Bill would allow IDFPR to automatically renew health care licenses

Relief could be on the way for health care workers
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:34 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Relief could be on the way for health care workers across Illinois, which could save their jobs. Last week, state lawmakers passed legislation streamlining the license renewal process for health care workers before the end of the 2023 veto session.

It comes as the the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is facing a crisis. License renewals, particularly in health care fields, are taking as long as six to eight months.

“We are getting daily calls from people whose job offers are about to be revoked. People who want to practice in nursing, for instance, who can’t go to work the next day because their license has lapsed and they applied six months ago. This is not something that’s any professional’s fault. This is really something the state has to fix,” said Rep. Bob Morgan, D-Deerfield.

Morgan, who chairs the House Health Care Licenses Committee, sponsored the legislation.

“We can control this. We can fix this. We should’ve fixed this a long time ago and this legislation takes us a long way towards reforming an agency that has long needed it,” he said.

If signed into law by Gov. Pritzker, the bill gives IDFPR the power to streamline renewals for one year. It also requires the agency to take actions to prevent a similar backlog in renewals from happening again.

Morgan said he worked with the governor’s office in drafting the legislation.

“This gives the department, in fact, the mandate, to renew automatically those licenses if the department falls too far behind,” he said.

The bill would also require IDFPR to invest in a new IT system in the next six months to prevent future backlogs.

It passed both the state House and Senate unanimously.

“I think, again, a great example of what can happen when everyone works together,” Morgan said.

Rep. Bill Hauter, R-Morton, said the bill is a step in the right direction but there is still a long way to go.

“We must and will hold IDFPR accountable so that we never go back to the failed system again,” he said.

Morgan said automatic renewals would only apply to renewals. New applicants must pass a more stringent check. People who have previously had their licenses suspended or are under professional review would also be ineligible for automatic renewal.

The legislation would only allow IDFPR to automatically renew licenses in fields with major backlogs. Overall, the agency has more than 120 license categories.

IDPFR officials did not respond to our request for comment on the legislation.

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