Home Nursing home IDPH official discusses retirement home inspections and complaints

IDPH official discusses retirement home inspections and complaints



EDWARDSVILLE – In regulating long-term care facilities and state nursing homes, the Illinois Department of Public Health conducts annual inspections at these facilities, and these inspections sometimes result in fines when violations are noted.

But fines can also be imposed following a complaint against an establishment if an investigation by the IDPH reveals that there have indeed been violations.

“We are reviewing what policies and procedures are in place and whether the facility has followed those policies and procedures,” said Melaney Arnold, public information officer for IDPH. “A type AA violation is the highest level of violation and normally results in serious injury or death. A Type A violation is the second most serious and involves a condition or event that has the probability of death or serious harm to a resident or has resulted in actual physical or mental harm.

“From there it goes down to types B and C and finally an administrative warning. A Type B violation means that there is a condition related to the operation of the installation which could potentially result in minimal physical or mental damage. “

She said the amounts of the fines are defined by law. “The fines are doubled for offenses with a high risk designation. This happens frequently.

After being cited with a violation by the HDI, depending on the severity of the violation, an institution is required to submit what is called a remediation plan, which details what it is doing to correct the deficiency.

“If there is a hole in these policies or procedures, they have to take care of what needs to be done,” Arnold said. “For example, if you had staff who were not following the correct procedure on something, you could take on-the-job training, so that they would then be aware of the latest policies and procedures.

“We do an annual inspection, but anyone can file a complaint at any time. If we find that the complaint is valid, we will go to the establishment and investigate. “

The COVID-19 pandemic has added an extra layer to an already complex system of nursing home inspections by the IDPH.

“There are annual inspections that take place in nursing homes that typically look at everything in the facility,” Arnold said. “When you have a complaint violation, it will review that specific complaint to see what policies and procedures are in place that could have prevented the violation from occurring to begin with.

“With COVID, there were special infection control investigations where we went to the facilities and specifically looked at the control procedures.”

The timeframe for the IDPH to investigate a suspected violation may vary.

“It depends on whether it’s an annual survey or a complaints investigation, and it may take a day or two to get into a facility or more, depending on what we find,” Arnold said. “After that, the investigative report goes back to a central office where it is reviewed to determine any shortcomings and any kind of citations or violations that we are going to publish.

“Once we have provided this information to the establishment, it must then come back to us with a correction plan if necessary. They have the ability to challenge the subpoenas that we issue, and it’s an administrative process similar to a civil court where you can request a hearing, and it can take several months.

To file a complaint with the IDPH about a retirement home, call the Central Complaints Registry hotline at 800-252-4343.