LAGRANGE – June 19, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law to allow health care workers authorized to practice in other states to work at free medical clinics in Illinois. The new law will improve access to health care for low-income families by increasing the number of licensed workers allowed to work at Illinois’ free medical clinics.
“I am happy to sign this new law that will make it easier for Illinois families to receive much-needed medical care,” said Governor Quinn. “As long as the health care worker is licensed and in good standing in another state, we welcome them to Illinois to help working families in need of health care.”
House Bill 5744 ensures that health care professionals who work at free medical clinics in Illinois will be allowed to practice as long as they are licensed and in good standing elsewhere in the United States. The new law requires workers to provide the clinic with a copy of their out-of-state license, and ensures that they do not provide services beyond those their license allows. Additionally, the free medical clinic must meet the standards set in Illinois’ Good Samaritan Act.
Studies done by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity found that the number of potential caregivers in Illinois - including nurses - is projected to decrease 4.2 percent between 2000 and 2020; while the number of those who need care is projected to increase by 31 percent. The studies show that Illinois could be facing a shortage of over 21,000 nurses by 2020.
Additionally, according to the Center for Workforce Studies of the Association of American Medical Colleges, retirements in the health care field over the next 10 to 15 years will greatly weaken the health care workforce. House Bill 5744 will clarify who can work at free medical clinics and help to increase the number of health care workers available to staff those clinics.
The new law passed the Illinois General Assembly unanimously and was sponsored by Rep. Angelo Saviano (R-Elmwood Park) and Sen. Randy Hultgren (R-Wheaton). It takes effect immediately.