This Week in Springfield – 100-05

In This Issue:


This Week in Springfield only the House was in Session. A subject matter hearing was held on a Teamsters pharmacy mandate bill and two bills passed the labor committee that are a concern for Illinois’ businesses.

Pharmacy Mandates

 A subject matter hearing was held to discuss HB 2392 (Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago) that was filed on behalf of the Teamsters in attempt to capitalize on a Chicago Tribune investigative report regarding drug interactions. The problem presented in the report involved a patient presenting two scripts which, if dispensed together, had the possibility of a severe interaction. What should have happened is the pharmacist should have called the prescriber, who should not have prescribed the combinations in the first place, or counseled the patient about the potential interaction and urged them to contact their prescriber. In response, at the behest of Governor Bruce Rauner, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) proposed new rules governing counseling by pharmacists. Once these rules are formally adopted by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) Illinois will have one of the strictest, if not the strictest, counseling laws in the nation. These significant regulatory changes move Illinois from an ‘offer to counsel’ state to a ‘mandatory counsel’ state.

Counseling will now have to occur face-to-face for any new prescription or any change in dosage, strength, and administration, directions for use. In short, unless a patient is obtaining a refill with no changes from the same pharmacy, they are required to receive counseling. This chart attempts to show the changes once the new regulations have taken effect.

New patient (regardless of whether not the script is new) Offer to counsel Required counseling
New prescription* Offer to counsel Required counseling
Change in dosage (e.g. once per

day instead of twice per day)

Offer to counsel Required counseling
Change in strength (e.g. 10mg instead of 5mg) Offer to counsel Required counseling
Change in administration (e.g. oral tablet to one that dissolves under the tongue) Offer to counsel Required counseling
Change in directions for use (e.g. take with water instead of with milk) Offer to counsel Required counseling
All other prescriptions (e.g. refill with no changes and OTCs**) Offer to counsel Offer to counsel

Additionally, PA 99-0863 requires any errors that may have endangered a patient, including dispensing errors, by a pharmacist or pharmacist tech to be disclosed to the Board of Pharmacy upon termination. This mirrors the requirements of physicians. Moreover, PA 99-0473 further professionalized pharmacy technicians by requiring certification and continuing education including courses in patient safety.  Prior to January 1st, continuing education was not required. Clearly, the problem noted by the Chicago Tribune was addressed by the significant changes noted above. These do not include additional steps implemented by individual pharmacies. Clearly, the issue identified by the Chicago Tribune has been addressed.

H.B. 2392 contains a wide-array of excessive regulatory proposals. The proposals attempt to address problems directly related to how pharmacies are reimbursed for their services. Until this reimbursement is addressed, these problems will continue

IRMA would  like to thank the members of the Health Care Availability & Access  and the Health Care Licenses for their attentiveness and questions and look forward to the continuing discussion.

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Employee Pre-Judgement Liens

HB2351 (Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago) would allow any employee, to file a lien against an employer’s real and personal property simply on the basis that the employee believes he or she has a valid wage claim against the employer.  The lien could take precedent over almost any other lien or judgment, including mortgages, and could be filed for single employee wage claims that amount to several hundred dollars in damages and/or class action and representative wage claims that allege millions of dollars in damages.

At the time of filing the lien, the employee would have no burden to provide any actual evidence that the employer violated any wage and hour law. After the lien is placed, a civil action to enforce the lien would be required and only then would the employee have any obligation to provide any evidence. Not only would these liens apply to personal real property owned by the employer, but would extend to any property where the employee has performed work for the alleged wage claim. Filing a lien of such significance without first proving the merit of their allegations will basically subject employers to constant extortion in order to avoid dealing with a lien on their property.

The legislation passed the Labor & Commerce Committee on a partisan roll call of 16-12. Majority Leader Currie acknowledged that the legislation cannot move forward with the current language. She has made the commitment that she will hold the bill on second reading and bring an amendment back to committee that will corrects the inadequacies of the bill while narrowing the bill to address the bad actors.

IRMA wants to thank Leader Currie for listening to the opponents’ concerns and we look forward to working with her on addressing her issues while not punishing good actors.

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WARN Act Extension

HB 813 (Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Belleville) expands the WARN Act beyond federal guidelines.  The Illinois WARN Act and the federal WARN Act currently require businesses with 75 or more employees to give 60 days notice before a mass layoff or relocation.  HB 813 seeks to amend the Illinois WARN act to reduce the threshold to 65 employees and expand the notice period to 90 days.  If HB 813 were to become law, Illinois employers would have two different standards to follow. The legislation is an initiative of the United Steelworkers Union in response to the closing of a few steel plants in Illinois due to market conditions. The majority of the workers were either relocated or rehired. They all received full benefits, including additional unemployment insurance benefits as a result of special legislation that was passed on their behalf during the Veto Session.

The bill passed the Labor & Commerce Committee on a partisan roll call of 16-11.

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Business Day 2017

Make plans now to be in Springfield on Wednesday, April 26th to make your voice heard! Business Day, the largest annual gathering of employers in Illinois, brings employers from all over the state together to hear form policy makers. This is also your chance to express your thoughts and opinions on the issues of the day directly to your elected representatives in the legislative and executive branches.

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