The Chicago Law Bulletin is reporting that Illinois Governor Quinn may soon sign legislation that will greatly reform nursing homes. The bill has already passed both chambers of the legislature was the result of many task forces that were created in response to violence and sexual abuse in the understaffed nursing homes. The bill would increase the required staffing in Illinois’ 1,200 nursing homes to 3.8 hours of nursing care for each resident. Additionally, the licenses fees for nursing homes would increase as well as fines for any nursing homes guilty of nursing home abuse.
The new nursing home legislation would also change the number of inspectors employed at the Illinois Department of Public Health. By 2013 Illinois would be required to employ one inspector for every 300 licensed nursing home beds. Hospitals are also affected. They would be required to initiate criminal background checks before transferring patients who are ambulatory and between 18 and 70 years old to nursing homes for the first time. This provision was implemented because many nursing home residents were physically and sexually abusing other residents in the homes. The problems of mixing those elderly residents with the mentally ill have created many problems. The bill tries to address this by including a pilot program to require expanded fingerprint background checks for those younger residents in mixed homes. This will hopefully put an end to the sexual assaults and batteries that occur at the home.
The Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti applaud the efforts of the Illinois legislature to hold nursing homes more accountable for their actions. The safety of our most vulnerable residents should be a top priority. Hopefully, these measures will be able to prevent nursing home abuse from occurring, and will send a strong message to those nursing homes who continue to commit elderly abuse.