UPDATE: Assisted Living Facility Decides Not to Evict Medicaid Residents

Elaine Vaughn's 94-year-old mother won't have to move after all. In late March, Liberty Shores Assisted Living Retirement Community had announced it was evicting her and a dozen other residents who were on Medicaid because it claimed it could no longer afford the costs. The facility's owner announced the decision just a day before Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire had signed a law making such peremptory evictions of Medicaid residents illegal.

But now, after a ruling from the state Department of Social and Health Services, Liberty Shores has withdrawn its eviction notices. The Department determined that the eleventh-hour evictions would still fall under the new law since a period of notice must be given before withdrawal from the Medicaid program can take effect.

"As a result of the department's interpretation of this new law, Liberty Shores has decided to remain in the Medicaid program," reads an April 14 letter from the facility owner, Tom Johnston, to Liberty Shores residents and families.

But observers predicted that unless facilities receive a better reimbursement rate for their Medicaid residents, a costs will continue to be shifted to private pay residents and the number of care providers willing to cover Medicaid beneficiaries will continue to decline.

For an article on the eviction reversal in the North Kitsap Herald, click here.