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Sen. Jacqueline Collins fulfills the promise of nursing home reform

2y ago
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Senator Jacqueline Collins recently joined AARP, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, and the Community Renewal Society in calling on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to adopt new guidelines that increase direct nursing care for seniors in nursing homes. Under nursing home reforms adopted in 2010 under Senate Bill 326, 3 hours of nursing and personal care is required for those needing skilled care. However, the law does not require any direct care from registered nurses. Senator Collins and others are calling on JCAR to administer rules that require 20 percent of this time to be from registered nurses. "In 2009, The Chicago Reporter found that the amount of direct care received from RN's was the factor most highly correlated with nursing home ratings" said Senator Collins. "They also found that patients at majority white homes often had care provided by RN's while majority African-American homes frequently had only LPN's providing care. " The sponsors of the nursing home reform bill, Senators J. Collins and Heather Steans were prompted to act after Bennie Saxon, an 84 year-old veteran, fell out of the window and died at the Alden Wentworth Nursing Home. As chief co-sponsor of SB 326, Senator Collins is calling for JCAR to align administrative rules with the original intent of the bill, which is to require quality nursing care for seniors in nursing homes. Illinois continues to lead the nation with 26 black-majority nursing homes receiving the lowest rating by Nursing Home Compare. Having registered nurses at nursing homes in vital to ensuring quality care for Illinois seniors. Studies have demonstrated that the amount of registered nursing care is the largest indicator of quality care in a nursing home. Quality nursing home care is only possibly with an adequate and well trained staff. "During the negotiations, I was assured by the Governor's office that the skilled nursing time issue, a key in eliminating racial disparities in quality of care, could be addressed through rulemaking" Said Senator Collins. "This will go a long way in making sure that all senior citizens of our state regardless of race, income, or geography, can count on a reasonable level of care when they enter a nursing home."