Illinois Nursing Homes are licensed, regulated, inspected and/or certified by public and private agencies at the state and federal level. Such agencies tasked with Nursing Home regulation include, but are not limited to, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The IDPH monitors nursing home facilities to ensure compliance with mandatory state regulations. In addition, the IDPH, under a cooperative agreement with CMS, is responsible for ensuring that nursing home facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid in the State of Illinois satisfy federal regulations and certification requirements. The IDPH inspects nursing home facilities and also responds to complaints lodged against any facility. Inspections are conducted to evaluate a nursing home's equipment, staff, policies, procedures and finances to ensure an adequate level of care at each facility. During an inspection, the IDPH inspectors might evaluate and/or inspect medical records, observe resident care, inspect all areas of the nursing home for health and safety compliance issues, and interview residents and their families or staff.
The IDPH also reviews "reportable events". A "reportable event" is anything from personnel changes at a given facility to deaths or injuries sustained by residents at a given facility.
How often are Nursing Homes Inspected in Illinois?
According to the IDPH, nursing homes are inspected at least every 6 to 15 months. The average rate of inspection in Illinois is once a year. Does once a year ensure that a nursing home facility is providing an adequate level of care to its residents and remaining compliant with state and federal regulations? Possibly. One the one hand, in Illinois, facilities are given no notice prior to an inspection. On the other hand, once a year inspections may not be enough in light of the fact that if a nursing home falls below a certain level of care, even for a short time, this can have devastating consequences, including negligence and abuse, which could result in resident injury or death.
What if, During an Inspection, the IDPH Finds that a Facility has failed to Comply with all Applicable State and Federal Licensure Standards?
The IDPH will cite the nursing home facility for deficiencies if it is not in compliance with state and/or federal regulations or rules. When a facility is found to be deficient in some area, the facility is required to submit a written plan of correction within 10 days detailing how and when each deficiency will be corrected.
The IDPH can also direct specific corrective measures that must be implemented by the facility if the circumstances so require the IDPH to do so.
In some cases, a nursing home facility is given an opportunity to correct any deficiencies with which it is cited, without the imposition of fines, penalties or other punitive measures. However, the IDPH may impose a fine, curtail admissions, appoint a temporary manager, issue a provisional license or even suspend or revoke a nursing home's license. In extreme cases, the IDPH may order a facility to close or have a facility's Medicare or Medicaid certification suspended or revoked by CMS.
What about the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act?
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides another layer of protection for residents. The Act was enacted in response to concern over the increase of reports alleging inadequate and improper treatment of patients in nursing home facilities. The Act provides residents with the right to pursue actions for damages and other relief against nursing home facilities. Specifically, Section 3-601 provides that owner and operators of facilities are liable to a resident for injuries cause by intentional or negligent acts of their employees or agents. 210 ILCS 45/3-601.
Despite the many state and federal regulations and the laws that serve to protect residents of nursing home facilities, many residents continue to suffer from an inadequate level of care at some of Illinois' nursing homes. This inadequate level of care might be be the result of a number of factors, including but not limited to, decreased staffing, negligence and/or abuse.
If you or someone you love has been neglected in a nursing home, call the experienced attorneys at Ed Fox & Associates today.
Information on the regulation of Illinois Nursing Homes can be found at: http://www.idph.state.il.us/healthca/nhregulate.htm