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Quinn “disturbed” and “saddened” by DHS scandal, pledges to take charge

Saturday, Jun 30, 2012

* Gov. Pat Quinn was asked today about the disgusting scandal at the Department of Human Services. As I’ve told you before, the Belleville News Democrat discovered that the DHS Inspector General refuses to investigate suspicious deaths of people in home care because dead people no longer qualify for government services.

Quinn said he was “disturbed” and “saddened” by the reports. The governor promised to “take charge” of the situation.

“We’re visiting with the department and its folks who work there to review their work and improve upon it,” Quinn said. “Work needs to be done.”

“I think whatever is necessary to get to the truth is what ought to be done. And I think that ought to be the policy of every inspector general in every part of state government,” the governor said.

Raw audio of the governor’s remarks…

* DHS already appeared to be backing away from its indefensible stance as of late yesterday. From the Belleville News Democrat

The Illinois Department of Human Services is “reviewing and re-evaluating the role” of its Office of the Inspector General following a Belleville News-Democrat report that the agency failed to investigate after 53 disabled adults died amid allegations of neglect and abuse.

“These are serious issues of concern. The department is currently reviewing and re-evaluating the OIG’s role, authority and practices under the program, both under current law and in coordination with law enforcement and other investigatory agencies,” Januari Smith Trader, a Department of Human Services spokeswoman, said in a statement released Friday.

The newspaper reported that, since May 2003, at least 53 adults were the subjects of statewide hotline allegations of severe neglect and abuse, were hospitalized on an emergency basis, and died, usually within a few days or weeks. But none of those deaths were investigated by the OIG, which is charged under a 2000 Illinois law with preventing the abuse of disabled adults ages 18-59 who live outside state facilities.

The reason stated for not investigating, according to OIG documents, is that once people die, they are “ineligible for services.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


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