On July 29, 2010, Governor Pat Quinn signed a landmark nursing home safety bill. The new legislation is designed to put in place additional safeguards to protect Illinois senior citizens living in nursing home facilities from harm or nursing home abuse.
One of these provisions under the new Illinois nursing home law requires additional screening of incoming nursing home residents, including criminal background checks and psychological background checks. In Illinois many nursing home residents are not actually physically impaired, but were being placed in nursing home facilities instead of a long home mental institution. The new law attempts to relocate many of the mentally ill patients currently residing in Illinois nursing homes in an effort to diminish overcrowding and its potential for nursing home abuse.
The tentative plan is that these mental health patients will be transferred from the nursing homes to smaller residential programs that are more assisted living situations. The mental health communities will supposedly have more staff and better supports for mentally ill patients than their current residences within nursing home facilities.
There has been much debate about how the Illinois government plans to implement and support these new mental health communities. Those in favor of the smaller mental health facilities point to the increased support mental health patients will receive; however, not everyone is convinced that the financially strapped Illinois government will have the money to pay for these smaller care communities. The current bill states that the money to implement these changes will come from the savings from removing the psych patients from nursing homes, nursing home annual feeds, and Medicare payments. However, to date there is not a set plan or figures regarding where and when the money will come from.
In addition to addressing the overcrowding of Illinois nursing home facility, the new Illinois nursing home bill addresses the inadequate number of state nursing home inspectors. The new bill calls for one inspector for every 500 nursing home beds, which will require an additional 71 nursing home inspectors be added by July 2011. Currently there are only 146 Illinios nursing home inspectors.
Quality of nursing home care has been a long-standing issue in Illinois, with cases of Illinois nursing home abuse becoming far too frequent. The hope is that this new bill will help stem the tide of Illinois nursing home negligence and improve the overall quality of Illinois nursing home care.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois nursing home abuse lawsuits for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Cook County, including Oak Park, Schaumburg, Lisle, and Blue Island.
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