Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nursing home heads rarely disciplined

Illinois nursing home administrators are rarely disciplined when things go wrong -- including violent assaults on elderly patients -- even though the state Health Department, which investigates nursing home assaults and care, refers dozens of cases a year to the agency in charge of meting out punishment.

From 2005 through 2009, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation received 407 complaints from the state's health department. Only three resulted in discipline for nursing home administrators.

Advocates for nursing home residents say that's a sign of a broken system.

"Less than 1 percent is ridiculous," said Toby Edelman, an attorney with the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy. "There should be more accountability on the part of the administrators."

The numbers were put together by a task force Gov. Pat Quinn formed after a series of assaults, rapes and murders in Illinois nursing homes. The task force is looking into why so few cases result discipline, said Michael Gelder, Quinn's senior health adviser. "We're absolutely very concerned about that," he said.

Advocates for nursing home residents are now watching to see whether Jamie L. Lloyd, administrator of Maplewood Care in Elgin, will be disciplined after a 21-year-old mentally ill resident sexually assaulted a 69-year-old woman at the home. The state's complaint alleges Lloyd didn't do enough digging into the young man's past before readmitting him to the Elgin facility. Had Lloyd checked, he would have discovered the former resident had an outstanding arrest warrant on felony battery charges.,CST-NWS-nhome13.article

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