity - scam artists showing up at someone's door posing as a home health medical professional.

I will soon be releasing my newest e-book that explains how to be 99.9% sure that the one person at your door is supposed to be in your home. Subscribe to our periodic Newsletter to find out when it will become available.

Others are frustrating with shotty care - rightly so. Pick up Home Health Lemons, it offers great insight into how physical therapy pay can affect patient care.

For those wanting more in depth Do-It-Yourself Physical Therapy At Home, pick up Preventing Home Care - it's over half off right now!

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Jul 08, 2010
Refusing home health care
by: Ann from NC

After much legal research, I can now answer my own question...Indeed, it is legal for discharged SNF patients to refuse in home health care if they so choose. They or their co-agents with power of attorney will have to sign a waiver releasing the Medicare prescribing doctor from any liabilities. Medicare coverage CAN NOT be discontinued because a patient has refused in home health care. Note also, that a patient has the right to leave a skilled nursing facility any time they choose as long as they, once again, sign a waiver releasing the medicare facility and their assigned medicare doctor from liability once they leave the facility.

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