Last week the state of Illinois revoked the license of a long-term care facility which has long been the site of Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse-Hillcrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Each Joliet nursing home lawyer is intimately familiar with the misconduct at this home. Our attorneys have helped families whose loved ones were hurt when they did not receive the care to which the law demands at this facility.
Now it seems that the state public health officials have decided that the level of care at the facility has been deficient for too long. In a recent Sun Times story, the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed that the troubled facility was scheduled for decertification from the Medicare program on April 1st. The vast majority of local nursing home residents, particularly those at chronically negligent homes, have the care paid for by Medicare. That is why many facilities cannot continue to operate without being part of the Medicare program. They usually must close when they lose the right to participate in the program.
Our Joliet nursing home abuse lawyers know that there have long-been complaints about the care at Hillcrest. Last month the state’s public health department investigated the facility after ten different complaints were filed by residents who transferred out of the period during a single week in March. The residents were allegedly transferred without any regard to the wishes or preferences of the resident’s or their families.
This transfer issue was just the latest of many complaints about conduct at the facility. For example, previous allegations suggested that one younger resident sexually, physically, and mentally abused nearly two dozen other residents at the home. The shocking allegations included claims of the resident sexually exposing himself and threatening residents with a weapon if they reported his conduct.
One of our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers, Steven Levin, was interviewed for the story on Hillcrest’s closure, because of the firm’s experience with these exact cases. Attorney Levin summarized the long-term problems at the facility by explaining that “As long as ten years ago that home had difficulty preventing residents from injuring other residents. They’ve had a very spotty regulatory record that is filled with incidents of neglect and, frankly, it’s about time that the state and federal government took the appropriate action to shut that home down.”
Unfortunately, closures of homes that provide chronic mistreatment are few and far between. Of course, there are many different issues involved in potential facility closures. For example, even in this case, the mayor of Joliet explained that he intervened to try to get the state’s health department to allow another inspection of the home before closure-essentially trying to get the facility yet another chance to shape up. The Mayor noted his concerns about the jobs that may be lost as a result of the closure.
There are undoubtedly a range of economic issues tangled in these decisions. Yet, at the end of the day it has to come down to proper levels of care being provided at these homes. If senior care facilities are not properly caring for seniors, then the facility has to be shut down-the fact that there are employees at the facility cannot dictate the decision.
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