New, tougher regulations for Illinois nursing homes pass the state House, but funding remains an issue

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Nursing homes in Illinois are facing new higher standards after a unanimous vote in the state's House—118-0—to pass a major overhaul of the long-term care system. A similar vote is expected in the Illinois Senate, according to local reports.

The bill would require homes to increase staffing, perform more rigorous checks on potential residents with mental illnesses, and move thousands of mentally ill patients into community health programs, the Chicago Tribune reported. The new regulations come after a series of Tribune stories highlighting poor treatment of residents—particularly mentally ill residents—in Illinois' nursing homes and mental health facilities. Provisions in the bill reflect the recommendations of a Nursing Home Task Force that had been established by Illinois Gov Pat Quinn (D) to address the charges in the articles.

Lawmakers and state officials are still not sure how to pay for the new regulations set forth in the bill, according to the Tribune. A special panel will be convened to figure out how to fund the measure.

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