Metro-East News

Department of Aging lags in creating caregiver registry, audit finds

A recent audit faulted the Illinois Department of Aging for failing to establish a registry that would track caregivers whose negligence or abuse resulted in the death of a client.

Adult Protective Services currently reports neglectful and abusive caregivers to the specific agencies that caregivers work for, but a registry would allow other state agencies to see who those caregivers are, according to Department of Aging spokeswoman Veronica Vera.

The department was supposed to establish the registry as part of the Adult Protective Services Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2015. The act also required state agencies to check the new registry before hiring or paying caregivers, but the registry still hasn’t been established.

Those agencies include the Department of Aging, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Public Health, according to the audit.

Caregivers whose abuse or neglect cause someone receiving in-home and community-based treatment from the state to die are supposed be reported to the Department of Aging, which is supposed to put the caregiver on the Adult Protective Service Registry.

The Department of Aging said that a lack of resources has been a problem in creating the registry. Hurdles included staff vacancies, technical difficulties, drafting administrative rules, competing priorities and other things, according to the audit.

“As we work to implement the APS Registry, Adult Protective Services continues to report any caregiver ... with a substantiated finding of abuse, neglect or exploitation to the administering state agency ... to prevent that caregiver from continuing to serve recipients of in-home services,” the Department of Aging said in a statement.

Casey Bischel: 618-239-2655, @CaseyBischel