Durbin, Duckworth Statement On new Legionnaires' Disease Cases Confirmed At illinois Veterans' Home Quincy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today released the following statement after two new cases of Legionnaires’ disease were confirmed at the Illinois Veterans’ Home (IVH) Quincy:

“Last month, the Governor stated that his goal was ‘zero instances of Legionella infection’ at IVH Quincy.  However in the month that has passed, we have seen nothing from the Governor’s office – no final plan of action, no formal funding request, just more publicity stunts and promises of a task force review of proposals that should have begun years ago. Despite his goal, we’ve now seen two new cases of Legionnaire’s in the same buildings as previous outbreaks.  This is outrageous.  Illinois families have entrusted the well-being of their loved ones—who have served and sacrificed so much for our country—to the State, but the Governor keeps letting them down.  Gov. Rauner can’t waste another minute of time before he takes real action on this crisis.”

In January, Durbin visited IVH Quincy to meet with leadership and tour the facility.  He called for improved transparency from Governor Rauner and his Administration in disclosing all new cases of Legionnaires’ disease and has urged the state to comply with all recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent future outbreaks.  In his press conference following the visit, Durbin suggested that Gov. Rauner immediately consider renovations in the Elmore building, which has had a high prevalence of cases of legionellosis since 2015, and was found last month by the CDC to have a strain of the bacteria that was the same type associated with the 2015 epidemic.    Also last month, Durbin and Duckworth pressed Gov. Rauner for a copy of his Administration’s targeted, specific plan of action for IVH Quincy. 

Since the first Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in 2015, Durbin has been in contact with state and federal agencies to make certain that IVH Quincy is taking the proper steps to provide a high quality of care to our veterans and their families, and to prevent any future outbreaks.  Durbin and Duckworth have called for a review of the state’s response and have worked to ensure that the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Illinois Department of Public Health continue to receive federal assistance from the CDC and VA. 

At the request of Senators Durbin and Duckworth in early December, the U.S. Government Accountability Office is conducting a review of Department of Veterans’ Affairs oversight of nursing home care across the country, including state veterans’ homes such as Quincy.