Illinois has the most nursing homes with majority-black populations that received the lowest possible rating from Nursing Home Compare, a government database that provides information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the U.S., reports the Illinois Times.
At 26, the number of nursing homes with these extremely low ratings exceeds that of any other state, according to the article, and this could be because of staffing levels that don’t follow a reform bill requiring nursing homes to have enough “actual” nurses.
A 2009 investigation by The Chicago Reporter found that “patients at majority white nursing homes often had care provided by registered nurses, or RNs, while majority African-American homes had only licensed practicing nurses, or LPNs, providing care.”
Last year, Governor Pat Quinn (D-Ill.) signed a nursing home reform bill into law, mandating nursing homes to keep a certain minimum ratio of nurses to patient.
This hasn’t happened, according to state senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), reports the Illinois Times.
The reform law was supposed to provide for annual increases in staff numbers to help address those problems, but Collins told reporters on Feb. 28 that staffing issues continue a year after Quinn signed the law. Collins co-sponsored the law with Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago.
“In the bill, we did raise staffing levels over a period of time,” Collins said. “However, it’s not just the issue of staffing. We know that the critical issue with staffing is about who provides the care.”
In 2009, an investigation by the The Chicago Reporter found that the amount of direct care received from RNs is the factor most highly correlated with nursing home ratings and cannot be below the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Service minimum level of .75 hours – or 45 minutes – of patient care per day.
Illinois law merely requires licensed nurses and doesn’t distinguish between RNs or LPNs, according to David Vinkler, associate state director of AARP.
Read the full article here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace