October 04, 2018

Duckworth, Durbin Statement on Investigation into Rauner Administration's Response to Legionnaires' Outbreaks at IVH Quincy


[WASHINGTON, D.C] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that her office has opened a criminal probe into the Rauner Administration’s response to the multiple Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at Illinois Veterans’ Home (IVH) Quincy since 2015:

It appears that the Governor and his administration deliberately postponed announcing an outbreak of deadly Legionnaires’ disease at IVH Quincy for days and weeks while Veterans died or became severely ill at the facility.  The documents revealed by WBEZ make clear that the Rauner administration treated this as a public relations crisis when they should’ve treated it like the public health emergency it was.  It’s simply inexcusable, and we support Attorney General Madigan’s investigation into the administration’s handling of this crisis that left 14 people dead and many more sick.  Full transparency and accountability is the least the families of those who lost loved ones deserve.

Since 2015, Illinois state officials have been unable to contain an ongoing Legionnaires’ disease crisis at the 132-year-old IVH facility in Quincy, which has already claimed the lives of more than a dozen Illinoisans who served our nation in uniform and their spouses.

Duckworth and Durbin have worked together to hold the Rauner Administration accountable for its response to the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at IVH Quincy.  In letters to Gov. Rauner in January and March, Durbin and Duckworth repeatedly pressed for a detailed plan of action for ensuring the safety of residents, family, and staff at IVH Quincy.  They also successfully secured additional federal funding in the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus that was passed this year, which could be used for funding construction projects at state-run veteran health facilities like IVH Quincy.  Recently, Durbin and Duckworth invited the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to IVH Quincy for an inspection and review on how to better prevent outbreaks in the future.