News from Senator Peter Roskam Senate Republican Whip
  315 West Wesley Street 309H State House
  Wheaton, Illinois 60187 Springfield, Illinois 62706
  630-690-4500 217/782-8022  

For Immediate Release

Date:  July 22, 2005/ls

SENATE WEEK IN REVIEW: July 18-22, 2005

Springfield, IL – An historic workers’ compensation reform agreement and legislation creating an easily-accessed registry of medical professionals in case of a terrorist attack were among the measures signed into law during the week of July 18-22, according to State Senator Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton).

Signed July 20, House Bill 2137 is the first reform of the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act since 1989, and the most far-reaching since the mid 1970s. Illinois’ workers’ compensation premiums are among the highest in the country, and Illinois businesses pay 40 percent more for workers’ compensation than neighboring states.

Senator Roskam says Republicans have been fighting for workers’ compensation reform for years and House Bill 2137 is a major step toward reducing the costs of doing business in Illinois while improving workers’ rights. The new law sets up a unit to investigate fraud, enacts a schedule of fees for medical office visits, increases compensation for lost wages by 7.5%, speeds up review of workers’ comp disputes, and increases penalties for fraudulent claims.

The Governor also signed a new law that will help provide immediate access to health care for Illinois citizens in the event of a terrorism attack or a public health emergency.

House Bill 3819 requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish a registry of all active health care professionals, including nurses, nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses, physicians, physician assistants, emergency medical technicians, psychologists, professional counselors, clinical professional counselors, and pharmacists. The registry will be shared between the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation via a secure communication link to be accessed only in the case of an emergency.

In other business, the Governor signed House Bill 265, which allows insurance companies to consider extraordinary life events as an exception to risk scores, which are used to set insurance rates. Extraordinary life events include a catastrophic illness; the death of a spouse, child or parent; involuntary loss of employment; identity theft of an applicant or insured; or dissolution of marriage of an applicant or insured.

Other legislation signed into law during the week of July 18-22 includes: