Illinois Legislature Adds Additional Continuing Education Requirements for Licensed Professionals

Medical and healthcare workers licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to practice in Illinois are required to complete a certain number of continuing education (CE) credits to renew their licenses depending on their specific profession. Recently, the Illinois legislature has started to add specific types of courses to existing CE requirements that must be completed in each renewal cycle to be eligible for a license renewal.

The following CE must be completed for renewal for various professions as specified below:

Implicit Bias Training

Beginning on January 1, 2023, licensed medical and healthcare-related professions will be required to complete a one-hour CE course on “implicit bias awareness” in each renewal cycle as part of their license renewals. According to the IDFPR, the goal of this upcoming requirement is to combat “a form of bias that occurs automatically and unintentionally, that nevertheless affects judgments, decisions, and behaviors.” The IDFPR has yet to release specific criteria regarding this course, but the legislation does outline that the course should cover (1) examples of how implicit bias affects perceptions and treatment decisions, leading to disparities in health outcomes; and/or (2) strategies to address how unintended biases in decision-making may contribute to health care disparities by shaping behavior and producing differences in medical treatment along lines of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.

The specific professions that are affected by this legislation include acupuncturists, athletic trainers, chiropractors, dentists, dietitians, home medical equipment and services provider, nurses, nursing home administrators, occupational therapists, optometrists, perfusionists, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, physical therapists, physicians, physician assistants, podiatrists, psychologists, professional counselors and therapists, social workers, speech-language pathologists, and surgical assistants and technologists.

Please check back for any updates to this recently added CE requirement.

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care of People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias

Also beginning on January 1, 2023, all licensed medical and healthcare professionals who have direct patient interactions with adults 26 years of age and older are required to complete one hour of CE on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in each renewal cycle. The goal behind this legislation is to provide medical and healthcare professionals, especially those who practice in underserved areas, additional tools to assist those living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia diseases. The contents of the course should include how to identify and diagnose Alzheimer’s, effective communication strategies, and management and care planning.

Safe Opioid Prescribing Training

As a reminder, as of January 1, 2019, all medical and healthcare professionals with an Illinois controlled substance license must complete three hours of CE on safe opioid prescribing practices in each renewal cycle to renew their controlled substance license. All prescribers need to complete this course regardless of whether they actively prescribe opioids in their practice. Additionally, the course needs to be applicable to the licensed professional’s specific scope of practice.

Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

Finally, as of January 1, 2020, all licensed professions that have a CE requirement for renewal must complete one hour of sexual harassment prevention training CE in each renewal cycle in order to renew their license(s). Please see our previous article, “Legal Update: Required Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Continuing Education” for additional information.

Important things to note:

  • These required courses do not increase the number of hours necessary for license renewal. For example, a physician will still need to complete 150 hours of CE during the non-renewal period; however, at least six of those 150 hours must be earned through CE courses that cover the required topics listed above. The same goes for all other licensed professions affected by these changes. If you have multiple licenses, these courses can satisfy the requirement for both licenses, assuming other requirements of the course are met. You do not need to take the same course for each license. 
  • You are responsible for maintaining proof of your compliance with your CE requirements. While proof of CE completion may not be required for timely renewal or by employers, it is necessary to keep copies of all certificates of completion and/or CE credit logs in the event of an audit or another form of administrative process. The records and logs of CE should include the name of the course, the accredited provider of the course, the date of completion, and your name.

If you would like additional information on CE requirements for renewal, including assistance locating accredited course providers, or additional information on the renewal process in general, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.

Disclaimer: This web site is addressed to those who hold professional licenses issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and by similar licensing agencies in other states. Suggestions herein are, in most circumstances, valid for any type investigation, whether administrative, criminal, or civil. However, it should be noted that in some other states, one who holds a professional license may be required to submit to an investigative interview as a condition of being licensed. Whatever the circumstances, a licensed professional who becomes the subject of an investigation would be wise to immediately retain legal counsel. No content, whole or in part, is to be considered as “legal advice,” and by reading this document, no attorney-client relationship is formed with the Crick Walanka Law Group, Ltd.