A Chicago Tribune investigative report has been succesful in exposing a lack of compliance to Illinois laws for admitting and caring for nursing home residents. Criminal background checks and risk assessments were not being conducted on new residents, allowing for mentally ill patients and convicted felons to become rent-free residents of Medicaid nursing homes and placing senior residents at risk.
Seniors who do not have personal assets and a monthly income to pay for nursing home costs can qualify for ongoing care in a nursing home paid for by Medicaid, a state and federally funded program. Owning a Medicaid nursing home can be compared to owning an apartment complex which is always rented - as long as you can admit qualifying patients, the government will pay the rent each month.
One nursing home housed 18 felons and drew attention after 17 assualts and 2 incidents of sexual violence were reported.
If a nursing home is housing a large percentage of mentally ill patients, additional staff are needed, along with around-the-clock supervision to protect seniors who may have memory loss and not be aware of how to interact with someone who is mentally ill and could cause them harm. One of the easiest ways to find out if a nursing home houses a large percent of mentally ill patients is to check the average age of residents - - if there are lots of residents who are not seniors then this is a red flag that the qualifying residents are there for mental illness. It follows that necessary precautions should be in place to prevent the assaults and sexual abuse that happened at the Chicago nursing homes.
Somerset Place in Chicago housed more than 300 residents and the federal government has pulled the plug on their Medicaid payments. However, it took good reporting to make this happen - another indicator that the state nursing home inspection reports do not provide all the answers for maintaining quality nursing homes. Felons belong in prisons, not nursing homes.
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