A new controversial state bill aims to ban anonymous complaints against nursing homes by no longer accepting or investigating anonymous reports.
Introduced by Representative Mike Unes and supported by nursing home lobbyists, H.B. 5601 would change Illinois’ Nursing Home Care Act and require people reporting complaints to provide their name and contact information.
The Representative has stated that the Illinois Department of Public Health would keep their information confidential. Investigators, however, would be able to contact them for additional information.
He maintains that these changes advocate for the vulnerable and will empower the state to better get to the root of a problem and punish negligent homes for inadequate care.
The bill would also require those filing a complaint to be informed of the potential for criminal sanctions if they file false reports. Although these sanctions already exist, informing people of this when they are already nervous about making a complaint could discourage some from making a complaint.
According to the State Journal-Register, nearly 20 percent of the 5,600 complaints the department received last year were filed anonymously.
Resident advocates have come out against the proposed bill, arguing that it does not take into account the vulnerability and health of residents and employees. They argue it will prevent people from reporting complaints out of fear of retaliation against themselves and their loved ones. This could lead to underreporting of abuse and neglect.
The bill was approved by a House committee last week and is currently slated for a full House vote, after which it will move to the Senate for a vote.
If you suspect that your loved one has suffered from abuse or neglect while staying in a nursing home or assisted living facility, the nursing home abuse lawyers at GWC Injury Lawyers can help you get justice and compensation.