Those living at nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Illinois comprise a vulnerable population deserving of the utmost protection. Multiple agencies oversee inspections of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, but that doesn’t always mean your loved ones are protected. It’s important to understand who is tasked with these inspections and why they are so important, so you know when to call an Illinois nursing home injury attorney.
Federal Agency Oversight of Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulates nursing homes and long-term care facilities at the federal level. That said, CMS delegates responsibility of inspection to the state of Illinois.
CMS is most likely to get involved when issues of Medicare or Medicaid fraud or misuse are alleged.
Illinois State Agency Inspections of Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities
At the state level, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is tasked with making sure nursing home facilities and long-term care facilities comply with the law. To do so, the IDPH performs around 1,300 on-site inspections annually. The IDPH also responds to around 6,000 nursing home complaints each year.
Some of the issues the IDPH responds to and inspects for include:
- Nursing home adequacy and fitness
- Nursing home equipment
- Nursing home staff competency
- Nursing home policies
- Nursing home procedures
- Nursing home finances
If the IDPH finds a nursing home or long-term care facility is operating in violation of mandatory regulations, the facility will be cited and given an opportunity to correct the problem. If the violation puts residents at serious risk of harm, the facility will be required to act immediately.
These measures aren’t always enough to correct the harm already done to residents, though, and you might need to take the facility to court to receive just compensation.
Private Agency Inspections of Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Facilities
Some Illinois nursing homes and long-term care facilities are nationally accredited through agencies like the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Facilities accredited through JCAHO are subject to additional requirements on top of those imposed by state and federal regulations. Violation of JCAHO standards could jeopardize a facility’s accreditation, making the nursing home or long-term care facility less marketable.
Why Are Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facility Inspections So Important?
State and private agency inspections of Illinois nursing homes and long-term care facilities are critical to ensuring your loved one’s safety and well-being. Unfortunately, there is ample opportunity for these facilities to prioritize profit over patients and these inspections help prevent patient mistreatment.
There are no shortages of examples to demonstrate how the abuse can occur. Sometimes inspections aren’t enough, as was the tragic case of a woman left to freeze to death after numerous nursing home employees failed to act.
Illinois Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facility Inspection Issues
The IDHP employees around only 200 individuals who are charged with performing inspections on the approximately 1,200 nursing homes and long-term care facilities within the state.
According to the IDHP website:
- “Illinois’ licensure [inspections] are generally conducted on-site over a three- to four-day period during which the state’s inspection teams evaluate all aspects of resident care and nursing home procedures and practices, assessing facility compliance with more than 1,500 specific state and federal standards.”
It takes no stretch of the imagination to understand that issues fall through the cracks of a heavily burdened state compliance system. Even before Covid-19, residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities suffered neglect, mistreatment, and abuses. The pandemic has served to further strain the system through staffing shortages and supply chain issues.
Speak To An Illinois Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facility Injury Attorney
State inspections are supposed to occur every 6 to 15 months, but on average, they are performed about once a year. Even though these inspections can help prevent some abuse, they cannot stop all of it. If you are concerned your loved one was mistreated or abused in their nursing home or long-term care facility, call the Cullotta Bravo Law Group right away at 630-898-7800.