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Health Care Council Pushes for Nursing Home Bill of Rights

BLOOMINGTON - On Friday, a demonstration eying the past was launched at Heritage Health. Their goal? To ensure that company bottom lines don't trump patient care.
BLOOMINGTON - On Friday, a demonstration eying the past was launched at Heritage Health. Their goal? To ensure that company bottom lines don't trump patient care.

As residents of the nursing home walked inside their therapy room, patriotic music played in the background.

The Health Care Council of Illinois has been making this journey across the state for the last ten days, visiting five cities to rally support for this Nursing Home Bill of Rights.

"The more the number is, it will let the people like Gov. Quinn know that there's something that needs to be done for the people,” said Peggy Corbin, a resident at Heritage.

As they put their John Hancocks on this Bill of Rights, these residents are sending a message to Springfield.

"To let them realize that we are important also in the nursing homes, as well as the other public that's being served by them,” said Corbin.

Since Medicaid funding has been cut in many states, HCCI leaders are working to ensure that nursing home residents won’t lose their choices.
"Even more important than retaining their physician is for their physician to be able to have the final word and authority in determining the care they will receive, the medication they will receive,” said Alan Gaffner, senior advisor for the Health Care Council of Illinois.

Gaffner says that must be done before the session ends, when laws could kick in that health care providers could choose instead. And as each signature gets sent downstate, it's a message they hope is heard loud and clear.

Another goal of the bill of rights: a 24 hour hotline for nursing homes. The HCCI’s last stop will be in Chicago on Sunday.

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