To ensure Illinois Nursing Homes are providing the best possible cares to their residents, the Appropriations Human Services Committee, the Human Services Committee, the Mental Health and Addiction Committee and the Health Availability and Accessibility Committee have been holding a series of joint committee hearings on nursing reform.
“These Committee Hearings are a time for us to listen and learn from several different families, residents, Organizations, State Departments and Advocacy Groups who all share a common goal of bettering our current nursing home system,” said Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Chicago, Chair of Appropriations Human Services Committee and the Illinois House Democratic Women’s Caucus. “While we continue to explore different ways to improve our current system, we must ensure that care stays affordable, accessible and compassionate. The four committees present are chaired by members of the Women’s Caucus who are dedicated to ensuring proper care for our seniors and other residents referred for care.”
Several different organizations provided testimony to the Committees including the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the Department of Aging, the Healthcare Council, Access Living and several families who have had relatives in state-run nursing homes themselves. Members of the committee were able to listen to testimony and also ask any questions they may have for witnesses.
“As a former nursing assistant in a senior home, I know firsthand that our current senior care system has some glaring gaps,” said Rep. Lakesia Collins, D-Chicago, a member of the Humans Services Committee. “We need to ensure that our nursing home system provides equitable care for all seniors and it isn’t dependent on race or financial status. Aside from that, assuring that our nursing homes are fully staffed and the staff in each nursing home is properly compensated.”
“The pandemic has amplified everything we are doing wrong when it comes to the care of our loved ones in nursing homes, from desperately low staffing to unacceptable quality of care,” said Rep. Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park, Chair of the Mental Health and Addiction Committee. “We have a moral obligation to reform nursing home funding that requires measured accountability that prioritizes the care of our loved ones and respects and values our caregivers..”
“The Covid-19 pandemic revealed in stark reality many disturbing problems endemic in many of our long-term care facilities, including understaffing, poor infection control policies and inadequate plans to address social isolation in our nursing homes. These problems existed in many of our facilities before the pandemic but the high rates of infection and death over the last 18 months in our long term care facilities make addressing the deficiencies more urgent than ever. We must act to reform our long-term care system so that state and federal resources are used and directed to improve care and we must increase accountability and transparency in the system.” said Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, Chair of the Human Services Committee.
“Illinoisians deserve access to high quality health care at every stage of life,” said Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, Chair of the Health Availability and Accessibility Committee, “These hearings are a crucial step to addressing the most pressing issues and creating a care system that older adults can be confident in as they age in our state.”