Nursing homes that seize relief payments from residents could face federal enforcement and be blocked from participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued the warning Thursday following pressure from lawmakers. The IRS has been issuing checks of up to $1,200 for individuals as part of the CARES Act.
CMS hasn’t received any specific complains yet, but is “aware of allegations” that nursing homes are seizing the payments, according to the news release.
“Residents or their family who were compelled to sign their stimulus check over to their nursing home, are encouraged to file a complaint with their state survey agency for investigation of the nursing home,” the news release said.
In mid-May, the Federal Trade Commission said that nursing homes and assisted living facilities can’t ask residents to hand over their checks, adding that they were tax credits that don’t count as income for federal benefits program.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also wrote to Christi Grimm, acting inspector general at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, asking the office to issue an alert to the public and the operators of the facilities.