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Nursing home workers hold a vigil outside of the Downtown Brooklyn Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Nursing homes are finding ways to evict their most expensive patients — often by claiming those patients have psychiatric problems, the New York Times reports.

How it works: Nursing homes send patients to emergency rooms or psychiatric hospitals, claiming they need psychiatric care, and then refuse to let the patient return.

  • The nursing homes pounce "on minor outbursts to justify evicting them," NYT writes. The practice is sometimes in violation of federal law.
  • Officials in 16 states told the Times that nursing homes have continued dumping patients during the pandemic, with some saying the problem has gotten worse.

Between the lines: Most nursing homes are for-profit, and make the least money caring for the poorest and sickest patients.

  • They make the most from short-term patients who are privately insured or on Medicare. Poor people who are at the nursing home long-term are covered by Medicaid, which pays a significantly lower rate than Medicare or private insurance.
  • When Medicaid patients with conditions like dementia require extra care, that further exacerbates the financial imbalance between patients.

The bottom line: "Even before the pandemic, there was tremendous pressure to get rid of Medicaid patients, especially those that need high levels of staffing," Mike Wasserman, a former chief executive of Rockport Healthcare Services, told NYT. "The pandemic has basically supercharged that."

Go deeper

Dec 14, 2020 - Health

Determining which essential workers to vaccinate first

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's generally agreed that essential workers should be toward the front of the coronavirus vaccine line due to their high risk of infection, but states will soon have to decide how to order different occupations.

Why it matters: Millions of Americans are considered essential workers, but not all of them can be at the front of the vaccine line when there will be such a limited initial supply.

60 mins ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

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