FIFTY-SEVEN YEARS AGO
IN IDPH HISTORY
The Nursing Home Care Act was approved on July 17, 1945. It charged the
Illinois Department of Public Health with formulating and enforcing rules and
regulations pertaining to the operation of these facilities as well as minimum
standards for location, construction, personnel, sanitation and diet.
Illinois law defines a nursing home as any facility, whether operated for
profit or not, that houses three or more persons needing nursing care because
of physical infirmity.
Initially, IDPH assigned responsibility for administering the act to its
Division of Sanitary Engineering. Within two years, nursing expertise was
added, standards and regulations were established and approximately 200 homes
were licensed. Department field staff or the staff of local health departments
conducted inspections. The state fire marshals office conducted fire
safety surveys for the Department.
Today, Illinois has approximately 1,350 long-term care facilities serving
more than 100,000 residents, from the young to the elderly. IDPH is still
responsible for ensuring nursing homes fully comply with mandatory state
regulations. In addition, under a cooperative agreement with the federal
Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services, the Department also is responsible for
ensuring that facilities accepting Medicare and Medicaid payment for services
rendered to these programs beneficiaries meet federal regulations and
Each year, the Department conducts approximately 10,000 annual licensure
inspections, complaint investigations and re-inspections. These inspections,
called surveys, are conducted to evaluate the fitness and adequacy of the
nursing home and its equipment, staff, policies, procedures and finances.
The Department, which has approximately 200 surveyors, employs a team
concept in inspecting nursing homes. Teams consist of a registered professional
nurse, a nutritionist and an environmental health practitioner. During some
inspections, a team may be joined by other professionals, such as life safety
code experts. Complaint investigations are conducted by surveyors with
expertise in the area involved in the allegation (s).
Nursing homes are inspected at least once every six to 15 months, with a
state average of once every 12 months. All nursing home inspections are
conducted without notice to the facility, and survey schedules are changed
annually to make it difficult for facilities to anticipate when inspections
will be conducted.
A Timeline of the
Illinois Department of Public Health
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments