Nursing home patient treatment a concern for some when hospital trips needed

Published: Jun. 5, 2019 at 8:11 PM EDT
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Nursing homes from big cities like Louisville to small towns like Stanford are having problems getting ambulances to return patients to the nursing home after they've been examined by an emergency room doctor.

Lyndon Woods Care and Rehab has been dealing with the problem for a couple of months now. The Director of Nursing Dimitra Devore says she remembers one of several incidents where a doctor ordered a nursing home resident to be taken to the emergency room, but when the emergency department said she didn't need to be admitted, the EMS crew wouldn't return her to the nursing home for seven hours.

"Our biggest problem is getting them back for the hospital," Devore said. "It kind of makes you lose faith in the people that were out there to provide healthcare."

An EMS responder told WKYT the problem is pay. Ambulance services can't bill Medicare when the nursing home patient doesn't technically "need" the ride.

Devore responded, "They felt like they weren't getting paid, I guess."

If an ambulance service was to charge Medicare for a non-emergent ride, that would be fraud. And issues just like that are being caught by the feds, here in Kentucky.

"it's not just small pockets of complaints here and there, it's really an issue everywhere," Devore said.

She just wants EMS and nursing home staff to come to the table and figure out how to get back home.