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Who determines the rating of a nursing home?

Nursing homes in Illinois are certified and regulated by several agencies, both federal and state. While each agency is separate from the next, their jurisdictions do sometimes overlap.

It is the duty of the Illinois Department of Public Health to ensure a nursing home is in full compliance with state regulations. In addition, it works with Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal program, to ensure facilities meet rules and regulations for the acceptance of Medicare and Medicaid payments. Every year there are approximately 1,300 nursing home surveys performed by any of 200 inspectors employed by the State of Illinois. The agency also fields and investigates approximately 6,000 complaints per year. The Department of Public Health issues a quarterly report of nursing home violations.

All nursing homes are inspected on a regular time period of six to 15 months. If deficiencies are found, a facility is given a set time frame to correct the problem. Penalties, depending on severity of an issue, can range from fines, to a temporary curtailment of admissions, to a total facility shutdown, among others. When issues pose such a serious risk so as to threaten the health or safety of its residents, an agency can take immediate action, without prior warning.

Any type of nursing home deficiency should be properly reported, regardless of its level of severity. Sometimes minor problems that can be seen on the surface serve as a distraction for major underlying issues. Victims of nursing home problems may have legal options.

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