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covid-19 update july 2020

FAQ: July 2020 COVID-19 Update for Illinois Nursing Home Families

As of July 10th, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has reported 23,324 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,895 deaths among all Illinois long-term care (LTC) facilities, not just outbreaks. These numbers reflect over half of all coronavirus cases tied to long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living centers.

Because of the ill-preparedness and disastrous response to the pandemic by several nursing home owners and operators, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti have launched more than 100 investigations regarding gross negligence related to COVID-19 outbreaks in Illinois. And as part of our work as elder care advocates, we have provided answers and legal solutions to concerned family members and nursing home workers since the pandemic began.

inspection for nursing homes

How To Read a Nursing Home Inspection Survey To Identify Abuse or Neglect

All nursing home providers participating in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) program must meet Federal reporting requirements as well as state laws as they relate to the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. Homes must also remain in substantial compliance to remain in operation and be evaluated for care standards through annual surveys and inspections. It is expected that any recorded violation will then be addressed promptly and residents will no longer be at risk from those noted deficiencies.

Families can review a website published by CMS called Nursing Home Compare. Here, they can access quality of care information for every nursing home that participates in Medicare and Medicaid in Illinois. Nursing Home Compare provides an overall star rating based on three factors: health inspections, staffing levels, and quality measures, but also includes the results of recent health inspections.

The coronavirus epidemic is pausing inspections conducted by State Survey Agencies (SSAs). The most recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance related to nursing homes and coronavirus includes a pull-back of regular CMS inspections. The federal agency said it would only conduct revisits when Immediate Jeopardy (IJ) is cited.

CMS defines IJ as: “… a situation in which entity noncompliance has placed the health and safety of recipients in its care at risk for serious injury, serious harm, serious impairment or death. These situations must be accurately identified by surveyors, thoroughly investigated, and resolved by the entity as quickly as possible. In addition, noncompliance cited at IJ is the most serious deficiency type, and carries the most serious sanctions for providers, suppliers, or laboratories (entities). An immediate jeopardy situation is one that is clearly identifiable due to the severity of its harm or likelihood for serious harm and the immediate need for it to be corrected to avoid further or future serious harm.”

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