According to information recently compiled by non-profit corporation ProPublica, Illinois ranks third in the nation for suspended federal Medicare and Medicaid payments due to serious nursing home deficiencies. Over the last three years, federal skilled nursing facility payments were purportedly suspended nearly 100 times at 78 homes throughout the state. Normally, Medicare and Medicaid payments are only suspended when conditions at a long-term care facility require immediate improvement. In addition, Illinois reportedly ranked near the middle of states with regard to the number of serious deficiencies and fines issued per nursing home.
The Illinois Department of Public Health surveys and rates skilled nursing facilities at least once each year and when specific complaints are filed. Ratings of A to L are assigned to each nursing home based on facility conditions. An A assignment is the highest rating and an L assignment indicates the most severe level of deficiency. A J score reportedly indicates an isolated, immediate risk to a patient’s health or safety was found. Meanwhile, K indicates that such a condition exists as part of a pattern while an L means a state surveyor noted widespread and immediate risks to resident health and safety exist at a particular skilled nursing facility.
In the last three years, 144 of the 773 nursing homes throughout Illinois purportedly received at least one J, K, or L citation. Additionally, 199 nursing homes incurred $2.43 million in fines during the same time period. The largest fine was issued to a Chicago nursing home that allegedly committed 53 simultaneous violations. Federal payments were suspended twice over the last three years at one long-term care facility in Joliet. The same nursing home also reportedly received 82 deficiency citations and was ordered to address resident care deficiencies through a special focus program. According to a representative for the nursing home, all previously identified deficiencies were corrected and a new administrator and other staff members were hired. Still, a number of other nursing homes in Illinois have similar track records.
A statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health claims the state is committed to ensuring that skilled nursing facilities throughout Illinois meet both state and federal standards. The majority of nursing homes in Illinois are held to a high standard of care under both state and federal law. Although most skilled nursing facilities in the state are certified, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act does not require it. A certified facility is one that is under contract to receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funds. The Illinois Department of Public Health regulates standards of care for all nursing homes in the state whether or not a facility receives federal funds.
If you believe a friend or family member was mistreated while a resident in an Illinois skilled nursing facility, you should contact the hardworking lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. Our capable Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help you protect the rights of your elderly or disabled loved ones. For a free consultation with a knowledgeable Illinois lawyer, give Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 475-9596 or contact us through our website.
Study Finds Anti-Psychotic Drugs Are Over-Prescribed in Veterans Affairs Nursing Homes Located in Illinois and Throughout the Nation, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, December 21, 2012
Top Nursing Home Violations in Illinois and Nationwide Now Available Online, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, December 18, 2012
Illinois defends its nursing home surveys, by Deborah L. Shelton, Chicago Tribune (free subscription required)