An Illinois Court has ruled the Illinois Department of Public Health can impose maximum fines of $10,000 per incident for poor care–and not a penny more. The decision stems from a case involving infection-related death of a 95-year-old resident at Rosewood Care Center of Peoria. Following an investigation into the death, IDPH imposed a $25,000 fine. In ruling the IDPH fine was too high, Sangamon County Circuit Judge Leo Zappa determined the fine was excessive and violated state law and circumvented administrative rules that limit fines to $10,000. Illinois officials have been gradually increasing nursing homes fines according to William Bell, acting deputy director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. According to Bell;
The purpose of a fine is a deterrent. The more serious the breakdown in a facility, the higher the fines. We are very concerned about this ruling and the impact this is going to have on nursing homes around the state.
In addition to setting a limit on future nursing home fines, the judge’s ruling opens the door to reducing pending cases where there has been a fine proposed by the IDPH, but not formally imposed against the facility. Fines paid by Illinois nursing homes currently are pooled into a fund that helps the state monitor or temporarily take control over troubled nursing homes. Melaney Arnold of the IDPH said the agency will probably appeal the decision. Nursing Home Fines In many cases involving nursing home fines, facilities are forced to look at the way they do business and the way they treat residents. The sad reality is that in cases involving large operations, a smaller fine may simply be viewed as the ‘cost of doing business’. I hope the Illinois legislature addresses this issue and once again gives the IDPH the tools it needs to best protect the people of Illinois. Read more about this disappointing Illinois court decision here. Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog Posts McHenry Nursing Home Hit With $360,000 In Fines Quarterly Review Of Illinois Nursing Homes Reveals Major Problems Autopsy Confirms Man Was Murdered In Chicago Nursing Home