The State Journal-Register recently conducted a detailed analysis of proposed legislation that unanimously passed the Illinois House of Representatives this year that has many nursing home watchdog groups extremely nervous about the potential for nursing homes responsible for injuries and death of their residents to escape fines and/or punishment from the Department of Public Health.
As it currently sits, the department has 90 days after a reported potential violation to examine the facts and issue a citation.
Even under the law as currently situated, many violations go unpunished because the department’s review process (known as “quality control”) simply takes too long. Under this proposed bill, reported violations where a resident is injured or killed — referred to as “Type A” and “Type AA” violations — would be sent to a newly-created review panel that would be required to examine the existence of any similar past violations before the department may issue a citation or impose a fine.
Not only does this proposed law impose an unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle on a department that is already pressed for time in identifying violations to begin with, this proposed law doesn’t even state how far back this new review panel would have to go in searching for past similar violation — again, all within this brief 90-day window.
Unfortunately, a law such as this has the potential to let many facilities that violate safety standards “slip through the cracks,” so to speak, and may have an adverse effect on the nursing home reform that this state fought so hard to achieve a mere two years ago.
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