SPRINGFIELD –As the populations of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities increase, State Senator John G. Mulroe (D-10th) is working to ensure equal access to quality care and to make sure that services keep up with the growing population’s needs.
“Nursing home residents are our parents, family members and friends,” Mulroe said. “We need to make sure that they have access to care, mental health considerations and equipment.”
As Chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee, Mulroe has been working to ensure that all Illinois residents are provided the best care possible regardless of insurability, socioeconomic factors or age. Further, he feels that quality of life should not be diminished just because a person enters an assisted living facility.
In fact, his committee approved a series of proposals aimed at improving the lives of nursing home residents yesterday.
Senate Bill 2968 aligns Illinois regulations with the new federal guidelines for the closure of nursing homes. Current Illinois regulations for nursing home closure are in conflict with the new federal regulations. This could cause confusion establishing a timeframes for closing nursing homes and could lead to further confusion regarding the proper amount of notice to give to residents.
By complying with federal requirements, Illinois nursing homes will be streamlining their closure process and reducing inconsistencies and duplicative or conflicting notifications.
Senate Bill 3028 clarifies that the health needs of a nursing home patient include both their physical needs and their mental health needs. While physical needs are always taken into account in an emergency situation involving transfer or discharge, mental health needs are not always taken into consideration. The proposal clarifies the intent of the law to ensure that nursing home staff consider patients’ mental needs in emergency situations to protect the patients and others.
Senate Bill 3048ensures that nursing home residents and their providers have the same legal protections that would be available to them if they were in another care setting by adding nursing homes to the definition of ‘provider’ under the HMO Act and the Managed Care Reform & Patient Rights Act. Nursing home residents have historically lacked access to specialists and other protections that to people in other care settings.
The proposal also eases the burden on nursing home providers. By incorporating nursing homes into the definition of providers, the nursing home providers will have to appeal less service denials on behalf of residents.
Mulroe is a co-sponsor of all three proposals.
“We need to protect our loved ones and ensure that they receive the best care possible,” Mulroe said.
Each of the nursing home improvement measures passed the Senate Public Health Committee without opposition.