Lax nursing home regulation in Illinois leads to second highest number of complaints per facility, report finds

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Illinois officials failed to properly oversee nursing homes, including not enforcing minimum staffing requirements, according to a review from Manatt Health Strategies, The Chicago Tribune reported Oct. 18. 

The state had the second highest number of substantiated complaints per facility compared with similar states, with 1 out of 5 long-term facilities in the state having the lowest federal rating of one star. The review also found complaints were disproportionately worse in Black communities with higher percentages of Medicaid patients.

Statewide, 19 percent of nursing home residents were Black, but 32 percent of those in one-star facilities, the report found.

The review, commissioned by the state, was conducted in November 2020, but the Illinois Department of Public Health did not reveal its findings until the Tribune filed a freedom of information act request.  

A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Public Health told the Tribune the agency “fully agreed with the report’s recommendations and took immediate actions to reorganize the office, increase staffing levels that had been decimated under prior administrations, and completely eliminate the backlog of complaints."

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