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New Legislation Gives Illinois Nursing Homes Two More Years to Increase Staffing

 Posted on February 06, 2023 in Nursing Home Abuse

rockford nursing home injury lawyerThe state of Illinois recently passed an “omnibus” health care bill that will, among other considerations, give nursing homes two more years to meet staffing requirements before being fined by the Department of Public Health. This bill comes at a time when the quality of care for nursing home residents is under heightened scrutiny—and for good reason. Understaffing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities can lead to a host of problems for some of the most vulnerable Illinois residents.

Staffing Concerns Have Lasted Far Too Long

Often abbreviated as “NHCA,” the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45/) sets out specific rules and regulations that long-term care facilities must follow in Illinois. The NHCA states that each facility must provide “adequate” staffing levels in order to ensure the highest quality of care for its residents. In March 2020, the Department of Public Health issued emergency rules that set minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes across the state based on occupancy levels, as well as additional requirements related to infection control and safety protocols.

A bill was passed last year by the state that overhauled how nursing homes were reimbursed through Medicaid, including making up to $700 million per year in incentive payments to raise wages and increase staffing levels in long-term care facilities. The law also gave the Department of Public Health the power to fine facilities that were not compliant with minimum staffing requirements. These rules, however, were put on hold as lobbyists for the nursing home industry claimed it was impossible to meet the new standards so soon.

In January 2023, a wide-ranging omnibus bill was signed by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. The bill did a few things covering several different areas of concern, but in terms of nursing homes, the new law gives Illinois facilities two more years, that is until 2025, to become compliant or face fines from the Department of Public Health.

The Dangers of Understaffing

For many, the concern now is that many of the state’s nursing homes will continue to be understaffed for two more years without penalty. Such a situation certainly has its risks.

Understaffing can have serious implications for elderly patients residing in nursing homes. Studies have long shown that understaffed facilities can lead to increased incidents of falls among residents, as well as longer wait times for meals or assistance with basic needs such as using the bathroom or bathing. In addition, inadequate staffing can also lead to higher rates of medical errors due to overworked staff members or lack of proactive preventative measures. Finally, understaffed facilities often lead to decreased resident satisfaction related to their overall quality of life and access to care.

Contact a Chicago Nursing Home Neglect Attorney

If your loved one in a nursing home is experiencing substandard care because of understaffing or inadequate staff training, contact an Illinois nursing home injury lawyer for guidance. Our team of experienced professionals can help you take action against the nursing home and get your loved one the justice they deserve. Call 312-535-4625 for a free consultation at Schwartz Injury Law today.



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