On Monday, August 29, 2011, the State of Illinois took a big step to end Illinois' long-standing reliance on nursing homes to house adults with disabilities. A proposed settlement to a class-action lawsuit was filed on Monday in federal court that would require Illinois state agencies to offer subsidized apartments to Cook County residents who can function independently and outside of nursing home care.
Before this agreement becomes state policy, it must be subjected to a "fairness hearing" to consider the comments and/or objections of interested parties. This agreement, however, is likely to receive positive reactions by interested parties and has been hailed as a civil rights victory by advocates for low-income people with disabilities who say the new settlement would bolster recent court agreements and much needed legislative reforms aimed at reshaping Illinois' long-term care system.
Governor Pat Quinn and other Illinois officials worked to settle three linked disability-rights lawsuits and reform Illinois nursing homes following a 2009 Chicago Tribune investigation that detailed several instances of extensive nursing home abuse. While many Cook County residents receive excellent treatment in nursing home facilities, others suffer great abuse at the hands of those in positions of authority and Illinois legislatures, by proposing this new agreement, are trying to reform Illinois' long-term care system and reduce instances of abuse.
Chicago Tribune, State may end reliance on nursing homes for disabled adults, August 29, 2011.