SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Last week, State Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, passed legislation to permit residential care facilities that are unable to meet staffing minimums to apply for a waiver from the requirements.
“Every year the state places additional mandates on many organizations, including nursing homes,” Beiser said. “At the same time, nursing homes continue to lose funding, which forces them cut services to their residents. The combination of the two could result in many closing their doors.”
Beiser’s legislation would allow nursing homes to apply for waivers from the Department of Public Health exempting them from nurse-staffing ratios, which have substantially increased since 2010. Facilities that apply must be able to demonstrate to the department that an attempt was made to hire nurses at competitive wages and that the current staffing levels will not endanger residents. To help ensure patient safety, the department would review the waiver quarterly. Many facilities cannot find enough qualified nurses to meet mandated requirements, particularly in Southern Illinois, making them subject to penalties.
“Our seniors deserve to have the best care possible and to be near their loved ones,” Beiser said. “This measure will help ensure that nursing homes are safe for residents, while reducing unnecessary financial burdens placed on them by the state.”
House Bill 3398 unanimously passed the House of Representatives and moves to the Senate for further consideration.