Legislation passed to assist veterans

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Bipartisan legislation championed by State representative Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, a Marine veteran, was signed into law recently to help correct the mismanagement that led to the deaths of 13 veterans in the Quincy Veterans Home.
“It was clear during our legislative hearings that residents and staff were not properly notified of the deadly Legionella disease that spread through the veterans home in Quincy killing 13 individuals and sickening over 60 more,” said Kifowit. “Veterans and their families ought to know the State is focused on providing the best possible care, which includes giving proper notice of the status of our veterans’ health and safety.
“The veterans who live in veterans homes and their families should know immediately when an outbreak of any threat is under way.”
Kifowit’s legislation, House Bill 4278, requires Illinois veterans homes to notify residents and their emergency contacts or next of kin within 24 hours of learning of an infectious disease outbreak. An outbreak is defined as when two or more residents are diagnosed with an infectious disease within a month. The Quincy Veterans Home notified only staff members, not residents or their family members, of 46 confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s disease in 2015.
“This notification requirement law will force better communication and increase transparency for our veterans and their families by the Veterans Administration because no one should be left in the dark about their loved ones,” Kifowit said. “Families with more information will make better health decisions for their family members.”
—Office of Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego

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