Late life by definition deserves dignity and care, even if you don’t really realize you are not receiving either one. For a nursing home to dump an elderly person at a hospital just because they’ve become difficult to manage is a despicable act.
But we’re skeptical that our two freshman Democratic legislators have a good grasp of the solution.
State Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, and Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, are sponsors on House Bill 3392. It adds fines for nursing homes that fail to follow staffing levels mandated in a state law passed in 2010. It also gives due process to patients that the nursing homes claim cannot be managed.
By their estimate, about 1,000 patents face the problem in our state of 12.88 million people. If the 2010 law were enforced, there would be 5,463 new jobs in Illinois.
So will adding more than five times the number of low-wage workers ensure those 1,000 difficult patients receive the proper care?
Matt Hartman, vice president of the Illinois Health Care Association, throws a lot of doubt on that. He also sees the bill creating a big state money grab of about $370 million in fines and penalties. That is about a fourth of the state’s Medicaid spending, he said.
He also said the state lawmakers numbers are off, and only about half as many people as they claim are affected.
Any time the state tries to dictate one standard to fit every single nursing home from Chicago to Washington County, there will be large expense to target a limited problem.
Maybe the state lawmakers need to work with the industry to figure out how to prevent patient dumping. Maybe they don’t need to take away 25 cents of every dollar spent on the care for all nursing home residents.