National Law Review (08/31/23) Golembesky, John F.; O'Neill, Kathleen M.; Tilton, John M.; et al.
New legislation in Illinois requires cultural competency training for healthcare providers in the state. H.B. 2450, which was approved by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in August, requires that state-licensed healthcare professionals complete one or more continuing education hours about cultural competency before renewing their license or registering to practice in Illinois, starting on or after Jan. 1, 2025. The Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation will adopt rules for the deployment of this mandate, which will cover doctors, nurses, psychologists, optometrists, physical therapists, pharmacists, physician assistants, licensed clinical social workers, nursing home administrators, occupational therapists, podiatrists, respiratory care technicians, professional counselors, speech therapists and audiologists, dentists and behavioral analysts. Illinois' legislature is also weighing S.B. 2427, which aims to address discrimination and enhance cultural competence for certain populations by guaranteeing that specific state-licensed healthcare professionals are skilled in providing "affirming care to people in the person's preferred language, people with disabilities, people who are intersex, people living with HIV and people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, including, but not limited to, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, pansexual, asexual and questioning individuals." These skills include applying linguistic competence and cultural awareness to therapeutic relationships, diagnosis and treatment, and clinical care. "Even where not legally required, healthcare entities can adopt cultural competency training now to help providers: (1) develop a better understanding of the healthcare needs and challenges faced by patients from diverse backgrounds; (2) improve patient communication and rapport, thereby improving patient satisfaction scores and outcomes; (3) reduce the risk of legal issues related to discrimination or inadequate care; and (4) enhance quality of care and organizational efficiency overall," conclude the authors of this article, from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.