home > News and Publications > Publications
June 2016
In this Issue
  • PAbanner

  • On July 1, Illinois Will Enter Year Two of the 'State without a Budget'

    For the second year in a row, Illinois lawmakers ended the spring legislative session without enacting a state budget for fiscal year 2016. They also have to approve a budget for fiscal year 2017. This is unprecedented!

    The General Assembly will be in continuous session this summer, with lawmakers scheduled to meet every Wednesday.

    Fiscal year 2016 ends June 30 so they don’t have much time. 

    Spring Legislative Session Update

    gold-capitol web

    The budget mess has made it more difficult for legislation to move. Here’s an update on important issues for Illinois physicians.

    If Governor inks this bill, docs won’t have to “recommend” Medical Cannabis anymore

    The Illinois General Assembly cleared Senate Bill 10, which would modify and extend the state's Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act.

    Key changes initiated by ISMS would:

    • Remove the requirement that before a patient may use medical cannabis, their physician must certify that the patient is under their care for a qualifying medical condition and in their professional opinion would be “likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of cannabis”; under the new requirement, physicians would simply certify that the patient is under their care and has a qualifying condition.
    • Require the Illinois Department of Public Health to electronically submit the names of all approved registrants for medical cannabis to the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program so that physicians can see if a patient under their care is authorized for medical cannabis.

    Other provisions in the bill would:

    • Expand the list of approved "debilitating medical conditions" to include post-traumatic stress disorder and terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less to live.
    • Extend the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program through July 1, 2020.

    If this bill is signed by Governor Rauner, the law will take effect immediately.

    We must defend patients' rights by ensuring that networks are adequate, accessible and transparent

    The ISMS-backed Network Adequacy and Transparency Act (House Bill 6562) would require insurers to develop networks that meet the needs of patients for plans sold in Illinois.

    Insurers would also be required to maintain up-to-date directories of "in-network" health professionals and facilities, and communicate with patients when there are changes to networks.

    The bill would ensure continuity of care for pregnant women and for patients with certain other conditions, protecting them from being forced to transition from their physicians when networks change. This bill was introduced late in the legislative session and received significant bipartisan support. ISMS has been engaged in positive negotiations with various stakeholders and General Assembly members. 

    Lawmakers must protect injured workers' access to care

    Lawmakers will continue this conversation about the workers’ compensation system during the weekly summer legislative sessions.

    ISMS, in partnership with other stakeholders, continues to urge lawmakers to preserve access to care for injured workers and educate legislators on how further workers’ compensation reimbursement cuts could jeopardize access to quality care. Legislation enacted in 2011 slashed medical fees for health care professionals and hospitals by 30 percent! The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission had to increase certain work comp payments after the cuts, because there were clearly problems with access. We can’t go down this road again.

    Dangerous scope expansion bills stalled, but not yet stopped

    • Certified midwives continue to push for licensure

    Proposed legislation (House Bill 4364) would license “certified midwives” to provide unsupervised home birthing services and a wide range of other services for pregnant women and a newborns – all without the support of medical technology or other qualified professionals. These services are distinctly medical in nature, such as using pharmaceuticals to control hemorrhaging.

    ISMS and several other medical specialty groups strongly oppose this legislation due to the significant risks that come with home births performed by unqualified individuals. While the bill currently holds physicians harmless for injuries caused by a midwife, we expect that this immunity will either be dramatically weakened or removed all together at the request of the plaintiff's bar.

    ISMS expects advocates to pursue passage again during the fall veto session.

    • Optometrists seek to perform surgery, give medication by injection

    ISMS opposes dangerous legislation (Senate Bill 2899) that would allow optometrists to perform certain surgical procedures and administer medications by injection. This legislation is not in patients' best interest and actually threatens their safety!

    One proposed procedure to be performed by optometrists is chalazion treatment, which could require an incision on the inner lid of the eye. Injections, including subcutaneous, subconjunctival and intramuscular injections, would also be allowed.

    This bill passed in the Senate and remains under consideration in the House. ISMS secured a commitment from leading members of the General Assembly that this initiative will not pass unless there is an agreement between the optometrists and ISMS.

    Your legislative team has been hard at work in Springfield, and we appreciate your efforts in responding to ISMS alerts by contacting lawmakers.

    The General Assembly will continue to meet every Wednesday this summer. For the latest updates, stay tuned to the Legislative Action Hub and watch future editions of Physician Advocate.

View Full Site View Mobile Site