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UPDATE: IDPH lifts tags from state-run developmental center in Dixon

IDHS logo
Capitol News file photo/Jerry Nowicki

Editor’s Note: Illinois Department of Human Services officials announced Wednesday, Oct. 11, that the Illinois Department of Public Health performed an on-site visit at Mabley Developmental Center and cleared it of its pending immediate jeopardy tags. This story has been updated to reflect the most recent developments.  

A state-operated residential facility that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will not lose Medicare funding despite receiving recent citations from state surveyors for failing to protect its residents from harm.

Mabley Developmental Center in Dixon had two pending “immediate jeopardy” citations from the Illinois Department of Public Health earlier this month in connection with resident physical abuse and failure to properly address the spread of a bacterial infection at the facility.

An immediate jeopardy tag is applied to a facility under federal rules when surveyors determine that a situation requires “immediate corrective action” to prevent the severe injury or death of an individual.

An immediate jeopardy tag can result in the loss of Medicare funding for the facility. State-operated developmental centers, like Mabley, receive approximately 50 percent of their funding from Medicare. Mabley was scheduled to lose federal funding on Wednesday, Oct. 4, unless the Illinois Department of Human Services, which runs Mabley, filed a remediation plan.

IDHS Director of Developmental Disabilities Tonya Piephoff said in an interview on Friday, Sept. 29, the corrective action plan had been submitted. Immediate jeopardy citations are purged after a reinspection from the IDPH to ensure the mitigations outlined in it are underway.

“While IDHS cannot discuss details while the corrective plans await final approval, we can share that immediate steps have been taken,” an IDHS spokesperson said in a statement while the reinspection was still pending. “Those actions include, but are not limited to, implementation of increased infection control measures and training, and increased rounds and observation to ensure effective implementation.”

IDHS officials confirmed on Wednesday, Oct. 11, that the reinspection, which was conducted on a surprise basis, led to the immediate jeopardy tags being officially cleared.

The facility received the immediate jeopardy tag after IDPH found Mabley staff did not respond effectively to a Shigella bacteria outbreak. It also received a citation in relation to the abuse of a non-verbal patient found in their bed with bruises to their groin and pelvic area, as if “they had been kicked in the groin repeatedly.”

The facility previously was tagged on June 8 involving a peer-to-peer sexual assault. That tag was removed in late June. On July 11, the IDPH surveyor verified the initiation of the remediation plan.

The Mabley Developmental Center was named for Chicago Tribune columnist Jack Mabley, who created the Forgotten Children’s Foundation, a charity that helped support the center.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of print and broadcast outlets statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.

Beth Hundsdorfer joined the Capitol News Illinois team as a full-time reporter in November 2021.