FILE - Virus Outbreak Illinois

An elderly lady walks across the usually busy Columbus Drive that splits Chicago's Grant Park in half, on the first work day since Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave a shelter in place order last week, Monday, March 23, 2020.

(The Center Square) – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced new actions to make it easier for out-of-state and retired health care workers to help out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department issued a proclamation to allow out-of-state physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and respiratory care therapists. Department Secretary Deborah Hagan also prepared variances allowing Illinois physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and respiratory care therapists with inactive, non-renewed, or expired licenses to restore their licenses temporarily if they meet specific criteria to restore their licenses temporarily, according to a news release.

“In anticipation of an increased need of healthcare providers during this COVID-19 pandemic, the Department is restoring licensees who fulfill certain criteria in order to work under the direction of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the Illinois Department of Public Health,” Hagan said in a statement. “The State of Illinois has many very qualified health care professionals throughout the State that we are encouraging to come back into practice to assist with the impact of COVID-19.”

Doctors who have had expired or inactive licenses for fewer than three years can temporarily restore their license. No fee or continuing education is required to work under the direction of Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the Illinois Department of Public Health or in a long-term care facility, hospital, or federally qualified health center, according to the release. The same goes for physician assistants. 

Licensed practical nurses, registered professional nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, and respiratory care therapists can do the same as long as it has been less than five years.

The temporary practice approval expires on Sept. 30.

Regional Editor

Brett Rowland has worked as a reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He most recently served as news editor of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He previously held the same position at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb.