National and Illinois Nursing Home Deficiencies On the Rise

According to a study published in 2003 by the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG), deficiencies in nursing homes increased between 1998 and 2001. Although there appeared to be considerable variation with states regarding the average number of deficiencies per home and the percentage of nursing homes with deficiencies.
In the past 3 years the instances of nursing home deficiencies in Illinois and nationwide has risen to over 91 percent. A “nursing home deficiency” would be anytime a nursing home fails to comply with federal requirements and standards. The most commonly cited of the 16 possible deficiencies were in terms of quality of care, quality of life, and resident assessment.
As stated by the OIG analysis of data, in 2007 Illinois suffered an average of 5.3 deficiencies per nursing home surveyed, while the national average in 2007 was 7.0. Even though Illinois nursing homes fared better than many other states, over 90% of nursing homes in Illinois had deficiencies. Although this is an alarming number, it is below the national percentage of nursing homes with a deficiency of 91.9%.

A range of nursing homes were included in the survey, including for-profit nursing homes, not-for-profit nursing homes, and government nursing homes. Yet according to the study the greatest deficiencies occurred in for-profit nursing homes.
In order to be affiliated with Medicare and Medicaid all nursing homes are required to obtain certification from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). As part of their certification process the CMS conducts surveys of the nursing homes at least once every 15 months.
The study primarily focused on observed deficiencies in nursing homes, it also took into account complaints by nursing home residents, the residents’ family members, and nursing home employees. All complaints were reviewed and ruled either substantiated or unsubstantiated. Substantiated complaints will be filed as a deficiency.
It is important to distinguish between when a nursing home is deficient and when they are medically negligent. For example, one of the possible deficiencies is in terms of the nursing home environment, with the goal to provide a positive, supportive environment to the residents. A nursing home that is cited as needing improvements in its atmosphere is not necessarily guilty of medical malpractice. Nursing home negligence is assessed on an individual basis and is unique to each resident’s situation.
For over 30 years, Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois nursing home abuse and malpractice cases in Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Schaumburg, Chicago, Tinley Park, and Oak Lawn.