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New Guidelines for Nursing Homes

This week, Governor JB Pritzker issued a new executive order protecting nursing homes that are complying with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidance.

Executive Order 2020-37 says that these facilities shall be immune from civil liability for injury or death related to COVID-19 if the facility was providing care services consistent with guidance from IDPH.

These protections do not apply to injury or death caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct. You can read the full text of the executive order here.

Ann Spillane, the governor's chief legal counsel, emphasized to the Daily Line that these protections are important for facilities that were not originally designed or equipped to handle outbreaks the size of a pandemic. “We’re asking them to go outside their normal comfort zone,’” Spillane said to The Daily Line. Spillane added that, in April, there was a real danger of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities not accepting Covid-19-positive patients out of fear of liability, a situation that may have overwhelmed nearby hospitals.

Current nursing home guidance from IDPH includes provisions for residents, including regular screening for COVID-19 like symptoms, and workers. The full guidance from IDPH can be found here.

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