A recently adopted law identified as, Health care worker licensure actions; sex crimes, controls the licensing of Illinois health care workers who are involved in certain offenses, namely sex offenses. Specifically, the law applies to health care workers, as defined in the Health Care Worker Self-Referral Act, meaning “any individual licensed under the laws of this State to provide health services [most commonly known nurses, doctors, dentists and similar health care professionals]…”[i] The policy behind this legislation is to increase awareness and safety among patients so they do not have to worry about receiving treatment and services from a health care worker convicted of a sex crime, generally.
Under certain circumstances, a health care worker’s license will be automatically revoked, by operation of law, not requiring individual actions to revoke the license other than a qualifying event where the law applies. Additionally, this law prohibits any individual convicted of any of the listed qualifying offenses; they may not obtain or receive a new health care license.[ii]
The offenses triggering action under this law are in the nature of general sex crimes.
This law applies when an individual health care worker, covered under the Act, “(1) has been convicted of a criminal act that requires registration under the Sex Offender Registration Act; (2) has been convicted of a criminal battery against any patient in the course of patient care or treatment, including any offense based on sexual conduct or sexual penetration; (3) has been convicted of a forcible felony; or (4) is required as part of a criminal sentence to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act.[iii]”
Immediately, upon charges being filed against a health care worker to whom this law applies, the prosecuting attorney shall notify the licensing department the identity of the individual charged and a copy of the charges, within 5 days. While the charges are pending the individual charged with the offense(s) may only practice with a “chaperone” (a licensed health care worker) whenever encountering a patient, while the charges are pending.[iv] Of course, these individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but as a matter of policy, if charges are filed, it is important to take precautions to safeguard patients in the event the charges are proven and a conviction is entered against the individual health care worker.
In certain circumstances, charges and convictions of misconduct under this law can be removed.
In the case where the charges are dropped, the individual is not convicted of the charges, or the conviction for charges is vacated, overturned, or reversed, an administrative order will direct that the underlying charges be removed from the individual health care worker’s record with the appropriate agency, and from public view.[v]
Michael V. Favia works with Illinois-licensed health care workers and can assist with health care worker licensing matters and litigation.
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[i] 225 ILCS 47/1
[ii] 20 ILCS 2105/2105-165(b)
[iii] 20 ILCS 2105/2105-165(a)
[iv] 20 ILCS 2105/2105-165(c)
[v] 20 ILCS 2105/2105-165(e)