A little over a month ago, we discussed a legislative attempt by State Representative Stephanie Kifowit from Oswego in regards to a proposed bill which would, “mandate prompt notification in the event of a future outbreak of an infectious disease” at every Illinois state Veterans home. It now appears as though there has been some traction on this proposed bill.
As a review, the bill would require the notification within a day of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak within any Illinois veterans’ homes. The more recent news, then, is that the bill was approved by the Illinois State House’s veterans’ affairs committee yesterday. Sponsored by Rep. Sue Scherer, House Bill 4310 requires facilities to inform residents, staff, and families within 24 hours using either email or a printed letter.
According to Rep. Sue Scherer, the legislation was filed in reaction to the cases arising from the veterans’ home in Quincy, Illinois, where 13 residents have died from Legionnaires’ disease since 2015. While no Legionnaires’ disease cases have involved visitors to the facility, Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie has suggested that visitors in fact should be among those notified if there is an outbreak. Rep. Randy Frese offered another suggestion by recommending the notifications be extended to non-family who have been given power of attorney over any particular resident.
The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs legislative liaison Eric Murphy says that while the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs supports the idea behind the proposed legislation, it had concerns about the exact definition of an outbreak. In addition, the committee decided that the bill should specify that a notification should be sent out once a lab confirms a case within the facility.
Rep. Sue Scherer has also suggested that by next year, she’d like to expand this current version of the bill so that it would include other public buildings as well such as government offices, hospitals, and even the state Capitol complex.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.