Blessing Hospital, McDonough District Hospital among 23 hospitals with compliance violations of sexual assault act

Screenshot

A view of an Illinois Department of Public Health document reviewing a violation of the Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act by Blessing Hospital in 2022.

QUINCY — Blessing Hospital in Quincy and McDonough District Hospital in Macomb were named in an April story by APM Reports as being among 23 hospitals that had violated Illinois’ Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act.

The Illinois Department of Public Health inspects hospitals throughout the state for compliance with the act. The agency found 23 hospitals had violated the act in some way since 2018.

Documents from the Department of Public Health, provided by APM Reports, showed a patient with a complaint of sexual assault came to Blessing’s emergency department in the early morning hours of Aug. 31, 2022. However, the evidence collection kit was completed seven hours after the medical screening exam was completed because of the lack of sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) available in the emergency department that day.

During an interview on Nov. 9, 2022, with the Department of Public Health, the emergency department director said an attempt to call each of the five certified SANE nurses on staff but couldn’t contact one of them. Now Blessing has a contract with Frontline Forensics of Orland Park, which will provide a SANE nurse within 90 minutes if one is not available.

“This situation was a complete outlier,” the director said in the interview.

Blessing Hospital officials provided a comment to Muddy River News in response to the publication of the story and the incident cited by the Department of Public Health.

“The incident cited occurred in 2022,” the statement read. “It involved a situation in which services were provided to the survivor but not within the timeframe the law outlines.  As a result, Blessing enhanced its processes for delivering services to sexual assault survivors to reduce the risk of a similar situation happening again. So far, it has not.”

The IDPH conducted inspections at McDonough District Hospital on April 4, 2018, and Jan. 13, 2023. The APM Report said 12 violations were found in 2018, and five were found in 2023.

Documents from the Department of Public Health, provided by APM Reports, showed:

  • Some patients had not been given written information concerning “accepted medical procedures, medication and possible contraindications of such medication available for the prevention or treatment of infection or disease resulting from sexual assault.” 
  • The hospital failed to ensure sexual assault survivors were referred for appropriate counseling.
  • Some patients were not given the “After Sexual Assault” brochure and the “Recover/Rebuild: Crime Victims Assistance” pamphlet.
  • The hospital failed to ensure sexual assault survivors were assessed for and given information on drug-facilitated sexual assault testing.
  • The hospital failed to ensure sexual assault survivors’ medical history included a detailed gynecological history.
  • A patient’s medical record lacked documentation as to who was present during the examination process.
  • The hospital failed to offer to call a friend or family member and a rape crisis advocate to accompany the survivor.
  • The hospital failed to ensure police were notified per Section 3.2 of the Criminal Identification Act.
  • The hospital failed to issue a voucher to all sexual assault survivors who are eligible to receive one, nor did it make a copy of the voucher and place it in the medical record of the sexual assault survivor.
  • The hospital failed to secure a patient’s written informed consent for refusal of an examination and treatment.
  • The hospital failed to ensure a bill and request for payment of services rendered was not issued to the patient.

McDonough District Hospital officials provided a comment to Muddy River News in response to the publication of the story and the incidents cited by the Department of Public Health.

“There were two reports by the Illinois Department of Public Health, one in 2018 and another in 2023,” the statement read. “Following the two visits and review of documentation, action plans were created and implemented by McDonough District Hospital, then sent to the state for approval. 

“We are in compliance with the Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act (SASETA) and the IDPH. Caring for our patients is a top priority, and patient care was not affected at any time. These action plans MDH sent to the state would not hinder any potential investigation by law enforcement officials. Site surveys are educational opportunities for learning. We are given a chance if needed to create an action plan and make improvements.”

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