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Illinois digging into delays in nursing home complaints

Springfield, Ill., — The state of Illinois said it’s investigating a delay in responding to abuse and neglect complaints at long-term care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s Bureau of Long-Term Care didn’t properly process complaints from March 15 to June 30, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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“Our top priority as a regulator of long-term care facilities in Illinois is ensuring vulnerable Illinoisans are kept safe by those responsible for their care,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, health director. “Anything short of that is unacceptable, and our entire department is committed to getting this right as we move forward.”

Because of COVID-19, the federal government suspended deadlines for the state to investigate certain complaints. But there was no timeout under state law, the health department said.

The department has confirmed certain facts in at least 17 complaints of abuse and neglect, although nursing homes might not be at fault. Former U.S. Attorney A. Courtney Cox will look at other cases where allegations were not substantiated.

Manatt Health Strategies has been hired to review the Bureau of Long-Term Care’s complaint process.

Copyright © 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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