041024CM0681 rSPRINGFIELD – In an effort to increase patient safety at state run mental health or developmental disability facilities, State Senator Laura Fine passed Senate Bill 857. This legislation increases the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) ability to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect.

“Since 2022, I have visited state-operated mental health and developmental disability facilities across the state to receive feedback and ideas on how we can protect our state's most vulnerable residents,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “This measure continues that effort by giving the OIG additional tools needed to effectively prevent and deter abuse and neglect.”

Under current law, the Illinois Department of Human Services OIG is required to conduct annual unannounced site visits to all 14 state-operated facilities related to preventing, reporting, investigating and responding to abuse and neglect. Senate Bill 857 expands this preventative measure to give the OIG the ability to conduct targeted site visits to all community agencies in the state, which includes Community Living Arrangements (CILA) and Community Mental Health Centers. 

This bill also enhances patient safety by preventing employees from covering up instances of abuse and neglect. If an employee knows another employee is obstructing an investigation into a complaint, that employee would now be required to report that to the OIG.

“Unannounced site visits to community facilities and enhanced employee accountability will allow the OIG to implement preventative measures to underlying issues that have occurred in the past,” said Fine. “By implementing these changes, we can deter repeated patterns of abuse and remove the source of these issues as they occur.”

Senate Bill 857 passed the Senate on Wednesday and now heads the House for further consideration.