AURORA, Ill. – State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, participated in a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee on Thursday as part of the legislature’s investigation into the deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak, which resulted in the deaths of 13 veterans and infected over 50 individuals working or residing at the state-run Quincy home.

“Despite today’s hearing, there are still many unanswered questions as to how and why over a dozen of our veterans died and what policies and protocols have been changed to ensure better care considering the admission by the administration that the home lacked written standard operating and water flushing protocols.” Kifowit said. “It is unacceptable that those under the state’s care in the Quincy home and their families were not immediately notified as soon as the outbreak was discovered, six days before the public, so that they could make the best decisions for their loved ones.”

A recent investigative report by WBEZ found that three separate outbreaks occurred at the Quincy Illinois Veterans’ Home between July of 2015 and the fall of 2017, with over 13 veterans dying and another 61 infections. Although the location received more than $6 million from taxpayers to update the home’s water supply and safety standards, the home continued to face outbreaks.

Immediately following the testimony, Kifowit introduced legislation to mandate prompt notification to residents, their families, and the relevant agencies in the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease in a Veterans’ Home.

“As a former Marine, I have seen and experienced first-hand the sacrifices the men and women of our military make for our country,” said Kifowit. “Policies and protocol must be updated to ensure that not one more veteran is lost on our watch.  I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues to ensure proper response in the future.”

Rep Stephanie KifowitRep Stephanie Kifowit

84th District

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