Category Archives: Professional Licensing

Full practice authority: Illinois nurses empowered by new law

Illinois LicenseThis was a good week for Illinois nurses, especially those who licensed as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 313 into law on September 20, increasing the authority of registered and licensed Illinois nurses by lifting certain licensing regulations for the administration of some healthcare services. Upon satisfying certain qualifying criteria, an APRN may be eligible for full practice authority. In a healthcare industry already struggling with a shortage of qualified nursing professionals, this update to Illinois law will not only benefit practicing nurses but also the residents of the State of Illinois seeking efficient and effective healthcare services.

From Governor Rauner’s Press Release:

“This will empower nurses to administer the services that they are fully equipped and educated to perform,” said Gov. Rauner. “I’m happy that Illinoisans across the state will be able to rely more on highly qualified and skilled nurses to deliver care when access to a physician may be inhibited due to costs or geographic barriers.[i]

Requirements for APRNs to qualify for full practice authority:

House Bill 313 amends the Illinois Nurse Practice Act with the addition of certain practice definitions and guidelines for certain nurses in a path to full practice authority, making better use of the education and hours of experience held by nurse professionals in their advancing career paths.

The new law allows an APRN certified as a nurse midwife, a clinical nurse specialist, or a nurse practitioner with a minimum of “250 hours of continuing education or training and at least 4,000 hours of clinical experience” to file a notarized attestation of same with the Department to be conferred with the benefit of full practice authority[ii].

Full practice authority is defined by the Nurse Practice Act as follows: “The authority of an advanced practice registered nurse licensed in Illinois and certified as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse midwife to practice without a written collaborative agreement and be fully accountable: (1) to patients for the quality of advanced nursing care rendered, (2) for recognizing limits of knowledge and experience, and (3) for planning for the management of situations beyond the advanced practice registered nurse’s expertise.[iii]

Licensed Illinois nurses should contact the health law and licensing firm of Michael V. Favia & Associates with questions and for assistance with the new changes in the law.

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About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law, litigation and licensing firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

[i] Illinois.gov, Press Release: Gov. Rauner expands registered nurse practice authority, Sept. 20, 2017.

[ii] Illinois Nurse Practice Act, 225 ILCS 65/65-43 (b).

[iii] Illinois Nurse Practice Act, 225 ILCS 65/65-43 (a).

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How do you know if you have an opioid problem?

Anyone can develop an addiction to painkillers. Doctors, nurses and all healthcare professionals are tasked with monitoring patients to whom opioids are prescribed. We hear news stories about pill mills, billing fraud and monitoring programs to keep patients safe and prevent drug diversion and downstream black market sales. Meanwhile, who is monitoring the healthcare professionals up stream? It is too easy to imagine what an addict looks like or where they are getting their pain killers, sometimes it is harder to look right in the mirror.

People with abuse and addiction propensities may not be aware of the stronghold opioids can take on someone’s life. It is said that at stages of addiction the synapses are not firing the same and judgment can be impaired. The moment of realization of not being able to quit taking opioids can certainly be one of shock, fear and loss of control.

You might be able to stop for a day or more, maybe a week or two. Without getting proper detox and rehabilitative care, the cycle of use and addiction is not likely to stop on its own. Once people accept that they have no control over the addiction it can be easier to ask for help, especially when they can accept with the help of others that it is not their fault and it is a disease, from which they can be cured.

Not everyone who uses opioids safely and under a physician’s monitoring is or will become addicted. There are a few signs and symptoms of which to be aware.

Salem, Virginia’s Mount Regis Center for hope, treatment and recovery shares a list of symptoms of opioid addiction as follows, noting that not all individuals with addiction will display all the symptoms. That said, the following are common[i]:

“Mood symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Euphoric mood for a few hours
  • Irritability

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Forging prescriptions for opiates
  • Stealing narcotics from friends and family
  • Robbing pharmacies and other medication dispensaries
  • Not fulfilling familial and other responsibilities
  • Decreased performance at job or school
  • Preoccupation with obtaining, using, and recovering from usage of opiates
  • Lying to others to cover the amount of drug taken
  • Withdrawing from once-pleasurable activities
  • Social isolation
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy

Physical symptoms:

  • Exhaustion
  • Pain relief
  • Respiratory depression
  • Sedation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Psychological symptoms:

  • Addiction
  • Memory problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Worsening of mental health
  • Decrease in emotional well-being
  • Increase in symptoms of mental illness”

The article about opioid abuse and addiction is worth your review and covers co-occurring disorders, statistics, causes, symptoms and the effects of opioid withdrawal.

The more we learn and share about addiction, the more proactive we all may be in helping our family, friends and colleagues when we see someone may be in trouble and not know why.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law, litigation and licensing firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

[i] Mount Regis Center website, Opiates – effects signs and symptoms

Financial services industry and IDFPR issue prevention and regulation – Podcast

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas, Attorney of Counsel to Michael V. Favia & Associates 

Today’s interview with Illinois licensing and regulation attorney, Jordan Matyas, focuses on the financial services industry and regulation by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and its Division of Financial Institutions.  In addition to working with financial businesses in defending and responding to regulatory inquiries and discipline, Mr. Matyas also works with companies proactively, to spot issues and prevent potential regulatory infractions.

Please use this link to listen to the podcast

Topics covered in this 30-minute interview:       

  • Overview of common financial industry regulatory complaints and issues;
  • How consumer financial providers can prevent legal and regulatory infractions;
  • Tips on best steps to take if ever contacted by the IDFPR or similar agency;
  • The general process through which IDFPR investigates and disciplines licensees.

Jordan Matyas, Principal of Matyas Law Firm, and an attorney of counsel to Michael V. Favia & Associates, who works with Illinois consumer financial businesses on administrative, litigation and regulatory issues. A former employee of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Matyas has independent knowledge of the Department and how its Division of Financial Institutions operate. Matyas earned his Juris Doctorate from The John Marshall Law School and his Bachelor of Arts from The George Washington University.

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Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to advise and represent healthcare professionals and the general Chicagoland community with a variety of legal issues. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburbs, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion.

For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please call (773) 631-4580, visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You may also connect with Attorney Michael V. Favia on LinkedIn and on Avvo.com where you may also read client endorsements and reviews.

Licensed healthcare professionals can also suffer and recover from opiate abuse and addiction

Opiate addiction is something that can sneak up on good people who might not realize they are becoming dependent on painkillers. People from all walks of life are prescribed an opiate or opioid narcotic for pain management following for injuries and chronic conditions. Like other addictions, an opiate use can turn into abuse and reliance on the drugs. Many people who suffer from opiate abuse and addiction report that they did not think they had a problem and would go for days without using opiates, assuming they were able to stop at any time.

Healthcare professionals may have a unique risk of opiate abuse and addiction

Physicians and healthcare professionals may be particularly likely to manage their own use of opiate narcotics and one day realize they are on the way to or are already hooked. For many, the opiates seem to sneak up on them without the user noticing anything because the neurotransmitters in the brain and the systems affected by opiate drugs are altered; the user is not thinking normally.

The healthcare industry can be notably stressful and physicians and professionals must be disciplined and resilient to that which might be too difficult for others to manage daily. Knowing you may be a tough doctor or nurse might give you the illusion that you may be in a better position to get the use of opiates under control, even though you might not be able to manage the addiction on your own.

The causes of opiate addiction are variable among several factors, some of which might not be within the control of the individual experiencing addiction.[i]

  • Genetic: Some of us are pre-disposed to addiction through our genetic makeup. When immediate family members and close relatives have addictions, those close in relation are often more likely to also suffer from abuse and addiction. This is not always the case, however and within a family some may “have the gene” while others do not.

 

  • Biological: Some of us naturally lack the endorphins necessary to trigger the right responses in our brains and central nervous systems, impacting our physiology. When introduced to our systems, certain people respond very well to opioids to remedy an underlying neurotransmitter deficit.

 

  • Environmental: What we experience as children can significantly influence our likelihood of certain behaviors as adults. The children who grow up with substance abuse and addiction are more likely to use substances and are more prone to addiction themselves.

 

  • Psychological: In the event one may be suffering from a mental illness or disorder, one may not be thinking clearly when using addictive narcotics to self-medicate other symptoms. There is a common correlation between mental health and propensity for addiction.

Opiate abuse and addiction can be cured and underlying causes and symptoms can be addressed.

Licensed professionals with their livelihood on the line may be more likely to cover up the use, abuse or addiction to opiates. The last thing any physician or nurse wants is to be questioned as to their fitness to practice. Individuals with addiction might be under the effects of narcotics to the extent that they are not making otherwise clear decisions, while some others may be better able to catch and cure a problem.

Too often people fear being looked at like a failure or a weak person. It is important to realize that opiate abuse and addiction is a temporary illness which may not have been avoidable based on causes that are not the healthcare professionals’ fault.

Being proactive with opiate abuse and addiction issues can save a healthcare professional’s career.

In many cases there are options for healthcare professionals to self-report a struggle with abuse or addiction. Being the first to notify your professional licensing and regulatory body, and with representation by a professional licensing attorney, physicians and nurses are likely to experience better results and a reduction in the risk of discipline or adverse action taken against them.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law, litigation and licensing firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

[i] Mount Regis Center website, Opiate Abuse & Addiction Effects, Signs & Symptoms.

Michael V. Favia speaks at CBA Administrative Law Committee Meeting Monday March 20

Come have lunch with the Chicago Bar Association Administrative Law Committee on Monday, March 20, from 12: 15 to 1:30 p.m. The topic is “Medical Cases Before the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.”

There are many nuances of administrative law and professional regulation that apply in the review of cases involving health care professionals. Being a former Chief of Prosecutions at the IDFPR, then IDPR, Michael V. Favia is uniquely positioned in private practice to advise and represent individuals and organizations involving professional regulatory matters.

Also speaking at Monday’s lunch meeting are Ms. Susan Gold, Deputy Director for State Wide Enforcement, IDFPR, Division of Professional Regulation, and Mr. Donald Seasock, Chief Administrative Law Judge, IDFPR.

Monday’s Administrative Law Committee meeting is held at the Chicago Bar Association, 321 South Plymouth Court and lunch is available for purchase.

Earn Illinois MCLE credit based on the presentation length.

Use this link for more information and to learn how to use the webcast option to attend and earn credit.

 

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

Relaxed restrictions: Health care licenses and criminal convictions

On January 1, 2017, new laws on the books in Illinois took effect. Among the new laws passed was a bill to protect applicants for professional licenses who may also have a record of a criminal offense and conviction. Prior to the new law, applicants for health care licenses[i] were barred from applying for a professional health care license if they had been convicted of criminal offenses.

In fact, a 2011 law, now rescinded, had automatically and permanently revoked or denied licenses to certain health care professionals with certain past felony convictions. Imagine working in a health care career for years and being stripped of your license to work and earn a living. Those affected by the 2011 law may now move forward in applying for the reissue of their health care license.

Those previously stripped of licenses may seek relief:

New health care license applicants who may have been precluded from receiving a license prior to January 1 may now request the issuance of a health care license by the State of Illinois. The Illinois Department of Financial Regulation (IDFPR), who issues and regulates health care licenses and professionals, may no longer deny a request for a professional license solely on an applicant’s criminal record unless the conviction is directly related to the occupation for which the individual seeks a license.

“The new measure is part of ongoing efforts by Governor Rauner and legislators to remove unnecessary barriers to the professional licensure while ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of the public.[ii]

New opportunities for independent review:

Under the law, if an individual applies for a license to work in regulated health care position, and they have a criminal conviction, the individual may qualify for special review under the new law. The Petition for Review, timely filed, can be used to affirmatively establish that the individual has been rehabilitated from their conviction.

There are several factors to be considered by the IDFPR in reviewing Petitions for Review, such as the seriousness of the underlying criminal conviction, any prior disciplinary history associated with the applicant, and notably, the individual’s voluntary remedial actions. Remedial actions can help establish an individual accepting responsibility for an error, and when coupled with rehabilitation, the decreased chances of future errant actions.

Child support obligations:

The new rule also gives the IDFPR more discretion in disciplining a license holder who falls behind in child support obligation. While it may be true that some child support obligors knowingly fail to pay child support, others may fall behind unintentionally. When the health care worker is denied their license to earn a living, and they want to be current on their support obligation, taking their income away can further complicate the problem.

If you believe the new law applies to your health care career and opportunity to hold the proper license, whether you were previously denied, suspended or revoked, you should know that every situation is fact-specific and what applies to some may not apply to others. Call Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. for a comprehensive review of your professional licensing matter to learn if the new law may change your health care career outlook.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

 

[i] Note: Health care workers include doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and more.

[ii] IDFPR Press Release Dated 12/29/2016, A Pathway to Licensure: Changes to Law for Health Care Workers with Criminal Convictions.