Illinois is getting $110 million from the federal government to improve safety and staffing at nursing homes. The money is supposed to address poor supervision of sometimes-dangerous psychiatric patients living alongside the elderly and disabled. Nursing homes will be able to hire more staff and the state can pay for increased inspections.
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The money is available because nursing homes have agreed to pay a new state tax. The tax money is then put into the Medicaid program so that it qualifies for federal matching funds. Then the state money and matching funds are returned to nursing homes to spend on improvements. Gov. Pat Quinn says that $20 million of the federal aid will pay for additional nursing home inspections by the state Department of Public Health.