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Illinois nursing home residents consider 'bill of rights'

Living in a nursing home facility is something that many people in Illinois must do or choose to do. These facilities can provide residents with the ongoing care, medical attention and interaction that vulnerable patients require. This level of services is generally impossible for family members or loved ones to provide on their own, so they rely on these facilities to do what they cannot. 

While the expectation is that nursing homes will honor their commitment to patient health and well-being, the unfortunate reality is that many nursing home residents suffer inadequate care, neglect and abuse in these facilities. One group is tackling one of these very serious concerns with a proposed bill aimed at protecting nursing home residents in Illinois.

The measure is referred to as a managed care bill of rights, and it focuses on helping patients at Medicaid managed care facilities. According to the proposal, these organizations are focused more on profitability than getting quality care to residents. This priority comes at a steep cost to patients who can fall victim to substandard care, negligence and inconsistent services.

Supporters of the bill, which includes the Health Care Council of Illinois, argue that residents need more protection, control and reliability from their care facilities. They should be able to get care they need, not care that is unnecessary and ordered by a third party; they should be able to choose where they receive their care; they should be able to be protected from fraud. These protections are all said to be accounted for in the proposed bill of rights.

Whether this measure passes or not remains to be seen. However, the discussion of the bill itself should serve as a strong reminder of how vulnerable nursing home residents are and how important it is to protect any person who is in the care of these facilities. If patients are being denied care, overmedicated, neglected, abused or otherwise mistreated, it can be crucial for them or their families to speak with an attorney. Even without the bill of rights mentioned in this post, every person has rights that must be protected, and they can file a claim against those who violate these rights.

Source: Austin Talks, Nursing homes push for legislative proposal," May 5, 2014

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