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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Action Alert April 20, 2016: Protect the Rights of Individuals in Nursing Homes in Illinois - PLEASE ACT NOW!

Our colleagues at Equip For Equality (EFE) has issued an Action Alert for the Illinois Disability Community, family, friends & supporters. And Access Living (cil) has also released a Action Alert.



(Illinois) HB 5601 removes the right of nursing home residents, family members, visitors and staff to file anonymous complaints with the Department of Public Health regarding violations of the Nursing Home Care Act (NHCA).   As a result, only complaints filed by individuals who provide their name, address and telephone number will be investigated by DPH.  The bill also requires DPH to inform individuals making a complaint that they may be subject to sanctions for knowingly and willfully filing a false complaint.  While the bill states that the identifying information of complaining parties will be confidential, recent security breaches at the state, national and global levels render this a hollow promise.
The purpose of the existing complaint process is to ensure the health, safety and welfare of individuals residing in nursing homes. The long-standing right of residents, family members, visitors and staff to file anonymous complaints was established to encourage, not deter, individuals to report violations of residents’ rights and the responsibilities of nursing homes—without fear of retaliation. Combined with the required warning to would-be complainants regarding possible sanctions, HB 5601 will have an extremely chilling effect on the filing of complaints.  In turn, this will prevent DPH from investigating instances of abuse and neglect which may put residents at risk of serious injury or death.
Any purported inconvenience or cost to nursing homes in dealing with the possibility of a frivolous complaint is far outweighed by the need to ensure that the rights and safety of people residing in nursing homes are protected and enforced.   HB 5601 places the interests of nursing homes above the rights of individuals residing in nursing homes to be free from abuse and neglect.  This is a dangerous proposition which should be soundly rejected.
  • To find contact information for your State Representative: Click
  • To find contact information for your State Senator: Click
For questions, contact Cheryl R. Jansen, Public Policy Director, Equip for Equality: 217-544-0464 ext. 6013 or cherylj2@equipforequality.org
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Also Access Living, Center for Independent Living has shared the following alert - to vote NO on HB 5601;
HB 5601 is a (Illinois) state bill designed to protect nursing homes and institutions by creating an atmosphere of intimidation towards residents. HB 5601 would eliminate residents' ability to file an anonymous complaint, and install a penalty system for filing "fraudulent" reports. While the bill would require all complaints received by the state to be confidential, the reality is the inability to file anonymous complaints may deter many residents from standing up for their rights.

 HB 5601 is a dangerous bill; please urge your state legislators to vote NO on it by using this easy link.

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The State of Illinois Legislators have a bill before them HB 5601, that would reduce more of the rights of those that are in Illinois Nursing Homes (Illinois nursing homes system has ranked nationally year after year as being some of the worst in the nation).
Ability Chicago Info oppose HB 5601, Jim Watkins, publisher.

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