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New Illinois Laws in 2014 that Impact Medicine

On January 1, more than 200 news laws took effect in our Prairie State. Following are highlights of the new Illinois laws of importance to physicians. These laws pertain to home health care services ordered by out-of-state physicians, reporting requirements for the concealed carry law, medical marijuana and much more.

Also, access the 2013 End-of-Session Legislative Report, demonstrating the advocacy of the ISMS Legislative Team on behalf of all Illinois physicians.

Home health care services by out-of-state physicians

An initiative of ISMS, this new legislation allows home health care services to be ordered by an out-of-state physician, a provision that wasn't included in current law. This new measure also provides a reasonable time frame (90 days) for the patient to find an Illinois physician to order home health services.

Patients who need home health services for two or more medical conditions requiring intensive management by two or more physicians now have 180 days to find physicians within the state. Read ISMS' position paper on this legislation (H.B. 2760).

Reporting requirements for concealed carry law

Under a new law allowing qualified individuals to carry concealed weapons, physicians and others must report patients who they determine in their professional opinion present a "clear and present danger" to themselves or others OR are "developmentally disabled" or "intellectually disabled." Read reporting specifics provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services. Also, access ISMS' related medical legal guideline

Legalization of medical marijuana

Illinois residents will be allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes sometime this year.

Under the new law, a physician must have a "physician-patient" relationship with the patient and must determine that the patient has one of the serious or chronic conditions that may be helped by the use of marijuana. A physician may at his or her discretion certify the patient to obtain a marijuana purchase card from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Administrative rules are still under development, and medical marijuana dispensing won't begin for at least several months. Access the ISMS medical legal guideline, Medical Marijuana

Changes to the Nurse Practice Act

Several changes were made to the Nurse Practice Act. Specifically, the changes clarify that a written collaborative agreement outside of an employment arrangement may not restrict APNs from contracting with Medicaid, Medicare or other health plans, nor limit geographic practice locations. It further clarifies that the agreement may include services the collaborating physician may provide, but chooses not to. And finally, the amendment provides that, notwithstanding the collaborative agreement, an APN may provide primary health care services such as health screenings, histories and physicals, women's health exams and school physicals as part of their routine practice or on a volunteer basis.

Significant changes to parking program for persons with disabilities

A new law with significant changes to the Persons with Disabilities Parking Program took effect January 1.

Meter-exempt parking became limited to those individuals who are physically unable to pay the meter. Patients with a permanent disability who qualify under the new criteria will receive a parking placard that will allow them to park free of charge. Any patient who does not meet the new criteria will still receive a parking placard; however, it will not allow them to park for free.

Stiffer penalties now exist for physicians who falsify information on the application for parking placards and license plates. These more severe penalties include suspension of driving privileges and fines up to $2,500 for the applicant and physician.

Standards for public school sex education

This ISMS-backed legislation creates a standard for existing and future sexual health education courses, ensuring that only medically accurate and age-appropriate information is taught as part of public school sex education curricula (applicable to grades six through 12). This would include information on reducing unintended pregnancies and STDs/STIs, and would stress abstinence.

EpiPens for school children with serious allergies

A new federal law will financially reward states where schools stock up on injectable epinephrine (EpiPens), so to be prepared in the event a child suffers a severe allergic reaction. Illinois students who have severe food allergies will benefit from this law.

Tanning facilities

Tanning facilities may not permit anyone who is under 18 years of age to use tanning equipment, regardless of whether the person has permission of a parent or guardian.

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