The nursing home industry is fighting legislation that would require them to have higher staffing levels — and greater penalties if they don’t meet them.

Illinois’ long-term care ombudsman tracks complaints and looks out for residents of nursing homes.

But the ombudsman has her own complaint. She says state agencies that regulate nursing homes are ignoring her.

New legislation would deal with two problems she keeps hearing about: low staffing levels … and discharging residents to hospitals. That second practice, known as “dumping,” also blocks patients from coming back.

Matt Hartman represents the nursing home industry. He says anecdotal complaints from the ombudsman’s office are not reliable data.

“You need to go where these discharges are handled and who oversees them, and that’s the Department of Public Health.”

Complaints of dumping go to Illinois’ long-term care ombudsman, Jamie Freschi. But only the Department of Public Health has the authority to penalize nursing homes. Freschi says too few facilities are cited for violations.

A spokesperson for DPH says the agency takes all complaints seriously.

Originally posted on NPR Illinois website