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Levin & Perconti Representing Bloomington Family After COVID-19-Related Nursing Home Death

In May 2020, Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health, located at 1925 South Main Street in Bloomington, was home to a COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in 59 confirmed cases among staff and residents and the death of 11 residents. Levin & Perconti is representing the family of one of those residents. Marlene Cowans-Hill, a 72-year-old woman from Bloomington, was a resident at the long-term care facility when the outbreak occurred.

Levin & Perconti lawyers filed the lawsuit against the facility’s parent company, Petersen Health Care, on November 20, 2020, alleging “gross negligence” related to Cowans-Hill’s lack of attention and care by staff and her untimely death. Her daughter, Anita Martin of Bloomington, is named as the plaintiff in the lawsuit. The 48-page lawsuit alleges the older woman suddenly became sick while living at the long-term care facility and tested positive for COVID-19 just days before she died.

questions about covid-19 vaccine

Common Questions and Answers About COVID-19 Vaccines for Illinois Nursing Home Families

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), consistent with federal agency standards, recommends residents of long-term care facilities be included among those offered the first supply of COVID-19 vaccines. As a result, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for residents of long-term care facilities has been occurring in Phase 1A since the distribution began on December 28, 2020. The state has been using the federal government’s nursing home and long-term care vaccination program alongside Walgreens and CVS pharmacies in charge of administering the vaccine to residents.

The state health agency reports Phase 1A is still underway and about 41% of 850,000 health care workers and nursing home residents have received at least one inoculation and nearly 12% getting both doses so far.

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Levin & Perconti Represents Families Impacted by COVID-19 Outbreak at Illinois Veterans’ Home

The recent COVID-19 outbreak at the state-run veterans’ home in LaSalle, several investigations, and the subsequent firing of the home’s administrator, has triggered legal action directed at Illinois officials by the families of at least five dead residents. Levin & Perconti will represent the families, several of whom have described their personal tragedies with tremendous anger and frustration and overwhelming sadness, grief, and sorrow.

In an interview with Chicago’s ABC7 I-Team on December 22, Mike Bonamarte expressed tremendous and urgent concern of the situation, saying that “something happened” to trigger the November COVID-19 outbreak at the facility and that the virus was able to spread “inexcusably” inside beginning in late October, infecting more than 200 residents and staff members. Inadequate safety procedures, staff and leadership negligence, lack of personal protection equipment, and ineffective use of infection control resources likely contributed to the outbreak. Up until then, only one resident and five staff members at the home tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

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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.

end of infinity health care strike

Chicago-Area Nursing Home Workers Ask For New Contract and Agree To ‘Tentatively’ End Strike

Much like hospital staff, Illinois nursing home employees have been working under complicated circumstances as the coronavirus continues to spread. So, it comes with no surprise that after requests for a safer workplace had stalled since June, an estimated 700 care workers from Infinity Healthcare Management walked off the job in late November, prompting a 12-day strike. The employees, who have been facing extreme workplace challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the greater Chicago-area, say they deserve significant wage increases equal to other nursing homes. The workers asked for a $2 an hour bump in pay and COVID hazard pay for all employees working at a facility with positive residents without attendance requirements, and also a guarantee for tools and resources such as personal protection equipment (PPE).

The nursing home workers and SEIU Healthcare Illinois union leaders announced on Friday, December 4th, that they had reached a possible agreement with Infinity leaders. The new ‘tentative’ agreement, according to SEIU, calls for a new three-year contract which includes:

vaccine for covid-19 patients on way

Chicago’s Long-Term Care Residents and Healthcare Workers in Line To Receive First Round of COVID-19 Vaccines

An emergency meeting led by the immunization advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, confirmed that long-term care residents and healthcare workers would be the first to access the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine. Once authorized by the federal government, an estimated 3 million residents and 21 million healthcare workers at long-term care facilities, including skilled nursing, assisted living, and other residential care facilities, will be eligible. The CDC is expected to provide further guidelines on how to distribute amongst the groups.

McKnight’s Long-Term Care News is reporting the groups will be treated as so:

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Associated Press: “Residents are suffering and dying from neglect.”

The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin and Perconti support a statement provided by The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care in response to a November 19, 2020, Associated Press report, Not just COVID: Nursing home neglect deaths surge in shadows. The article only confirmed what advocates for residents of long-term care facilities, care workers, and families have known for months: residents are suffering and dying from neglect.

According to the AP:

mclean nursing home covid-19

McLean County Nursing Homes Face New Wave of COVID Infections

Community spread of the coronavirus is the biggest threat to long-term care facilities. And now, news of a third wave of COVID-19 infections is again concerning communities with elder care facilities such as nursing homes, group homes, and skilled nursing communities. In McLean County, 9 of those facilities are experiencing cases on an upward trend, including three outbreaks, with the largest at a large assisted living facility in Bloomington. At the Bickford House, located at 14 Heartland Drive, there are 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two reported deaths.

Elder care facilities in McLean County that have had cases within the last 28 days include:

southern illinois nursing homes covid-19

Nursing Home Outbreak at Stearns Facility Points to Sick Care Workers

An Illinois nursing home in Madison County is under investigation related to a COVID-19 outbreak that has killed 12 people and infected more than 100. Stearns Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is located at 2900 Stearns Avenue in Granite City. The 109-bed home operates as a lower quality, One-Star Medicare Certified, Medicaid Approved skilled nursing center.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, an investigation led by the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) revealed that the nursing home allowed employees to continue working despite testing positive for COVID-19. A facility director cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that address mitigating staff shortages to justify the shortcoming.

abuse of covid-19 relief funds

Some U.S. Nursing Home Providers Will Misuse COVID Relief Funds

A revealing story published in the Washington Post shows that many for-profit nursing homes across the U.S., received hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID relief by The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The funds were intended to be shared to help health care workers and nursing home residents address pandemic-related shortcomings in care, but came with few spending restrictions. Unfortunately, some for-profit owners may take advantage of the support rather than spend the money on necessities such as personal protective equipment or hazard pay for nurses and aides caring for residents battling COVID-19.

According to Health and Human Services (HHS):

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