The question of a minimum amount of skilled care at Illinois nursing homes will get another hearing. The legislature’s Joint Commission on Administrative Rules gave the Department of Public Health a chance to submit another set of proposed rules. JCAR’s rejection Tuesday followed several last-minute changes to the administration’s proposal. At issue, generally, is whether at least 20 percent of nursing and personal care in nursing homes be provided by RNs. That would potentially require the nursing homes to staff up at that level.
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The mother of a 61-year-old stroke victim was one of several advocates attending the hearing. “I have to go over there all the time to get things done that are not being done,” said Lois Cambric of Chicago of her son’s situation. “Quality is the one thing that we’re concerned about,” said another advocate, Arrie Jones, “and that’s what Illinois does not have right now.” Of the late changes, Harris said, “I think we’re very concerned … that the language that was most recently given to the committee could actually allow persons with lesser skills to be included in the RN time,” he said. The Department of Public Health is expected to present final revisions to its proposal at JCAR’s next meeting, which is scheduled for April 17.