An involuntary discharge from a long-term care facility occurs when the facility provides a 30-day written notice to a resident informing him/her of the need to move out of the facility. By law, a facility must permit residents to remain in a facility and not discharge them unless:

  • The resident’s health has improved sufficiently so he/she no longer needs the services provided by the facility;
  • The safety and health of individuals in the facility is endangered;
  • The resident has failed, after reasonable and appropriate notice, to pay for a stay at the facility; or
  • The facility ceases to operate.

Residents have the option to appeal an involuntary discharge within seven (7) days of receiving notice.

Discharge Notification Process

Regulations went into effect in November 2016 requiring notices for all discharges/transfers from a facility to be provided to the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

  • All involuntary discharge notices must comply with state regulations still in effect.
  • Non-involuntary discharge notices must be transmitted to the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman per the new regulations. The non-involuntary discharge notices may be transmitted via mail to 510 E. 12th Street, Suite 2, Des Moines, IA 50319, or via email to
  • Please be sure that the notice includes a reason for the discharge. 
  • Do not include protected personal information, such as a Social Security Number or date of birth, in the notice.  
  • If using face sheets as notices, please include a reason for the discharge and redact all protected personal information.
  • If the notice you are providing includes appeal rights, please include the correct appeal rights for the type of discharge you are issuing.

Please consult your facility counsel, corporate counsel or industry trade association for additional guidance regarding these notices.

Get Assistance

If you are a long-term care resident or tenant in need of assistance with an involuntary discharge, or if you are a facility staff member with questions or concerns about the discharge process, call the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.