Pritzker signs bill on healthcare staffing as pandemic-era emergency rules expire
With COVID-19 Public Health Emergency proclamations set to lapse on May 11, state Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield, passed a bill Wednesday providing stability to Illinois healthcare professionals and access to healthcare services amid expiring pandemic emergency measures.
“Healthcare workers went above and beyond—both in professionalism and selfless courage—to confront the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic which has upended our society for the last three years,” Morgan said. “As emergency measures will soon expire, this bill codifies some of the best reforms to our healthcare delivery in hospitals, healthcare facilities and pharmacies, and reinforces our over-stretched healthcare workforce with temporary healthcare professionals. Emergency declarations may be expiring, but COVID-19 isn’t gone and our state’s healthcare shortages would have worsened had we failed to act.”
Morgan’s House Bill 559 provides healthcare workers who have been practicing under temporary, emergency licenses during the pandemic with the opportunity to obtain full licensure, and to continue practicing while that licensure process is ongoing. The law also permits continued pharmacy access to flu and COVID-19 testing and vaccination, and therapeutic treatment for COVID-19.
The bill passed both the House and Senate without opposition, and was signed into law today by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The new law takes effect immediately. Supporters of the bill included the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Illinois Pharmacy Association, the Illinois State Medical Society, the National Association of Social Workers and the Health Care Council of Illinois.
“Not only have many temporary public health measures benefited Illinois’ healthcare delivery system—allowing them to expire would risk severe disruption to our healthcare workforce and healthcare as we know it,” Morgan said. “That’s why we must recognize the heroic labors and sacrifices of these dedicated frontline healthcare workers as they continue to care for the most medically vulnerable residents of our state.”
For a round-up of other bills that the NASW-Illinois Chapter is pushing for during the current spring 2023 legislative session as well as other advocacy-related news, click one of the links below:
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with over 120,000 members. The NASW-Illinois Chapter is one of the association's largest chapters representing over 20,000 licensed Illinois social workers and school social workers, with over 5,000 active members. NASW strives to advance social work careers, grow social work businesses, and protect the profession.