By: Jocelyn Wiener – @inquirerdotnet California Healthline / INQUIRER.net US Bureau / 02:35 AM December 27, 2017
Anita Willis says the social worker offered her a painful choice: She could either leave the San Jose, California, nursing home where she’d spent a month recovering from a stroke — or come up with $336 a day to stay on.
She had until midnight to decide.
Willis’ Medicaid managed-care plan had told the home that it was cutting off payment because she no longer qualified for such a high level of care. If Willis, 58, stayed and paid the daily rate, her Social Security disability money would run out in three days. But if she left, she had nowhere to go. She’d recently become homeless after a breakup and said she couldn’t even afford a room-and-board setting.
In tears, she said, she agreed to leave. Thus began a months-long odyssey from budget motels to acquaintances’ couches to hospital ERs — at least five emergency visits in all, she said. Sometimes, her 25-year-old daughter drove down from Sacramento, and Willis slept in her daughter’s car.