Quinn ‘disturbed’ by reports of state agency’s indifference of abused
BY MAUREEN O’DONNELL Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org June 30, 2012 5:14PM
Updated: August 2, 2012 10:45AM
Gov. Pat Quinn said he is “disturbed” and plans to investigate a state agency responsible for protecting some of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens after news reports alleged a failure to probe charges of abuse and neglect.
Searing stories published in the Belleville News-Democrat describe dozens of cases where disabled, homebound adults were let down by the Inspector General’s office of the Illinois Department of Human Services.
The newspaper found 53 cases since 2003 where severe neglect or abuse had been reported to the Office of the Inspector General. Yet when the victims died soon after a report, investigations were closed because the dead are “ineligible for services,” according to OIG documents, the newspaper said.
The victims suffered malnutrition, bedsores and other injuries, the Belleville News-Democrat said. One 2011 case involved Kevin Kage, the 1986 Illinois muscular dystrophy poster child. He died in an ICU unit after authorities responding to a 911 call found him covered with bedsores.
“I was disturbed to read those, and we’re visiting with the department, and its folks who work there, to review their work and improve upon it. Work needs to be done,” Quinn said Saturday after a Chicago news conference on the state budget.
As for the investigations being closed upon the deaths, the governor said: “I was disappointed to read that, and I don’t think that’s the right way to go, so we’re going to take charge on that. And I’m saddened to read that and it’s important that we do something about it.”
Asked if he would re-open some of the shelved probes, he said: “I think whatever’s necessary to get to the truth is what ought to be done, and I think that should be the policy of every Inspector General in every part of state government.”
When questioned if any departmental heads would roll, a Quinn aide would only say: “We’re going to do a thorough review of the entire process, top to bottom. We’re going to make sure we do whatever is necessary to make certain we improve upon the process.”
The news report also alleged that hundreds of calls for help were rejected by operators at a state hotline.