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Chicago nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers monitoring impact of state budget on elder care in Illinois

The Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Abels & Annes continue to monitor changes in elder care at the state level that could impact the welfare of your loved ones in Illinois nursing homes.

The American Association of Retired Persons issued a statement last week decrying the impact of the new state budget on elder care and an Illinois newspaper slammed a court ruling against hiking fines against nursing homes for serious violations of care standards.

You heard that right. The state is making drastic cuts to elder care to balance its budget even as its court system ruled it cannot raise fines for abuse and neglect violations to generate income.

“By neglecting the needs of hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents, children, families and the elderly, this budget puts our state’s worst foot forward,” said Bob Gallo, state director for the AARP in Illinois. “At a time when people need state programs the most, like those that help people have access to healthcare and relief from high prescription drug costs, this budget pulls the rug out from underneath them.”

Among the cuts opposed by the AARP:

-Community care programs slated to be cut in half, leaving 26,000 without the care they need to remain in their communities and subjecting them to more costly instituional care, such as nursing homes.

-Eliminating the Elder Abuse and Neglect Program — meaning 11,000 cases won’t be investigated.

-Closing all four Illinois veteran’s homes.

– Cutting home services for the disabled.

Meanwhile, the Peoria Journal Star points to a ruling from a Sangamon County Judge earlier this year that limits the Illinois Department of Public Health’s ability to issue fines to $10,000 per incident of abuse or neglect.

The paper notes fines were increased under former Gov. Blagojevich and were opposed in court by nursing homes that were fined for infections, beatings and health problems that led to the deaths of residents.

“We’re told by those who represent residents’ concerns at the 114 nursing homes in the Peoria region that the average price of a private-pay nursing home approaches $5,000 a month,” the paper wrote in an editorial. “If the maximum fine for any offense, no matter how extreme, is $10,000, then a mere one month’s rent of one double-bed room covers it. That’s a slap on the wrist that is unlikely to induce a substandard facility to get any better.”

With the aging of Baby Boomers, the state and federal resources for elder care should be expanding. Instead they are shrinking — which in and of itself can lead to substandard care, overcrowding, and neglect or abuse.

Thus, the responsibility for researching a potential home for a loved one increasingly falls on the public.

The Illinois Department of Health offers a number of resources:

Click here and scroll down to the nursing section for a list of state resources.

And click here for reports of Illinois nursing homes with recent violations.

The nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers and personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes handle cases in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois. They offer free appointments to discuss your case and there is no fee unless you win. Call (866)-99-ABELS.

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