Senate passes Collins nursing home accountability plan: Legislation targets dangerously low staffing levels, consent for medication

Senator CollinsSPRINGFIELD – Responding to staffing levels in Illinois nursing homes that are among the lowest in the nation and at the heart of severe safety issues for residents, State Senator Jacqueline Collins passed a plan out of the Illinois Senate yesterday to enforce mandatory staffing levels and increase transparency around nursing home practices.

“Reporting by the Chicago Tribune and Kaiser Health News has revealed a clear picture of what many families in Illinois already have seen firsthand: Most nursing homes in Illinois are understaffed and resorting to practices which are unsafe for our elders and the personnel who care for them,” Collins said. “Bed sores, deadly infections and the administration of psychotropic drugs without clear consent are all recipes for disaster. That disaster is happening right now.”

The legislation requires nursing homes to abide by and enforce the state’s minimum nursing home staffing requirements established by Collins’ legislation in 2010. It also mandates higher transparency of nursing home violations and sets stricter guidelines around the voluntary, informed consent of a resident when nursing home personnel administer psychotropic medication.

About 1 in 5 of the 6,000 nursing home residents who come down with sepsis in Illinois each year die from it. Federal inspections data show 94 percent of nursing homes were cited for some practice that increases the risk of infection, and 88 percent of Illinois nursing homes don’t have an infection control plan in place to respond to such incidents.

“In 2010, I joined with advocates to call on the nursing home industry to increase staffing to safe levels, and it is these guidelines that this legislation seeks to enforce,” Collins said. “In 2018, the AARP found Illinois to be literally the worst in the nation for direct care. I urge my colleagues in the House to support this legislation.”

Senate Bill 1510 passed the Illinois Senate 39-19. It is scheduled for further debate in the House.

Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins

Deputy Majority Caucus Chair
16th Senate District

Years served:
2003 - Present

Committee assignments: Financial Institutions (Chairperson); Insurance; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (TR).

Biography: Born in McComb, Miss.; grew up in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Studied journalism at Northwestern University and graduated from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Divinity Schoool. Emmy Award-nominated news editor at CBS-TV in Chicago and 2001 Legislative Fellow with U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Recipient in 2011 of a Lifetime Achievement Award for Financial Literacy Leadership from the Illinois state treasurer.

Associated Representatives:
Mary E. Flowers
André Thapedi