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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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July 7, 2010

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN: OPERATION GUARDIAN
COMPLIANCE CHECK CONDUCTED TODAY IN PEORIA

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that an “Operation Guardian” compliance check took place earlier today in Peoria. Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy joined Madigan at a midday press conference to discuss the results of the compliance check of Sharon Health Care Willows, 3520 N. Rochelle.

“Operation Guardian has put nursing home owners and operators throughout the state on high alert,” Madigan said. “Any day we could swoop in unannounced to ensure that the elderly who reside at these homes are cared for in a safe environment.”

Madigan’s office was joined by the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Illinois Department on Aging’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program in addition to the Peoria Police Department and Peoria Fire Department at today’s compliance check.

“Each participating agency has a specific role to play in ensuring the safety of the vulnerable residents of Illinois nursing homes,” continued Madigan. “It is particularly important to have the local fire and police departments participate in this operation as they have a strong interest in protecting the nursing home residents who live here in the Peoria area.”

“We have an obligation to ensure the citizens that these facilities are safe havens and I applaud the efforts of our Attorney General and support her in this endeavor,” said Sheriff McCoy.

Madigan said Sharon Health Care Willows houses 219 beds with all residents Medicaid eligible. Today’s operation resulted in the arrest of two residents wanted on outstanding arrest warrants, and the clearing of one resident who was listed with law enforcement as a missing person.

This was the thirteenth compliance check conducted since Attorney General Madigan announced her office’s Operation Guardian initiative to protect Illinois’ nursing home residents. Including today’s action, Madigan’s team has identified 66 people with active criminal warrants. The multi-agency visits give her office and other participating state agencies the opportunity to review safety and compliance issues at nursing homes. For example, nursing home operators who fail to conduct background checks on residents or fail to have care plans in place for residents with felony convictions are in violation of state law. The Department on Aging’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program ensures that residents’ rights are not being violated with the goal of enhancing their quality of life. The Department of Public Health’s role is a compliance review of any identified offenders and any reported incidents in the last six months. The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation interviews administrators and performs a license check of all professionals employed at the nursing facility.

Attorney General Madigan announced the formation of “Operation Guardian” last February and it follows her work to close Emerald Park Nursing Home and to require background checks and criminal history analyses to identify nursing home residents that might pose a threat to others. The Attorney General also authored a law, known as the Resident’s Right to Know Act that requires nursing homes to complete an annual Consumer Choice Information Report about facilities’ standard of care, service and security issues to provide better information to residents and their families.

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