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Honolulu, Hawaii

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80 Year-old Nursing Home Resident Evicted and Left at Emergency Room – What do you think about that?

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Florence Ko, 81, had lived at Nu’uanu Hale in Honolulu for 18 months when a week before Christmas the staff at Nu’uanu Hale dropped her off at Straub Clinic & Hospital Emergency Room dressed in a hospital gown and holding her only personal belongings – a purse and a cell phone, according to the Honolulu Advertiser.

The nursing home claimed she had not paid her bill in months, and they had no choice but to discharge her. With no family to call on, nursing home officials dropped her off at the next best place they could think of, the hospital emergency room. Later that evening, Ko was taken to an Aiea respite home for temporary care.

“I wish someone (at the nursing home) had the courage to tell me what was going on,” Ko told the newspaper reporter.

A Hawaii state agency determined that that no abuse had occurred because the nursing home had dropped Ko off at a safe place, a hospital. However, the Department of Human Services called the drop-off inappropriate, and said it would refer the case to the Department of Health.

Nu’uano Hale is rated as “poor” on a new rating system recently unveiled by the federal government, earning one star out of a possible five.

Ko is in a situation referred to by officials as the“gap group.” Her personal finances did not allow her to qualify for Medicaid but she earned too little from Social Security and an annuity to cover nursing home costs.

“We will likely see more people needing assistance,” says Anne Holton, a long-term-care ombudsman specialist with the Hawaii Executive Office on Aging. “With the boomers coming up, there’s going to be a whole new tide of people looking at that.”

This story has been reported all the way to Alabama where it showed up in web story from a prominent consumer advocate law firm, Beasley Allan . Their website is a good place to get the truth about health and safety risks and your rights. In the Rob Perez story in the Honolulu Advertiser it is interesting that the comments on the Advertiser website are highly critical of Ko and the Ko family. website includes a much more detailed analysis.

So what are your thoughts Honolulu? Thumbs up or thumbs down?