New Proposed Legislation to address Illinois nursing home understaffing and improper discharges of nursing home residents

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Recently, Illinois State Senator Daniel Bliss and Representative Chris Welch introduced new legislation to address inadequate nursing home staffing that often leads to improper discharges of nursing home residents from skilled nursing facilities.

Senate Bill 1624 and House Bill 3392 are designed to eliminate the practice of wrongfully abandoning nursing home residents in hospital psychiatric units due to understaffing of nursing homes by owners or operators who increase profits by hiring fewer nurses and CNAs to work in the facilities.

While the proposed new legislation in reality only enforces the staffing levels required of nursing homes which was enacted in 2010, it also adds monetary penalties against owners or operators of skilled nursing facilities equal to the amount of money “saved” by the home by not hiring enough workers to meet these staffing requirements.

State Representative Chris Welch noted that Illinois leads the nation in improper discharge of long-term care residents.  In fact, statistics indicate that more than one-third of the nursing homes in Illinois fail to meet the minimum staffing requirements previously established in 2010.

Illinois law mandates that each resident of an Illinois nursing home is to receive 3.8 hours of daily direct care, a figure that is impossible to meet for the many long-term care facilities that are chronically understaffed.

I urge each of you to contact your State legislators to request them to support this legislation.  No nursing home resident should be subjected to this inhumane treatment and inadequate care.