Gov. Pat Quinn has signed the long-awaited overhaul of the Illinois nursing home system. The signing took place on Thursday in a room packed with top state officials and senior citizens, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Our Chicago nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers have been reporting for more than a year on the state crisis in nursing home care. Chronic short staffing, poorly operated facilities and the presence of violent and mentally ill patients have left the state’s residents at high risk of substandard care, neglect and abuse.
“This is historic legislation. It begins a new era of nursing home care in Illinois,” Quinn said at the Thompson Center signing.
The state is in the process of hiring dozens of additional inspectors as well as writing rules to increase nursing home staffing levels. One of the primary challenges will be to fund the new law’s many provisions as the state faces a $13 billion budget deficit.
A series of articles in the Tribune exposed assaults, rapes and murders occurring inside facilities that house younger psychiatric patients and convicted felons alongside elderly residents.
The new law will increase background checks and psychological screenings of new residents and place dangerous patients in separate wards. The program also seeks to divert thousands of mentally disabled people into smaller, residential programs.
The state currently has 146 nursing home inspectors. The new law will add an additional 71 inspectors by next July to reach the mandated ratio of one inspector for every 500 beds — or about one inspector for every 5 nursing homes. The new inspectors are expected to cost about $5 million a year.
If you are concerned about the conditions of an Illinois nursing home, contact the Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.