Rural residents face diminishing access to quality nursing homes

Many rural counties in Illinois face the same lack of choice when it comes to high-quality nursing homes. Rural nursing homes are buffeted with a number of issues that often lead to understaffing and low quality of care. In addition, some nursing homes in rural areas are closing because of financial challenges.

There are 52 counties in Illinois with a population of under 30,000, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, and 45 of which has three or fewer nursing homes. Pope, Pulaski and Putnam, three counties with over 16,000 people in total, have no nursing homes within the counties.

Illinois nursing homes with ‘serious quality issues’ face coronavirus outbreaks

Four Illinois nursing homes already identified by federal medical authorities as having a history of serious quality issues have suffered outbreaks of the coronavirus in the past two months. Twenty-four nursing homes are listed under the federal Special Focus Facility program, which is overseen by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Four Illinois nursing homes are in the Special Focus program and another 20 are candidates for the program, as of February 26. One of the four nursing homes with coronavirus outbreaks that is in the Special Focus Facility program, while the other three are on the candidate list. 

The four Illinois nursing homes associated with the program that have reported outbreaks are:

Aperion Care Bradley, which is in the special program located in Kankakee County, has two cases of outbreak reported. Bria of Belleville, a candidate for the SFF program located in St. Clair County, has 11 cases of outbreak reported and one death. Elevate Care Waukegan, a candidate for the SFF program located in Lake County, has four cases of outbreak reported and one death. Generations at Rock Island, a candidate for the SFF program located in Rock Island County, has 10 cases or outbreak reported and two deaths. 

Three of the  homes did not return calls for comment but a statement from Generations at Rock Island stated that the facility has implemented all best practices in infectious disease protocol in the nursing home, including screening all visitors and staff before entering the building, limiting building access to essential healthcare workers, screening residents twice per shift and modifying communal dining to comply with recommendations from health departments. 

They also said they had adequately stocked personal protective equipment and raised the staff’s hourly wages by four dollars. 

“We are working around the clock to protect residents and staff from this threat,” according to the statement.

Numerous nursing homes cited for problems in infection prevention programs

At a time when nursing homes nationally are facing outbreaks of coronavirus, a review of federal inspection data reveals that more than half of nursing homes in Illinois were cited for deficiencies in infection prevention and control in 2019.

The review of the federal data on Illinois nursing homes by CU-CitizenAccess and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that 396 of about 720 active nursing homes that are Medicare & Medicaid certified have been cited for deficiencies in infection prevention and control in 2019.

The reports showed that nursing homes did not have adequate measures to “provide and implement an infection prevention and control program.”

“Infection control practices are vitally important for long-term care facilities at all times, but especially now as we are facing a national emergency fighting COVID-19,” said Kelly Richards the Illinois State Long Term Care Ombudsman, “It is imperative that all facilities follow infection control guidance issued by the CDC and the IL Dept. of Public Health.”

Infection prevention programs at nursing homes have come under scrutiny since the start of the COVID19 outbreak, as residents and staff members from numerous facilities have tested positive and died.

According to the Illinois Public Health Department, 213 Illinois long term care facilities have COVID cases, as of April 8. Illinois has 773 cases associated with long-term care facilities (including assisted living), which includes patients and staff, the department said.

I had COVID-19 and here is my story

Elizabeth Schneider is a marketing program manager at NanoString Technologies and is based in Seattle, Washington. This is a republication of her Facebook post on March 8, 2020. 

I had COVID-19 and here is my story. I made this post public out of several requests from my friends who asked me to share. I hope it gives you some good information and peace of mind! First how easily you can get it.

Data shows wide variations in access to abortion clinics nationwide

With the fewest abortion providers in the U.S. and the highest number of restrictive policies enacted since it became legal, U.S. women’s access to abortion is becoming increasingly limited. The abortion rate in the U.S. has been constantly declining for the past three decades and it’s now in a record low, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The abortion rate is the number of abortions per 1,000 women and it has fallen from 29.3 women in 1981 to 11.8 women in 2015. See all stories: 

llinois provides abortion “oasis” to those seeking services

Data shows wide variations access to abortion clinics nationwide

While abortion clinics diminish, crisis pregnancy centers flourish

In their own words: Three stories of abortion

CDC data show that the peak number of abortions took place in 1990, with almost 1.43 million. The most recent abortion surveillance report indicates that there were 638,169 in 2015, less than half than in 1990.

While abortion clinics diminish, crisis pregnancy centers flourish

While the state of Illinois is often called an abortion “oasis” in the Midwest because of easier access to abortions than neighboring states, there are 86 crisis pregnancy centers – known as CPCs – compared with 25 abortion clinics in Illinois. Champaign has two of those centers.

Illinois provides abortion ‘oasis’ to those seeking services

As some of its neighboring states have enacted laws restricting abortion access and more clinics have been closing their doors, Illinois is now more than ever an abortion “oasis” in the Midwest.

Indeed, data from the Illinois Department of Public Health show that the percentage of women from out of state who seek abortions has more than doubled since 2010.

New bill addresses Illinois concussion response in prep sports

Dustin Fink suffered his first concussion growing up in Lone Tree, Colorado, when he ran into a post on the playground in fourth grade. It was the mid-1980s and the school nurse looked him over, he recalled, sent him back to class and that was that.