The Illinois House lawmakers are considering a requirement that veterans’ home officials promptly inform families about Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. The proposal is the latest in a string of measures responding to the state’s handling of an outbreak at the Illinois Veterans’ Home in Quincy.
Sue Scherer (D) of Decatur joined a chorus of lawmakers who have condemned the Rauner administration's handling of that outbreak, which left 13 veterans dead and sickened nearly 60 others over the past three years.
She says says concerns about her own nursing home-bound mother echo the concerns of those families in Quincy.
“So I can really relate to this, because I’m worried about my mom, I’m worried about myself, my kids, my grandkids when they go visit,” Scherer said.
Scherer’s legislation would require veteran home officials to notify residents, family members, and staff of a Legionnaires’ outbreak within 24 hours.
Another measure calls for notification of other outbreaks, like the flu.
According to internal emails obtained by WBEZ, Illinois public health officials had initially waited nearly a week to let the public know of the first outbreak in 2015.