On Wednesday, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation that will increase the state taxes assessed against nursing homes (“the bed tax”) with the goal of bringing in more than $145,000,000 targeted for safety reforms in nursing homes across the state. The gist of this, of course, is to make the nursing homes pay for the safety reforms themselves, instead of dipping into Illinois’ (empty) pockets.
Under current health care provisions, this will allow the State of Illinois to get another bunch of money, almost a dollar for dollar doubling of this new safety reform fund, through Medicaid federal funds. That’s a lot of cash.
And the horrors of nursing home abuse and neglect are very real.
Families face terrible situations where they file lawsuits either on their own behalf, or on behalf of their loved one who has been victimized, only after bad, bad things have happened. While law firms like Kenneth J. Allen & Associates are always ready to fight for justice in these situations, it’s clearly a better scenario to stop the elder abuse and neglect long before it ever happens.
But will these new nursing home safety reforms actually stop nursing home abuse and neglect?
Many say no, including the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). This new legislation will really throw lotsa cash into the pockets of nursing home facilities that are focused on their bottom-line, and are profit-driven as opposed to care-driven, critics suggest. Plus, where are these bed tax increases going to get shifted – who’s gonna end up paying them ultimately?
If you suspect any resident of a nursing home of being the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, trust your gut. Contact state authorities like the Illinois Department on Aging or the Indiana Division on Aging who will then pursue criminal investigations — and remember, private malpractice lawsuits based upon personal injury or wrongful death claims against these facilities can be powerful ways to help not only the individual victim, but to force overall changes that help others in the future.