New Illinois Laws to Know in 2022

A new year means a host of new laws take effect in Illinois. Here’s a summary of the changes most likely to affect your healthcare practice or business in 2022.

IL Healthcare Laws 2022

State legislators had a busy year. Nearly 300 new laws took effect in Illinois at the start of 2022. Legislation ranges from amendments to the state tax code to the recognition of new professions, and nearly everything in between. 

To stay compliant in 2022, learn about some of the new laws that will most likely affect your healthcare practice or small business.

Tax Relief for Small Businesses 

Many Illinois business owners can expect tax relief in 2022. SB2531 creates a pass-through entity tax election for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2021, and beginning prior to January 1, 2026. Specifically, the law allows a private partnership or S corporation to elect to pay entity tax on its state taxable income at 4.95%. Business owners can then deduct the tax paid by the entity on their individual federal tax returns. 

This allows Illinois business owners to avoid the federal $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes (SALT cap). For partnerships and S corporations, owners can pay an entity-level state tax and then claim a credit, pursuant to the owner’s share of the entity, of that tax paid on their individual federal return. Each owner can claim this credit regardless of if it exceeds the $10,000 SALT limit. 

Many business owners—including numerous healthcare providers—can leverage the new law to reduce the amount of individual income tax they must pay in 2022 and beyond. 

Amendments to Business Corporation Act and LLC Act

The General Assembly amended both the Business Corporation Act and the Limited Liability Company Act. All changes became effective January 1, 2022. 

SB0116 amends the Illinois Business Corporation Act. It authorizes shareholder meetings to be held remotely. However, the corporation may implement reasonable measures to verify each person attending the meeting remotely is a shareholder. The bill will allow corporations to conduct meetings more easily and safely during the pandemic. 

SB1730 requires all public Illinois corporations to report the self-identified sexual orientation and self-identified gender identity of its directors. The purpose of this requirement is to gather more data on the underrepresentation of LGBTQ people in positions of corporate authority.

Finally, SB1795 amends the Limited Liability Company Act. It clarified that statutory fiduciary duties that LLC members owe to other members do not limit fiduciary duties owed at common-law, such as the duties of care and loyalty. It also provides that the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing applies to all LLC operating agreements, just as it does to other contracts. Thus, LLC members must maintain honesty and an observance of fair dealing standards when drafting or entering into operating agreements. 

Non-Compete Clauses

Many employers view including non-competition clauses in their employment contracts to be essential to reducing undue competition and keeping their business thriving. However, many employees view them as overly restrictive, limiting their ability to explore meaningful work opportunities. 

Federally, the Biden Administration is making efforts to limit the legality of non-competition clauses. 

In passing SB0672, the Illinois General Assembly appears to be mirroring these federal efforts. The bill, effective January 1, 2022, limits the enforceability of non-competition clauses by amending the Illinois Freedom to Work Act. It provides that non-competition clauses are invalid unless the employee’s earnings exceed specified levels (75,000 per year on the effective date of the amendatory Act, $80,000 per year beginning on January 1, 2027, $85,000 per year beginning on January 1, 2032, or $90,000 per year beginning on January 1, 2037). Additionally, it outlaws non-competes for any employee terminated because of circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill also:

  • Provides that a covenant not to compete is void and illegal for individuals covered by a collective bargaining agreement under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act or the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act
  • States that a covenant not to solicit shall be invalid unless the employee’s annual earnings exceed $45,000 per year and increases in steps to $52,500 per year in 2037
  • Establishes exclusions for management professional personnel engaged in the construction industry
  • Provides a procedure for enforcement by the Attorney General

Insurance Coverage and Utilization Review 

Limiting Clawbacks

SB1974 amends the Illinois Insurance Code effective January 1, 2022. It limits the ability of insurers to recoup payment made to a healthcare provider. 

Currently, when a healthcare provider submits a claim for payment, the insurer may demand recoupment of that payment for a period of 18 months. These “clawback” provisions allow insurers to, upon further review, recoup payments already made to providers for services rendered. Proponents of SB1974 argue that these expansive clawback policies are abusive towards healthcare providers. 

The bill will shorten the recoupment period from 18 months to a more reasonable one year. 

Prior Authorization Reform

Moreover, effective January 1, 2022, HB0711 makes changes to prior authorization and utilization review. The bill creates the Prior Authorization Reform Act, which, among other obligations: 

  • Requires insurers and utilization review organizations to ensure that, when requested, physicians make all adverse determinations 
  • Provides that insurers must review — and consider removal or — prior authorization requirements when appropriate
  • In provisions concerning the length of prior authorization approval, provides that a prior authorization shall be valid for the lesser of 12 months after the date the health care professional or health care provider receives the prior authorization approval, or the length of treatment as determined by the patient’s health care professional
  • States that health care services will automatically be deemed authorized if a utilization review organization fails to comply with the requirements of HB0711

Coverage for Nevus Flammeus

SB2158 also amends the Insurance Code, providing that an individual or group insurance policy or managed care plan issued after January 1, 2022 must cover nevus flammeus treatment, also known as port-wine stains.

Port-wine stains are permanent birthmarks that are generally described as being “port-wine” in color. They often occur on the face, though can affect all areas of the body. Port-wine stains can result in severe issues such as vision problems and neurological issues, along with secondary cosmetic concerns.

The bill requires that covered treatment for the condition must include early intervention treatment intended to prevent functional impairment. However, the bill does not mandate treatment for solely cosmetic purposes. Supporters are optimistic the bill will provide those suffering from nevus flammeus with vitally important treatment. 

Patient Billing Advocacy 

To address rising medical costs, HB3803 requires hospitals to proactively offer uninsured patients information on charity care options. The law became effective on December 2, 2021. 

Telehealth

HB3308 makes significant changes to the Illinois Insurance Code regarding telehealth. Effective July 22, 2021, the bill makes various amendments, including:

  • Amending the definition of “telehealth services” to include telephone sessions
  • Requiring telehealth coverage parity; that is, insurers must cover telehealth services when those services are clinically appropriate and otherwise covered under the plan
  • Providing that patient telehealth cost-sharing cannot be higher than if the healthcare provider offered the service in person 
  • Requiring that reimbursement for telehealth behavioral health services must be no less than if the provider delivered the services in person
  • Prohibiting insurers from implanting duplicative or unnecessary utilization review standards for telehealth services as compared to the same service if offered in person
  • Clarifying that providers have discretion in choosing technology vendors, so long as they adhere to all state and federal privacy laws. 

Medical Records & Definition of  “Health Care Practitioner”

HB0714 amends Illinois’s Code of Civil Procedure. Specifically, it changes the definition of a “health care practitioner” to also include any registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. As a result of this change, Illinois will require nurses to provide patients with full medical records for the purpose of supporting a claim for benefits under the Social Security Act. The bill’s effective date was January 1, 2022. 

The bill also: 

  • States that health care practitioners must provide one complete copy (rather than multiple copies as previously required) of a patient’s record
  • Prohibits health care practitioners from providing medical records to patient representatives unless those representatives provide documentation of their authority to act for the patient
  • Provides that medical records may be released to a requester authorized by statute is the patient is deceased
  • States that patients may obtain updated medical records not included in the original request free of charge so long as the patients accompanies the request with a valid and signed authorization for release of information

EMS System Transport 

SB0693 amends the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act. It permits EMS personnel to bypass the nearest emergency department when: 

  1. EMS personnel determine the patient has no life-threatening illness or injury;
  2. the patient is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol; 
  3. there is no obvious need to transport the patient to an emergency department; and 
  4. there is an immediate need to transport the patient to a mental health facility. 

In those situations, EMS personnel may request bypass of transport to an emergency department and instead take the patient to an approved mental health facility. Also, EMS personnel may transport a patient to an EMS-approved urgent care or immediate care facility when approved by the Online Medical Control, the EMS Medical Director, or an Emergency Communications Registered Nurse. 

The bill serves both patients and providers: it makes it easier for patients to get the care they need while connecting providers to the patients they can best help. 

The bill also:

  • Amends the definition of “non-emergency medical services” to: “the provision of, and all actions necessary before and after the provision of, Basic Life Support (BLS) Services, Advanced Life Support (ALS) Services, and critical care transport to specified patients using a vehicle regulated by the Act and personnel licensed under the Act. 
  • Requires the Department of Public Health to create standards and requirements with respect to alternative vehicle staffing models for private, nonpublic local government employers.
  • Provides that the Department shall monitor the implementation and performance of alternative staffing models and may issue a notice of termination of an alternative staffing model only upon evidence that an EMS System Program Plan is not being adhered to. 
  • Provides that an EMS System Program Plan for a Basic Life Support transport utilizing an EMR and an EMT shall include specified requirements.

COVID-19 Mandates 


SB1169, which amends the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, provides employers with an enhanced ability to mitigate the risk of COVID outbreaks. Effective June 1, 2022, the bill clarifies that it is not a violation of the law for an employer or public official “to take any measures or impose any requirements … intended to prevent contraction or transmission of COVID-19 or any pathogens that result in COVID-19 or any of its subsequent iterations.” As a result, Illinois workers will no longer be able to cite religious or moral objections to COVID vaccine or testing mandates. 

Originally, the Health Care Right of Conscience Act prohibited employers from discriminating against any person who had a conscious or moral objection against vaccines or other medical intervention. For example, Illinois employers could not fire or reduce an employee’s pay merely because the employee refused a vaccine due to a religious objection.

In recognizing the severity of the COVID-19 Pandemic, SB169 makes an exception to this general rule. The law attempts to maximize the tools—including vaccine and mask mandates—employers and public officials can use to fight the Pandemic. Legislators hope the new law will keep businesses open and move the state closer to an end of the Pandemic.

Executive order 2021-28 requires daycare center staff to receive the COVID vaccine. If a staff member refuses to get the vaccine, they must be tested at least once per week. The Secretary of State filed the order—and it became effective—on October 22, 2021. 

Sexual Harassment Training and Workplace Discrimination 

SB1079 requires licensed Illinois professionals to complete sexual harassment prevention training prior to the renewal of their licenses. The training must be provided by the licensee’s employer, the Department of Human Rights, or any continuing education provider authorized to provide continuing education under the Department of Professional Regulation. 

HB0121 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act. It makes it illegal for any employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee on the basis of that person’s work authorization status. 

The bill defines “work authorization status” to mean, “the status of being a person born outside of the United States, and not a U.S. citizen, who is authorized by the federal government to work in the United States.” Accordingly, to remain compliant, employers should limit their investigations into applicants’ specific work authorization status to determining basic work eligibility. They should also update all employee handbooks, corporate policies, and non-discrimination training materials to expressly state that the organization does not discriminate based on work authorization status. 

Human Trafficking Signage

Some Illinois business owners will be expected to post a human trafficking resource notice at the start of the new year. 

According to HB0588, certain businesses—including emergency rooms within general acute care hospitals and massage therapy establishments—must conspicuously post compliant human trafficking notices at various locations. The goal of these notices is to provide victims of slavery and human trafficking with the knowledge and resources needed to get help. Business owners should review the new law to ensure they fulfill the posting requirements. 

Postpartum Medicaid Coverage 

SB0967 establishes new rights for pregnant women and new mothers. Effective October 8, 2021, the law extends maternal and postpartum Medicaid coverage to all residents of Illinois from just 60 days to one full year after pregnancy. Supporters are optimistic the law will improve health disparities for women and improve maternal health outcomes for women of color. 

Previously, women whose incomes only qualified for Medicaid due to pregnancy lost coverage 60 days postpartum. This resulted in insurance coverage gaps and preventable death and illness for both mothers and babies. Each year, 75 women die of pregnancy-related causes, with black women being three times more likely to die than white women. https://illinoisnewsroom.org/mental-health-a-leading-cause-of-maternal-death-in-illinois-new-report-finds/ SB0967 extends continuous healthcare benefit coverage for one year for women with incomes up to 208% of the federal poverty level. The extension aims to further the state’s goal of reducing health disparities and improving health outcomes for minority communities.

New mothers will now have access to vital services such as depression screenings and nurse home visitation as they secure long-term insurance coverage after giving birth. 

The law also:

  • Expands postpartum providers to include midwives
  • Amends several public health statutes to be inclusive of gender identity 
  • Requires the Department of Human Services to expand and update its maternal child health programs to serve any pregnant or postpartum woman identified as high-risk by the individual’s primary care provider or hospital according to specified standards
  • In provisions regarding obstetric hemorrhage and hypertension training, requires the Department of Public Health to ensure that all birthing facilities have a written policy and conduct continuing education yearly for providers and staff of obstetric medicine and of the emergency department and other staff that may care for pregnant or postpartum women
  • Provides that Medicaid providers may receive Medicaid reimbursement for a postpartum visit that is separate from Medicaid reimbursement for prenatal care and labor and delivery services

Services For Children with Disabilities 

In addition to affecting COVID mandates, SB1169 amends the Children with Disabilities Article of the School Code in provisions concerning transition services. 

The bill provides that a student in high school with an individualized education program (IEP) may enroll in the school district’s career and technical education (CTE) program any time participation in a CTE program is consistent with the student’s transition goals.

CTE is a broad term for education that combines academic and technical skills with the knowledge and training needed to succeed in the labor market. CTE programs help students apply what they are learning in school to the workplace, better preparing them for post-school success. The amendment provides students with IEPs equal access to educational and professional opportunities. Providers who work with students with IEPs can now know their clients are receiving the information needed to make informed decisions about their education. 

The bill also:

  • Clarifies that “transition services” includes for-credit courses, career and technical education, and non-credit courses and instruction 
  • Requires that school districts provide students with CTE opportunities, including a list of programming options, the scope and sequence of study for pursuing those options, and the location of those options. 
  • Requires the transition planning to be part of the IEP process and governed by the procedures of the IEP, including proper notice to parents and students. 

Eliminating Lead Poisoning 

Illinoisians have increased protection in the new year. Effective January 1, 2022, HB3739 creates the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act, making Illinois the third state in the nation to mandate full replacement of lead pipes that can deliver toxic lead in drinking water. 

The new law requires the full lead service line replacement by all water systems based on the number of lead service lines in the system. In doing so, lawmakers hope to mitigate the risk of lead poisoning, a type of metal poisoning that can result in severe neurological and neuromuscular issues. The bill also creates the lead service line replacement fund, which is committed to funding the work of identifying and replacing dangerous service lines. 

Further, HB379 requires the creation of a Lead Service Line Replacement Advisory Board, a body that will advise the state on best practices on lead service line replacement and implementation. The Board will assist in creating specific activities that each owner or operator of a community water supply must regularly perform. 

Overall, the law aims to both mitigate the risk of lead poisoning and provide the public with information as to efforts to maintain a safe supply of drinking water. Providers can continue to screen for the signs of lead poisoning in their patients and learn about the prevalence or high-risk pipes in their area to further combat lead poisoning. 

Regulation and Licensing of Occupations 

Licensing Midwifery

The midwife profession will become an officially licensed and regulated occupation in the coming year. 

Effective October 1, 2022, HB3401 creates the Licensed Certified Professional Midwife Practice Act, which allows for the certification and licensure of practicing Illinois midwives. In passing the bill, Illinois will join 35 other states and the District of Columbia in recognizing and licensing midwifery. The Midwife Practice Act licenses professionals to perform out-of-hospital births.

The bill defines midwifery as “the means of providing the necessary supervision, care, and advice to a client during a low-risk pregnancy, labor and the post-partum period, including the intended low-risk delivery of a child, and providing normal newborn care.” This definition does not reference nursing or medicine, clarifying that nursing is a distinct and separate occupation that requires a nursing degree. 

The bill requires certified midwives to receive accreditation through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). In addition, it requires the completion of a post-secondary midwifery education program through a school accredited by the Midwife Education and Accreditation Council. Midwives accredited by the NARM who have not completed an accredited education program can still receive a license if they have been practicing for more than three years and acquire other certifications. HB3401 also creates an Illinois Midwifery Board, which can make necessary recommendations to amend the new practice act. The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will enforce the law. 

The Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois Nurses Association, the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, and the Illinois Health and Hospital Association all support the bill. Proponents argue the bill will make the practice of midwifery legitimate and safe. To this point, professional midwifery in Illinois has been illegal. Thus, midwives have been unable to communicate with physicians or transfer patients to hospitals when required. Now, midwives can have relationships with outside physicians and hospitals, and transfer patients as needed. Moreover, the bill ensures that those marketing themselves as professional midwives obtain appropriate education and certification, improving mother and baby safety. 

Licensing of Birth Centers

Relatedly, HB3995 created the Birth Center Licensing Act, which requires all birth centers to obtain a license issued by the Department of Public Health. 

Certifying Community Health Workers

Moreover, legislators introduced a bill to certify Community Health Workers. SB0336 amends the Community Health Worker Certification and Reimbursement Act. It provides that a Community Health Worker Review Board shall be established to advise the Department of Health in creating a Community Health Worker Certification Program. The Board will advise and recommend a certification process, oversee the implementation of professional training programs, and review professional standards. 

Ultimately, the certification program aims to provide Community Health Workers with the necessary training and recognition. These professionals provide vital community services, especially during the ongoing pandemic. Indeed, lawmakers saw it imperative to further recognize the legitimacy of the profession, while simultaneously improving community health outcomes. 

Education on Cognitive Impairments

To improve the medical care of patients suffering from cognitive impairments, the General Assembly amended the Medical Practice Act. Effective August 16, 2021, SB0677 requires an applicant seeking a medical license to have completed three hours of education on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of those suffering from cognitive impairments, including Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As amended, the Act also requires certain physicians to complete one hour of continuing education per year on cognitive impairments. 

Requirements for Dry Needling 

Starting the first of the new year, SB1078 amends both the Illinois Athletic Trainers Practice Act and the Illinois Physical Therapy Act. 

The bill states that athletic trainers will only be able to perform dry needling if they meet certain requirements. These requirements will include the completion of at least 50 hours of relevant coursework, the completion of at least 200 hours of supervised patient treatment sessions, and passing a competency exam. 

Dry needling can help reduce muscular pain and soreness. However, it can also result in complications like bleeding and skin irritation. The above requirements aim to equip trainers with the knowledge and skill necessary to provide effective treatment. 

Regarding Physical Therapists, the bill states that physical therapists can only perform dry needling after they meet certain training, including both educational and clinical requirements. In addition, it provides that a physical therapist treating a patient with a chronic disease must communicate, at least monthly, with the patient’s treating health care professional to provide updates on the patient’s course of therapy. 

Mental Healthcare 

Last year, the General Assembly took a major step forward in expanding access to mental healthcare services in emergency situations. 

Emergency Response

HB2784 creates the Community Emergency Services and Supports Act. It requires all Illinois municipalities to coordinate 911 emergency calls with 988 services. 988 call hotlines allow those suffering from a mental health crisis to get professional help, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. By coordinating 911 and 988 services, the bill aims to prioritize community mental healthcare and decrease the improper use of force in mental health emergencies. 

Effective January 1, 2022, the bill ensures that 911 operators coordinate services with mobile mental and behavioral health services, established by the state’s Division of Mental Health (DMH) within the Department of Human Services. The DMH will provide guidance as to how dispatchers should coordinate with mental and behavioral health services, focusing on how to get those in a mental health crisis appropriate care. 

The bill also requires DMH to establish regional advisory committees within each emergency medical system region to further advise on mental and behavioral health response systems. To ensure compliance, it requires appropriate police officer training aimed at improving how emergency personnel respond to mental health emergencies. 

Additionally, on August 20, 2021, Illinois lawmakers amended the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. SB2312 prohibits any person from referring patients to a mental health facility in exchange for a fee or other remuneration. In other words, it makes violating the federal Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act a violation of Illinois consumer protection law. The new law aims to protect patients by ensuring referents do not inappropriately profit off their care. 

Student Mental Health

HB0212 amends the School Code to create the Mental Health Task Force for Communication, Intelligence, Empathy, Emotion, and Empowerment. The task force will explore how all primary and secondary education students can receive mandated mental health care. The bill also amends the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003, providing that that state must include recommendations for ensuring all youth receive mental health care and education in the school setting. 

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics

Illinois lawmakers further expanded access to mental healthcare by passing SB2294, which creates the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics Act. Certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHCs) provide comprehensive mental health and addiction services treatment to vulnerable individuals. They emphasize care coordination with physical health providers and use evidence-based treatment interventions to provide whole-person care. Indeed, CCBHs consider patients’ mental and physical health, their socioeconomic status, and various social determinants of health to provide effective care and education. 

The bill requires the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to create a plan, by January 2022, for the implementation of CCBHCs. It also requires the Department to create a “comprehensive behavioral health strategy” to be submitted to the governor and General Assembly by July 1, 2022. 

Medicaid

Among other provisions, HB0212 also provides that people eligible for Medicaid will continue to be eligible throughout the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, and up to twelve months after. 

The bill also provides for tobacco cessation programs and recognizes veteran support specialists as mental health professionals under the state Medicaid program. 

Protecting Vulnerable Adult Populations 

Two new laws amend the Nursing Home Care Act and aim to improve the quality of care in Illinois nursing homes.

Informed Consent For Medications

First, effective August 27, 2021, SB2265 requires the Department of Public Health to adopt a protocol specifying how providers must obtain informed consent for psychotropic medication. This protocol must include a discussion between the resident (or the resident’s surrogate decision-maker) and the resident’s physician, a registered pharmacist, or a licensed nurse about the possible risks and benefits of the medication. SB2265 also clarifies that the resident must give informed consent any time there is a change in medication or an increase or decrease in the dosage, dosage range, or titration schedule of the medication. 

In requiring a discussion between the physician and the resident, the law recognizes that informed consent results from a conversation between physician and patient. The more detailed the physician is in describing all possible side-effects, benefits, risks, and alternative treatment options, the more likely a patient will be able to make a truly informed treatment decision. 

Preventing Social Isolation

Second, SB2137 requires each long-term care facility in Illinois to adopt and implement written policies ensuring that appropriate staff and activities are in place to prevent social isolation of facility residents. The Department of Public Health will distribute approved funds to assist in the implementation of new programming as needed. In addition, the Department will conduct regular inspections of nursing facilities to ensure they are following the new law. 

Protections Against Abandonment

In addition, SB0701 expands the scope of the Adult Protective Services Act to include abandonment. The Adult Protective Services Act protects adults aged 60 or older and people with disabilities aged 18-59. The law applies to people delivering professional services to these populations. It provides that anyone can report suspected abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. 

Starting January 1, 2022, SB0701 amends the Act to include reports of abandonment. Moreover, it requires the Department of Aging to develop a risk assessment tool to assist in identifying elderly persons who may be experiencing abuse. 

Pharmacy Regulation 

SB2172 amends the Illinois Pharmacy Practice Act. It provides that, beginning January 1, 2024, it shall be the joint responsibility of a pharmacy and its pharmacist in charge to ensure that all new pharmacy technicians are educated and trained using a nationally accredited education and training program. Pharmacists should review this amendment to make sure they properly screen new hires and remain compliant. 

Access to Prescription Medication  

Illinois residents will soon be able to donate unused prescription drugs to those who desperately need them. HB0119 will take effect on January 1, 2022. It allows anyone to donate certain prescription drugs under the Illinois Prescription Drug Repository Program. Officials will then distribute medications to those who have been prescribed the drug but cannot afford it. The bill requires the drugs be distributed at no cost to the recipient patient, besides a reasonable shipping and handling fee. 

For a drug to be accepted into the program, it must meet various requirements. For instance, drugs will not be accepted if they have been opened, there is evidence of tampering, or they are expired. Further, the program will not accept controlled substances. 

With the cost of prescription drugs continuing to rise, supporters of the bill are optimistic it will help patients safely and efficiently access the drugs they need. 

Additionally, SB0579, effective July 23, 2021, requires hospitals to offer patients any unused portions of facility-provided medication upon discharge when the patient requires the medication for ongoing treatment.

The Opioid Epidemic

Communicating Dependence Risks

HB3355 amends the Illinois Controlled Substance Act. It requires the Department of Human Services to display on its website the risks of developing a physical or psychological dependence on opioids, along with information on alternative treatment options. The bill states the Department shall make available to all prescribers, pharmacists, and patients a pamphlet that explains the risks of opioid addiction. Additionally, it provides that a pharmacist, prior to dispensing an opioid, must furnish the pamphlet or information therein to the patient and discuss the risks of developing a dependence on opioids. 

The new law aims to mitigate the effects of the opioid epidemic by providing patients with the information they need to make informed treatment decisions. 

Creating an Electronic Record of Prescriptions

Last year, Illinois legislators also passed HB3596. Effective January 1, 2023, the bill amends the Controlled Substance Act to require prescribers of Schedule II, III, IV, or V substances to send prescriptions electronically, in accordance with the Prescription Monitoring Program. Providers, however, do not have to send these prescriptions electronically if they certify to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation that they will not issue more than 25 prescriptions within one year. 

The goal of the bill is to create an electronic record on opioid prescriptions to help track doctors who overprescribe. 

Surgical Smoke Plume Safety 

Effective January 1, 2022, SB1908 requires hospitals organized under the University of Illinois Hospital Act or licensed under the Hospital Licensing Act, as well as ambulatory surgical treatment centers licensed under the Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Center Act, to adopt policies to ensure the elimination of surgical smoke plume. These policies must include use of a surgical smoke plume evacuation procedure for each procedure that generates surgical smoke plume. The covered entities must report to the Department of Public Health within 90 days after SB1908’s effective date, confirming their adoption of policies. 

Surgical smoke plume results from heat destructive surgical devices, such as lasers, ultrasonic scalpels, and other aspects of electrosurgical systems. It can contain toxic gases and vapors and be harmful to patients and medical staff. SB1908 aims to reduce the risk of harmful health defects resulting from surgical smoke plume poisoning.

Waste Management Disclosures

 SB0294 creates the Wipes Labeling Act, which requires manufacturers of household wipes to clearly label “Do Not Flush” on the packaging of non-flushable wipes. 

Effective July 1, 2022, the new law will apply to all household disposable wipes, such as baby wipes, bathroom wipes, antibacterial wipes, and facial wipes. Flushing many of these items can cause serious sewage and plumbing issues, leading to blockages and congestion throughout state infrastructure. 

Manufacturers must display the “Do Not Flush” warning clearly and conspicuously, according to statutory requirements. Entities who fail to provide this warning may be liable for significant civil penalties, including administrative fines and attorneys’ fees. 

Education Loans

  • Student borrowers can now expect to receive critical information regarding their education loans. On August 26, 2021, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law HB2746, also known as the “Know Before You Owe Private Education Loan Act.” The law aims to provide borrowers with the information they need to make informed and responsible financial decisions. 
  • Specifically, private lenders must obtain certification from the student’s school regarding the borrower’s enrollment status, the cost of attendance, and the difference between the cost of attendance and the borrower’s expected financial aid. Before certifying, the educational institution must determine whether the student has exhausted federal aid. If the student has an opportunity for more federal aid, then the school must inform the borrower accordingly. Moreover, the school must disclose the advantages of federal loans, including income-based repayment options and loan forgiveness programs. 
  • The law guarantees lenders will inform students of the many advantages of federal student loans. It ensures that student borrowers know what they’re signing before accepting a private loan to pay for their education. 

Animal Welfare

Illinoisans can expect heightened animal welfare regulation in 2022. HB1771 amends the Animal Welfare Act, effective February 23, 2022. It states that a pet shop operator can only offer a dog or cat for sale if the animal is obtained from an animal control facility or animal shelter. It further provides that the animal control facility or animal shelter that supplies the dogs or cats to pet shops cannot be a dog or cat breeder or a person who sells dogs or cats at auction in exchange for payment.

The bill aims to ban puppy mills, which are high-volume, for-profit breeding facilities that often ignore the needs of the animals. Healthcare providers who work in veterinary medicine can reference HB1771 if they fear a pet shop operator is mistreating an animal.

Revoking Online Contracts 

To enhance consumer protection, the General Assembly amended the Automatic Contract Renewal Act, effective January 1, 2022. 

Specifically, HB3995 provides that vendors must allow a consumer who accepts an automatic renewal or continuous service offer online to terminate that service exclusively online. In other words, online merchants must provide consumers an easy opportunity to cancel their online subscriptions. The bill also requires businesses that make automatic or continuous online service offers to provide a toll-free telephone number, electronic mail address, a postal service if the seller directly bills the consumer, or another cost-effective and easy mechanism of cancellation. Business owners who offer goods or services online should review the new law to ensure compliance. 

Criminal Transmission of HIV (Repealed)

On July 27, 2021, Illinois signed HB1063 into law, demonstrating an attempt to modernize how the state approaches HIV transmission liability. By repealing the HIV criminal transmission law, people living with HIV can no longer be criminally charged for exposing another person to the virus without their knowledge. 

The Illinois Criminal Transmission of HIV statute, passed in 1989, made it illegal for people living with HIV to have unprotected sex without disclosing their status to sexual partners. However, critics argued that the law disproportionately affected communities of color, did little to nothing to stop the spread of HIV, and gave vengeful ex-partners an opportunity to weaponize the law against people living with HIV. Many critics also argued the law acted as a barrier to testing, as potential defendants would likely want to avoid formally documenting their HIV-positive status. 

With the criminal law no longer in place, advocates hope to focus on education, training, and treatment to mitigate the risk of spread. 

Conclusion

The many legislative changes at the beginning of the new year may create questions about new responsibilities for your business or practice. While we hope this post helped to introduce you to these changes, descriptions of these new requirements are only summaries and there may be other parts of these bills relevant to you. If you have questions about what these changes mean for you, please reach out to us so that we can help you navigate through your new compliance requirements in the coming year.

This blog is made for educational purposes and is not intended to be specific legal advice to any particular person. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between our firm and the reader. It should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

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