Nursing home bill angers advocates for elderly

By Denise Jackson

Nursing home bill angers advocates for elderly

April 3, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 2:16 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill --Advocates of Nursing Home residents are speaking out against a measure passed by the Illinois House.

They say the bill could make it harder for the state to fine nursing homes after a resident has been injured or killed.

The bill, sponsored by House Republican Dave Leitch, would establish a statewide team to review allegations against nursing homes. The team would determine if inspectors are enforcing regulations of nursing homes in a fair and uniform matter.

After the state team reviews the allegations, the public health department could issue one of two high level citations or fine the nursing home with the violation.

Leitch said the bill is designed to improve the state health department's current rules and enforcement efforts. Critics believe it will add another layer of bureaucracy.

"There are already surveyors throughout the state of Illinois. They are doing their job as best they can and they are hired by the department of public health to do their job," said local AARP Spokesperson Mary Patton.

"There are a lot of problems across the whole landscape of regulation with people who have not always been fair or competent and are often contradictory," Leitch said.

Some members of consumer advocacy groups are upset because they were not included in the negotiations on the house bill.

Dave Vinkler, with AARP, said the bill delays fixing the problems which in serious cases could result in injury to nursing home residents.

The Senate is expected to discuss the matter when legislators return to Springfield after the Easter break.

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