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IL license defense lawyerBecause of their important role in providing for the care and health of their patients, Illinois nursing homes are subject to oversight from both the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure they are in compliance with regulations. With the additional risks that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for nursing home residents, additional guidelines have been put in place to promote their safety. Now more than ever, it is important for nursing homes to take the necessary measures to avoid violations that could impact their licensure.

Guidelines for Illinois Nursing Homes During COVID-19

Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, CMS has issued guidelines for the safe operation of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities throughout the United States. For example, nursing homes must:

  • Require staff to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves, gowns, and visors
  • Regularly screen residents, staff, and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19
  • Use proper hand hygiene
  • Follow a plan for testing and monitoring residents and staff for COVID-19
  • Restrict visitation, communal dining, and group activities

CMS has also instituted a system for removing some restrictions in phases for nursing homes that are able to control the spread of COVID-19.

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IL defense lawyerThe global pandemic COVID-19 has hit the U.S. especially hard, with over 199,000 confirmed cases in Illinois alone. From the beginning, this virus has led to overfilled hospital beds and overworked medical professionals. With no vaccination in sight and a high demand for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, the U.S. has been forced to reevaluate their licensing procedures and state-by-state restrictions. It is common for states to adopt emergency licensing processes in response to natural disasters and their aftermath. Many states have followed this trend by enacting emergency-response licensure laws to allow volunteers from other states to practice their profession without being required to seek out licensure in that specific state.

Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioner Act

The Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioner Act (UEVHPA) is legislation that was initially developed in 2006 and is being modeled by many states during the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation allows any participating state, Illinois included, to recognize out-of-state medical licenses during a declared state emergency. All practitioners who wish to participate in this reciprocal-licensing program must register to do so.

Illinois-Specific Legislation

Aside from the UEVHPA, which has been adopted by most states during this time, Illinois has enacted a few regulations of its own. Under Gov. Pritzker’s direction, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is allowing healthcare workers whose licenses have recently expired to temporarily restore their licenses to assist with COVID-19 patients. Physician assistants and doctors who have expired or inactive licenses from less than three years ago are able to return to work without paying any required licensing fees or making further progress on their education requirements. Additional leeway has been given to nurses and respiratory therapists, giving them a five-year pass rather than the three-year allotment given to doctors and physician assistants.

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