A group led by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan walked into theVirgil Calvert Nursing & Rehabilitation Centerfor a surprise inspection this morning, one of series of such inspections she has been doing around the state to see of nursing homes are following a state law requiring special precautions for potentially dangerous residents.
They didn’t find the numerous apparent violations that they have found at other homes, Madigan said in a news conference a short time later.
What they did find was one resident of the home who was wanted in St. Louis on a drug warrant. This apparently is a common issue out there now: older people with active criminal warrants, effectively hiding out in the nursing homes.
“He knew he was wanted. He seemed perfectly able-bodied,” said Madigan spokesperson Cara Smith. “These nursing homes have been turning out to be the perfect place for hiding out. We’ve found wanted people in every one.”
In fact, the nursing-home inspection program through Madigan’s office–which started in December and wasn’t specifically about catching wanted felons–has so far led to the discoveries of 61 people under active warrants living in the homes, and 17 arrests, in the 12 homes inspected so far.
Nursing homes are required to do background checks on their residents and make special arrangements to separate and monitor those with dangerous criminal histories, such as sex offenders and other who could pose a threat to fellow residents.
Madigan said her office began undertaking the surprise inspections — along with state police and state health and professional regulation officials — after complaints that residents in some homes around the state were being victimized by fellow residents.
“They’re our parents and our grandparents . . . One day they could be one of us,” Madigan said.
The East St. Louis nursing home has come under scrutiny in the past for health-and-safety issues. Madigan said her impression during the 10 a.m. inspection was that “they seem to be much better than they had been in the past.”
When asked whether she would put one of her own parents in that home, Madigan (daughter of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan) quipped, “It would be geographically inconvenient.”