In an odd but troubling state of the law, the Illinois Appellate Court uncovered a hole in the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act protecting nursing home residents. In this case, Marvin Gruby was a resident of Manorcare Health and Rehabilitation Services. He was given notice that the nursing home wanted to involuntarily transfer him or discharge him from its Highland Park, Ill., facility. The move to discharge him was based on the allegations that he endangered the safety and health of other residents.
He filed a lawsuit claiming that the Illinois Department of Public Health deprived him of his right to a hearing under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and the federal Nursing Home Reform Amendments (NHRA) and appealed from a circuit court order that dismissed his complaint for administrative review.
The Illinois Department of Public Health started a hearing on Gruby’s objections to his discharge from Manorcare. During the continuance, Gruby was briefly hospitalized for a minor surgical procedure. While he was in Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Manorcare declared it would not permit him to return to its nursing home. Then it withdrew the notice of involuntary discharge or transferring and asked the department to “close this file.”
Because Manorcare was no longer seeking the discharge or transfer of Gruby, the Illinois Department of Public Health decided there was no reason to finish the hearing that was earlier started.
The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the trial judge’s order dismissing Gruby’s complaint explaining that “when Manorcare withdrew its notice, there was no longer a plan to transfer or discharge – as those terms are defined in the act – requiring the department’s authorization. Likewise, Manorcare’s refusal to readmit plaintiff following his hospitalization did not trigger any right to a hearing under FNHRA or the CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] regulations.”
Despite Gruby’s “public policy” arguments, “the responsibility for effecting any change of the law falls to the legislature or the department, not this court.”
When Manorcare withdrew its notice, there was no longer a planned transfer or discharge – as those terms are defined in the act – requiring the department’s authorization. Likewise, Manorcare’s refusal to readmit Gruby following his hospitalization did not trigger any right to a hearing under FNHRA or the CMS regulations. Therefore, the dismissal of Gruby’s lawsuit in the circuit court was affirmed.
Gruby v. Department of Public Health, 2015 IL App (2d) 140790 (March 26, 2015).
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling nursing home abuse cases and medical negligence cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by a medical provider for more than 38 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including, Naperville, Calumet City, Blue Island, Rosemont, Schaumburg, Chicago (Greek Town, Chinatown, Little Italy, Roscoe Village, Rogers Park, Hyde Park, Kenwood), Sauk Village, Flossmoor and Highwood, Ill.
Related blog posts: