By Glenn Minnis
(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed off on a law (H.B. 559) that allows health care workers with temporary out-of-state licenses to continue practicing their craft in Illinois.
The new law, which covers physicians, surgeons, nurses, and social workers, comes at a time when hospitals across the state are facing staffing and recruiting hardships.
“If we were to say we can only use those that are in the state of Illinois, that would unintentionally drive up the cost of labor, because it would be harder for us to fill positions and the harder it is to fill a contract need,” Kimberly Blakey, vice president of Clinical Business Strategic Operations at OSF Healthcare in Peoria, toldNewsChannel20.com.
Of the 250 nurses now on staff at OSF, officials said many of them come from out of state.
“It’s one of the longest states in order to get Illinois licensure in general, whether you’re an agency nurse or whether you’re one being employed at a local hospital, and so all of these measures really help us be able to meet the needs of our patients,” Blakey added.
Prior to Pritzker moving to take action, temporary out-of-state licenses were set to expire on May 11, the same day that COVID-19 emergency-related declarations came to an end.
“This will prevent gaps in care and ensure Illinoisans continue to have access to necessary medical support, an essential step in our transition out of the public health emergency,” he said in a statement.
Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton said she supports the measure at a critical time in the state’s push to rebound from the pandemic fully.
“We really do need people,” she added. “We need people that actually stay here and work here and alleviate some of the problems that we’re having with shortages like this.”
Glenn Minnis is a contributor to The Center Square. A version of this article appeared on May 8, 2023, on The CenterSqaure.com. Reprinted with permission.
For related articles, click here.