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Healthcare Workers With Criminal Convictions

As a law firm that deals with federal and state licensure issues, we aim to keep our visitors informed on the latest news from the IDFPR. In an attempt to remove “unnecessary barriers to licensure”, the IDFPR has implemented a new review process for health care workers with criminal convictions. Those Illinois health care workers and applicants who were once deemed ineligible for their positions will now be given another chance.

In 2011, Illinois legislators applied a lifetime bar to licensure for healthcare workers convicted of any of the following offenses:
• Battery or sexual offense against a patient during treatment or care
• Any conviction mandating registration as a sex offender
• A “forcible felony”.

Under Illinois law, a “forcible felony” is described as the following:

Sec. 2-8. “Forcible felony”. “Forcible felony” means treason, first degree murder, second degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, residential burglary, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated kidnaping, kidnaping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual. 720 ILCS 5/2-8.

However, the IDFPR did not use this definition of a “forcible felony”, and instead decided to draft its own definition. Generally speaking, a “forcible felony” means any felony which involves the use of threat of physical force or violence against any individual. For the purposes of the law, the IDFPR included offenses including (but not limited to) possession of a deadly substance, and several terrorism-related offenses. The IDFPR also excluded certain crimes that might fall under the umbrella of “forcible felonies” such as burglary and arson offenses.

A law that was intended to protect patients from convicted criminals soon had broader implications. The IDFPR began revoking or denying licensure to individuals with felony convictions which fell under its own definition of “forcible felonies” that are not mentioned in Illinois state law. These were crimes that did not involve patients and were not sexual in nature. Some of the crimes committed were committed by applicants as teenagers.

As of January 2017, previously barred health care workers and applicants with criminal convictions may once again be eligible for licensure. Those workers whose licensure has been permanently revoked or denied can file a petition for review to prove that they have been adequately rehabilitated and are suitable to join the health care work force. There is no guarantee that a petition will be granted—but if it is, the criminal conviction in question will no longer stand as a barrier to licensure. Applicants must still meet the rest of the licensure requirements.



Illinois health care licenses elude those with records


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