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State

State monitors prescribing in nursing homes

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Illinois officials say they've launched a program to help prevent the dangerous and inappropriate use of prescription drugs to subdue nursing home patients.

Two state agencies — the Department of Human Services and the Department of Public Health — announced the program Thursday calling it "an unprecedented opportunity to change the drug prescribing culture in nursing homes."

The agencies are collecting data from nursing home pharmacies weekly. The system tracks medications by patient, facility and region. That allows the state to see which facilities vary from accepted medical standards in their prescribing practices. The resulting reports will help the nursing home industry stop using drugs as chemical restraints.

Department of Human Services Secretary Michelle Saddler says it's important to monitor how prescription drugs are used with vulnerable nursing home residents.

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