Admissions and Waiting Lists
How do I apply for admission to a nursing home?
Nursing homes must provide application forms to anyone asking for one. Obtain applications for the homes you are interested in, complete them and return them to the home.
If you are hospitalized, the hospital social worker or discharge planner is responsible for requesting applications on your behalf and assisting you, your family, guardian, or conservator in completing the application.
What are the steps in the application process?
When you request an application, the nursing home must send you an application and dated receipt within two days. The nursing home will then place your name on the dated list of applicants. This list only shows that you have requested an application and that it has been mailed to you.
When you receive the application, you must fill it out and return it to the nursing facility. When the facility receives your application, it will place your name on the nursing facility waiting list. It is not until your name is placed on the waiting list that you will be considered for a bed in the nursing facility. The nursing facility will not place your name on the waiting list unless your application is substantially completed.
What financial information can a nursing facility request?
A nursing home may ask if you have private insurance that will pay for nursing home care or if you are entitled to Medicare or Medicaid. A home may not ask for financial information to show that you are not eligible for Medicaid.
Once I am on the waiting list, when will I be admitted?
Generally, a nursing home must admit applicants on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date the home receives a completed application. However, Connecticut law provides that if a nursing facility has 70% or more beds occupied by Medicaid recipients, or the only room available is a private room, the facility may refuse to admit the next Medicaid applicant on the waiting list. However, the nursing home may not keep a bed empty for more than six months waiting for the next private pay applicant.
In addition to discrimination against those covered by Medicaid, there are many exceptions to the first-come, first served requirement. For example, you should be allowed to be admitted ahead of others on the waiting list if your spouse is already a resident in the nursing facility, or if you require short term rehabilitation or respite care, or if you are residing in a facility that is closing its doors.
How long will it take before I am admitted?
It is difficult or impossible to know when you will be offered a bed. It will depend on how many persons are ahead of you on the waiting list and how often beds become available. The nursing facility must inform you of your place on the waiting list whenever you or your representative requests such information.
When can my name be removed from the waiting list?
Once your name is placed on the admission waiting list, the nursing home may not removed it unless
- you have been on the wait list at least 90 days,
- the nursing facility writes to you asking if you wish to remain on the list, and
- you do not respond to the letter within 30 days.
What can I do if I feel I am being improperly denied admission?
Your Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman can investigate if you think you are being improperly denied admission. For more information, visit the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program website.
Should I sign the admission contract that the nursing home gives me?
Since the obligations of the nursing home are specified in the law, there may be no need to sign a contract. Many nursing home contracts are designed primarily to limit the responsibility and liability of the home.
It is generally best to avoid signing a contract if you can. Keep in mind that a resident who has moved into the nursing home can never be forced to leave simply for refusing to sign the contract the home offers. Certainly, if you have any questions about a contract, discuss these with an attorney or the Ombudsman. Like any other contract, you can try to negotiate the terms. Be particularly concerned about contract language that limits the home’s liability, the resident’s rights to sue, or requires disputes to be handled through "binding arbitration."
When can a nursing home ask for a deposit or advance payment?
A nursing home may not require a deposit or advance payment if nursing home care will be paid for by Medicaid or Medicare.
Each nursing home must prominently post the limitations on deposits or advance payments allowed under Medicare and Medicaid law and must obtain a written statement from applicants seeking admission to document their understanding of those limitations.
Deposits for those covered by Medicare
No deposit may be required of a resident whose stay is coverable or partially coverable by Medicare. A nursing home may, however, request deposits for services such as private rooms, private duty nurse, television, phone and other personal comfort items that are not covered by Medicare.
If you are eligible for Medicare and the nursing home thinks your stay in the home will not be covered by Medicare, you must be given a written notice whenever a determination is made that your nursing facility stay will not be covered. That notice must give you the option to have a bill submitted to Medicare for review of the non-coverage decision. If you choose to have a bill submitted to Medicare, you cannot be charged until Medicare sends you its decision. If you do not receive a written notice telling you that your stay will not be covered, you cannot be charged for the services you received.
Deposits for those covered by Medicaid
If you are already receiving Medicaid, the nursing facility may not request any deposit or advance payment from you. If you have applied for Medicaid, but have not yet been found eligible, and your stay will not be covered by Medicare, the nursing facility may only request a deposit or advance payment of no more than $1,500. If a deposit is paid, it must be held in an account for your benefit and must be returned to you when your Medicaid eligibility has been established.
Admissions and waiting list law
Connecticut General Statutes
Sec.19a-560. Disclosure of Medicaid and Medicare participation and advance payment and deposit requirements by nursing homes.
Sec.19a-533. (Formerly Sec. 19-614a). Discrimination against indigent applicants. Definitions. Prohibitions. Record-keeping. Investigation of complaints. Penalties. Waiting lists; not required to accept indigents. Removal from waiting lists.
Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies
Sec. 17-311-200. Definitions.
(a) "nursing home"
(b) "indigent person"
(c) "applicant for admission"
(d) "dated list of applications"
(e) "waiting list"
Sec. 17-311-201. Prohibition of discrimination against indigent applicants.
Sec. 17-311-202. Admission in order of application of all applicants.
Sec. 17-311-203. Provision of receipts.
Sec. 17-311-204. Maintenance of dated list of applications.
Sec. 17-311-205. Mailing of written application to persons on dated list of applications.
Sec. 17-311-206. Maintenance of a waiting list
Sec. 17-311-207. Daily logs
Sec. 17-311-209. Admissions
CT regulations are available online at https://eregulations.ct.gov/eRegsPortal/.
Deposits and advance payments laws
Connecticut General Statutes § 19a-550 (b)(24), (25) and (26). Patients' Bill or Rights.
42 Code of Federal Regulations § 483.10 (b)(10). Resident rights.
42 Code of Federal Regulations § 483.12 (d). Admission, transfer and discharge rights.
These laws can be found at: