At a time when the amount of reported nursing home abuse and neglect is increasing at a rapid pace, state representatives are calling for the implementation of stricter regulations. However, instead of increasing regulations to better protect the elderly, Illinois lawmakers recently decided to lessen the standards of nursing home care in an effort to mitigate the effects of drastic Medicaid cuts. State representatives and citizens alike are irate with this change, recognizing the perilous implications it will have on the prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect. Our Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys. have ample experience in obtaining the just compensation that victims and their families deserve.
Facing a growing $128 billion dollar state debt, Illinois lawmakers have taken extreme measures to reduce this ominous debt that inescapably looms above our economy’s recovery. In an effort to lessen this debt, legislation was recently approved that substantially reduced Medicaid funding. While Medicaid funds support all types of Illinois residents, a large percentage of these funds go towards nursing homes and medical care for the elderly. As a result, nursing home revenues will be greatly decreased while the amount of elderly patients will likely continue to rise.
It is rumored that politically powerful nursing home industry representatives didn’t object to the Medicaid cuts simply because of state officials’ willingness to lower nursing home care standards. Although this decision may be economically responsible, it will have a startling, detrimental effect on nursing home patients.
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Nursing home regulations that effectively establish what constitutes nursing home abuse and neglect. Therefore, reducing these standards of care greatly limits both the quality of care and the legal recourse victims have in the wake of abuse or neglect.
Often times, the threat of liability and large damage awards are the only incentives for nursing home employees to strictly abide by the regulations of care. This deterrent effect not only improves employee care, but also incentivizes nursing home administrators to more carefully monitor their employees. Therefore, the end result is generally a very high quality of nursing home care being provided to patients. But all quality care is threatened by the reduction of nursing home care regulations.
The removal of this deterrent effect will likely have the strongest impact on nursing home neglect, as opposed to nursing home abuse. Such neglect occurs when adequate personal hygiene, basic needs, medical, and emotional support are not satisfied. With understaffed nursing homes, it will be impossible to completely avoid this neglect. Furthermore, even though it is slightly less likely, it is possible that families will now decide not to send their family members to nursing homes. If this is the case, it will have a dramatic effect on the nursing home and elderly care industries, possibly leading to massive layoffs and a spike in unemployment rates.
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Proponents of these Medicaid cuts justify them on the imperative yet difficult task of reducing the Illinois debt. While it is arguable that cuts need to be made from important government services, it is much harder to rationalize the reduction of legal recourse for nursing home abuse and neglect. Elderly persons placed in nursing homes are among the most vulnerable people in society and their care and safety should be prioritized. If you or a family member has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should immediately contact an Illinois elder law attorney.