Under current state law, complaints of nursing home negligence or abuse against Illinois nursing homes can be made anonymously. A recently proposed bill, sponsored by East Peoria Representative Mike Unes, could ban such complaints. Advocates say this bill would cut back on the amount of time wasted on fraudulent complaints, but the opposition feels it would only deter valid ones. The real question is: who is right?
Lawmakers Say Bill Would Keep Caller Information Confidential
Already approved by a House committee and awaiting a vote from the Senate, the bill (otherwise known as House Bill 5601) would completely prohibit anonymity in nursing home complaints. Instead, callers would be required to leave their contact information so that the state could contact them with any further questions or information. The caller would also be informed that a false complaint could carry criminal charges. The goal, according to Unes, is to reduce the number of fraudulent calls while improving communication with those filing reports, but between the fear of facing charges and the fear of retaliation, some callers may decide that leaving their information is too much of a risk.
Is Fear of Retaliation Really an Issue?
Those who oppose the bill feel that lawmakers are failing the system as well as the residents in their family. As they tell it, someone who truly suspects that their loved one is being abused in a nursing home may be inclined to fear retaliation against their loved ones. Divulging their name and contact information to state investigators could heighten that fear and may even deter them from making a complaint at all. But is this a truly valid fear?
Lawmakers say no, but those who are dealing with an abusive situation might disagree. After all, there are always ways to work around a system – even one that is supposed to be confidential. Even if those workarounds did not exist, the fear that families face can be enormous and should not be easily dismissed when considering whether or not to pass the bill. Nor should the best interest of the residents themselves, and passing this bill, in the minds of many critics, fails to put them first.
Nursing Home Negligence? You May Be Due Compensation
When nursing home negligence occurs, the first step should always be to call and file a complaint and, if necessary, to relocate your loved one. Unfortunately, there are far too many cases in which the neglect is not uncovered until it is too late. For this reason, victims and their families have protections under the law that give them the constitutional right to pursue fair compensation. It cannot bring a loved one back, but it can help deter similar acts from the negligent nursing home, as well as others like them.
At Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur, P.C. we understand how distraught families can be when a loved one has fallen victim to nursing home negligence or abuse. And, as compassionate but aggressive advocates, we take the responsibility of standing up for and protecting them seriously. We can help you seek justice and pursue the compensation you deserve. To find out more, call 630-907-0909 and schedule your free initial consultation with our Kane County nursing home negligence attorneys today.