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State Data Shows Illinois Nursing Home Residents Are Dying at Most Alarming Rate Yet

In the most recent data released by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) officials, the state’s nursing-home residents are contracting COVID-19 and dying from it at their highest reported rates yet. Over the past week (December 11-18), public health regulators have recorded 605 deaths among residents of long-term care facilities, assisted-living centers, state-funded veterans’ homes, and other nursing home care sites. The previous highest mortality (and record-setting) death rate was for the first week in December when IDPH logged 480 fatalities among residents within the same groups of facilities.

The new data brings the COVID-19 death toll for Illinois nursing-home residents since the pandemic began in March to a staggering 7,559 or just over 50% of total Illinois fatalities due to the coronavirus, according to a Levin & Perconti nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer analysis of IDPH data.

coronavirus nursing home inspections
Illinois health officials are conducting two different investigations after nearly 200 residents, care workers, and staff at the state-run veterans home in LaSalle tested positive for coronavirus, prompting a fatal outbreak. The Illinois Department of Public Health and State Department of Veterans Affairs data shows 28 veterans at the facility have died of COVID-19 since late October.

According to an NBC report and a press conference with Gov. Pritzker before the Thanksgiving holiday, the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs is currently reviewing two possible causes of the outbreak and subsequent resident deaths. The state investigators say infectious disease safety protocols may have been ignored, including:

  1. The misuse of proper hand hygiene and hand sanitizer.

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Michael Bonamarte Elected to Consumer Voice Governing Board

Levin & Perconti congratulates partner Michael Bonamarte on his election to the Governing Board of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. The advocacy organization, known as Consumer Voice, is dedicated to protecting nursing home residents’ rights. Beginning in December 2020, Michael will serve a one-year term on the board. Steve Levin recently completed a term on the Consumer Voice Leadership Council.

“I am really proud of the work Levin & Perconti does on behalf of nursing home residents and their loved ones,” Michael said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to support this kind of advocacy on an even broader scale and look forward to joining the Consumer Voice in building awareness of nursing home residents’ rights, educating consumers on how to be a voice for their loved ones in nursing homes, and improving the care and treatment of nursing home residents nationwide. Their work as an organization has never been more critical, and I’m proud to join them in the fight to keep residents safe and hold accountable those nursing home owners and operators who have failed to protect their residents from the spread of the pandemic.”

Levin & Perconti is proud to welcome Cari F. Silverman and Jaime Koziol Delaney as the firm’s newest partners.
Levin & Perconti is proud to welcome Cari F. Silverman and Jaime Koziol Delaney as the firm’s newest partners. Cari has been with the firm since 2010 and earned her law degree from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her most notable settlements include a $6 million medical negligence settlement and a $4.75 million medical malpractice settlement. Jaime graduated from DePaul University College of Law in May 2011 and began working at Levin & Perconti in April 2012. She has successfully settled a variety of cases, including a $9 million medical malpractice case, a hospital fall lawsuit, and many nursing home negligence cases.

The two new partners bring the firm’s partnership to seven members, four of whom are women. They will join founding partners Steven Levin and John Perconti, and partners Susan L. Novosad, Michael F. Bonamarte, IV, and Margaret P. Battersby Black to lead the Chicago-based legal team in upholding a reputation of earning million dollar client verdicts and settlements for clients.

“We are so proud of the work Cari and Jaime do for our clients and of their emerging leadership within our firm,” said co-founding partner Steven M. Levin. “These women are talented and tenacious advocates who get top results for the people they represent while also being excellent, collaborative team members to work with.”

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Four Chicago Nursing Facilities Caught Up in Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Case

Some Chicago nursing homes and rehabilitation centers are paying nearly $10 million back to the U.S. government after being caught lying about the level of care their patients required and for violating the False Claims Act by overbilling federal health insurers. Greed came through by abusing power over resident benefits paid for through Medicare and maximizing those amounts under fraudulent therapies and support.

At the center of the fraud sat Quality Therapy and Consultation Inc. of Orland Park, and its owner, Frances Parise. Parise allegedly worked with these four Chicago facilities.

On Wednesday, the United States Senate Committee on Finance held a public hearing entitled “Not Forgotten: Protecting Americans From Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes.” The hearing included statements from adult children of nursing home residents who were the victims of rape, abuse, and neglect at the hands of their caretakers.

Letter Describes How Recent Government Actions Endanger Nursing Home Residents

Prior to the hearing, six long term care advocacy organizations banded together to send a letter to the Senate Committee on Finance to remind them of the government’s recent actions that have scaled back protections for those in nursing homes.

On Thursday, a bill that aims to guarantee the essential American right to a trial by jury is being introduced in Washington. The bill, named the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (FAIR Act) and introduced in the House by Rep. Hank Johnson (GA) and in the Senate by Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT), would eliminate arbitration clauses often found in consumer, patient, and employee agreements. Arbitration agreements take away our Constitutional right to a trial by jury and now begins our chance to finally have a voice in getting rid of these agreements that are nothing more than a strong arm tactic used by those who have all the power.

Why You Should Care About Arbitration

Arbitration is a process in which a wronged person must air their grievances in a private, closed room with an arbitrator instead of in a court room with a judge and jury. Arbitrators, unlike judges, are selected by those demanding the agreement and studies have proved their tendency to choose an outcome that heavily favors the offender. In other words, if you find yourself forced into arbitration, you’ll likely leave the process without having things made right.

“This case goes to the heart of protecting the unprotected. Evidence shows these nurses forced the victims to endure awful mistreatment and then lied about it.”

-Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost

7 employees from a Columbus nursing home have been indicted in Ohio on criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter and patient neglect after failing to provide interventions to help prevent and treat bedsores that led to one patient’s death, as well as actions that led to serious injuries in another. The first patient ultimately died from septic shock, the result of an overwhelming systemic infection caused by untreated wounds. In total, 34 criminal charges have been pressed against the employees, the majority related to one patient’s death and several resulting from serious neglect of a second.

chicago nursing home attorney
The Langham Hotel in downtown Chicago was the beautiful, wintry backdrop for the Society of Trial Lawyers 84th Annual Black Tie Dinner Dance this past Saturday. Over 200 guests were in attendance to honor their shared love of the law, as well as their respect for our jury system and for each other, despite often finding themselves on opposing sides. The Society of Trial Lawyers is an invite-only organization of Illinois Trial Lawyers. Members are among the most established, respected, and successful trial lawyers, representing just 1% of the 1% of attorneys who are trial lawyers.

Levin & Perconti founding partner Steve Levin serves as the group’s president and in a heartfelt speech told the crowd that the processes of arbitration and mediation are no more than a business and that “juries are the most literal embodiment of a representative democracy. They are of the people, by the people, for the people. As Thomas Jefferson said, ‘The government closest to the people, serves the people best.'”

Levin also addressed the need for trial lawyers to mentor the younger generation by warmly welcoming them, encouraging them to fight for the truth, and to lead by example. He asked the attendees to do this by modeling respect for not only the trial process, but also for their own clients, opposing counsel and their clients. Steve also called on all attorneys to “be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.”

In a survey of 978 people with a family member in a nursing home, Care.com found that the decision to send a loved one to a nursing home was a ‘difficult one’ for 71% of survey participants.

Over a quarter of respondents reported their feelings towards their loved one’s care in a nursing home as either “dissatisfied” or “neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.”

The survey also asked respondents to describe how often they visited their loved one in a nursing home and what prevented them from being able to visit more often. The majority of respondents (57%) said their job was the primary reason they were unable to spend more time with a family member in a nursing home.

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