For more than 20 years, while working for the Memphis Area Transit Authority, passengers depended on Noah Mangum to get them around.
“I was a bus driver, bus operator,” Mangum told WREG.
These days, the 64-year-old must often rely on help from others to get where he’s going. Mangum lost his right leg after a fire.
Mangum said of what doctors told him, “He told me that your burn is not healing and it’s, it’s infection in it, so we’re going to have to amputate.”
After his hospital stay, Mangum was moved to Collierville Nursing and Rehabilitation, where he lived for more than two years.
“That’s not somewhere that I would send any of my loved ones to stay,” Mangum told WREG.
Mangum first called the News Channel 3 Investigators after seeing our series of stories on problems at nursing homes during the pandemic.
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Collierville Nursing and Rehab, a facility with a history of documented problems, had three outbreaks during the pandemic, four people died.
Mangum described a decline in care as he said staff seemed stretched thin.
He said to WREG, “You could be laying in bed dead and nobody’d never know because you never saw nobody. I mean, if they came in at 11 o’clock, you might not see a CNA until 5, 4:48 in the morning.”
Mangum is no longer a resident at Collierville Nursing and Rehabilitation, but he didn’t leave on his own.
“All of them came in my room and said, we have this involuntary discharge notice for you. Just handed me the papers,” Mangun said.
He was kicked out, evicted.
“I owed, I owed money,” said Mangum.
Mangum shared his paperwork with WREG. Collierville Nursing and Rehabilitation said he was in the arrears for nearly $30,000 and four months of care.
While federal protections kept landlords from evicting renters during the pandemic, a provision that also extended to assisted living facilities, the same wasn’t true for residents of nursing homes.
“I think the same thing should go along with them is the same thing that they’re doing for the for renters being evicted,” said Mangum.
WREG has learned that, just as the virus was spreading rampantly in facilities, nursing homes were kicking residents out.
Data from the State Long Term Care Ombudsman’s Office shows there were 11 evictions, or what’s called “involuntary discharges” from eight nursing homes in Shelby County last year, up slightly from the previous year.
A closer review shows all of the discharges happened at facilities that had outbreaks, and in some cases, residents were evicted during the height of the pandemic.
Mangum told WREG, “That’s kind of tough on people that don’t have nowhere to go, that is real tough.”
Quince Nursing and Rehabilitation had three discharges, including two in April 2020. That’s the same month the facility reported its first outbreak. That one eventually killed 35 people and was the deadliest among long-term care facilities in the county.
Other nursing homes with deadly coronavirus clusters that evicted residents in the spring and summer included:
- Allenbrooke Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
- AHC Applingwood
- Cordova Wellness and Rehabilitation Center
- Parkway Health and Rehabilitation Center
Quiteka Moten is the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman for Tennessee.
“So as an as an ombudsman, our number one job is to advocate for the rights of residents. We are by the bedside advocates,” Moten explained of the Ombudsman’s role.
This includes getting involved in the process of involuntary discharges, or evictions.
Moten told WREG, “So we push back on all of those. I think that’s the most important thing. We push back on any and all discharges that were occurring then, because at that point in time, you know, we had an eviction moratorium. And so it was just, you know, those are something that we wanted to push back on. And a lot of what we saw in nursing homes mirrored what was going on in the communities.”
Facilities are required to provide residents a 30-day notice of discharge, and submit that paperwork to Moten’s office, at which point, an ombudsman can get involved.
“We’ll say, well prove it to us. Show us in the progress note, show us in the care plan notes that these things were going on and we want to make sure they’re upholding the rights of the residents,” said Moten.
Residents are evicted for various reasons, including they got better, their needs are too high, or they make the facility unsafe for others, all of which a doctor must sign off on. However, one of the most common factors is financial.
Moten says, “If it’s for nonpayment, we will help them with the application for choices or Medicaid in the state of Tennessee or will work for them to get placement or referral out to a safe, secure and orderly discharge.”
During that application process for Medicaid, Moten says residents can’t be kicked out, so that halts the eviction. They can also appeal. A judge can uphold or throw out the discharge.
Mangum told WREG he paid Collierville Nursing and Rehabilitation another $10,000 before leaving in April. He now lives at a residential care home.
“I don’t even know how I end up paying on my own,” he said. “But I owed, I owed to be there, which I was not trying to be there for nothing. I was there for rehab, which I was half receiving.”
Mangum says he’d ultimately like to go home. Moten says some residents do go back home after evictions, but if they need a higher level of care or have behavioral issues, they’ll go to facilities that are capable of handling that.
WREG reached out to Collierville Nursing and Rehabilitation and the administrator said they couldn’t comment.
According the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, facility initiated discharges were the most common complaint to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program over the last nine years.
Sam Brooks is the Program and Policy Manager for the organization. He told WREG that nursing home evictions throughout the pandemic were a detriment to residents as some ended up in places that put them at greater risk of catching coronavirus.
“We still continue to see discharges that were either, the resident felt that they were not ready to be discharged or discharged, to unsafe locations,” Brooks added. “Unsafe discharge is equally as problematic, where residents are discharged from settings where they just don’t get that significant supports they need.
Help for Residents Who Are Being Evicted
Residents facing an involuntary discharge can contact their District Long-Term Care Ombudsman. In West Tennessee, the Ombudsman are located at MIFA and can be reached at 901-529-4565 or 901-529-4562.
Moten can be reached at 615-253-5412.