Illinois Regulators Declined to Investigate 85% of Hospital Complaints in 2010

Of the 560 complaints the Illinois Department of Public Health received regarding hospital quality last year, the department declined to investigate 85 percent, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

The hospital complaints range from patient abuse to infection control, according to the report. One such complaint, filed by a patient, alleged physicians and nurses at Harrisburg (Ill.) Medical Center failed to wear protective gear and a bacterial infection killed one individual.


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The Illinois Department of Public Health said it lacks the funding to conduct an investigation for every complaint. In response, the department is pushing for legislation that would require hospitals to pay a fee to help with investigative costs. The practice is common among other states and currently applies to other non-hospital healthcare facilities in Illinois.

Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) previously introduced similar legislation, but those efforts were halted by the Illinois Hospital Association, which believes internal controls and public reporting are sufficient enough to ensure high quality.

Meanwhile, the complaints that are not addressed by the department are either passed onto other regulating bodies, such as The Joint Commission, or are investigated internally.

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