Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Hey, collar counties: Stop being stupid and let volunteer Chicago doctors vaccinate your residents
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Hey, collar counties: Stop being stupid and let volunteer Chicago doctors vaccinate your residents

Tuesday, Feb 9, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* In order to become a state licensed health care worker, you must submit information to IDFPR for a background check including your fingerprints. So, this is just totally bizarre because the doctors have already done it

A Chicago physicians group has asked the governor’s office to waive requirements that mandate fingerprinting and background checks for licensed health care workers before they can volunteer at mass vaccination sites, according to a letter sent to the office on Friday.

* It turns out, this is a local roadblock

In the letter addressed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the Chicago Medical Society said the requirements, set by local governments, are unnecessary for health care workers who are already licensed and in good standing in Illinois, and instead act as barriers for the workers who are trying to lend a hand in the vaccination effort.

“I’m writing to express our concern about the requirement that licensed physicians and nurses need to be fingerprinted and have their backgrounds checked before administering COVID-19 vaccines at mass vaccination centers,” read the letter, signed by the medical society’s president, Dr. Tariq Butt, on behalf of about 17,000 area physicians. […]

But [Dr. Vishnu Chundi, chair of the Chicago Medical Society’s COVID-19 task force] said some volunteers who have tried to volunteer at state sites have been asked by local health departments to go through a cumbersome background check process that is time consuming for doctors and nurses who are already stretched thin.

The Chicago Medical Society says it has over a thousand volunteers who have offered to inoculate people in the collar counties, but the suburbs don’t want those certified doctors (mainly emergency room physicians) unless they redo their cumbersome background checks and submit new fingerprints.

It’s being portrayed as a liability issue. But it sounds like the suburbs have significant barriers against “outsiders” coming in, even if they’re already approved by the state.

Dr. Chundi told me that “each little [home rule] jurisdiction has fashioned its own rules,” and have “made it as hard as possible to go out and help people.” And, I was told, the Chicago docs would have to jump through those same hurdles in each one of those local jurisdictions.

According to the folks I spoke with at the Chicago Medical Society today, a Chicago physician can go to one of these home rule counties to perform heart surgery with no questions asked, but they can’t stick needles into peoples’ arms. I did not make that up.

Since they’re home rule counties, I’m not sure what the governor can legally do and the Pritzker administration says it’s researching the issue. In the meantime, some bully pulpit action is called for here. Put some heat on these counties to let in the volunteers, for crying out loud.

*** UPDATE *** Jordan Abudayyeh…

The governor is committed to using all authority he has to remove barriers that prevent qualified health care workers and volunteers from administering vaccine. IDPH is communicating with local health departments urging them to ensure healthcare workers can assist with their operations without unnecessary burdens.

* Meanwhile, in other news, here’s a press release

As COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues, Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) and her colleagues have fielded hundreds of questions and concerns from people across the state about the rollout, leading her to schedule a hearing to help get to the bottom of the confusing process and call for a more comprehensive and timely plan.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is the greatest line of defense we have against the pandemic,” Morrison said. “Unfortunately, many people across the state who are eligible for the vaccine haven’t been able to get their dose – and that’s disheartening. I hope this hearing will lead us toward a path of greater efficiency.”

Senator Morrison will be joined by representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Sangamon County Health Department, Chicago Department of Public Health, George Miller Safety Net Hospital, Walgreens and CVS — among others.

The hearing will focus on frequently asked questions and concerns regarding the rollout and supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. Morrison hopes the conversation will help distribution become more convenient and readily available.

* From Hannah’s latest thread

* Chicago Tribune live blog headlines

Travelers from 2 states, Puerto Rico no longer restricted under Chicago’s emergency travel order

Illinois reports another 58,189 COVID-19 vaccinations administered; a total of 22 cases of the UK variant have now been identified in Illinois

How Chicago’s Black-owned restaurants have fared during the pandemic

Half of Illinois public school students are still in remote learning only, even as CPS reopening plan advances

Delta, alone among airlines, to leave middle seats empty through April

Walgreens partnering with Uber to offer free rides to vaccine appointments

Comcast to award $1 million in grants to minority-owned small businesses in Chicago

For unemployed Chicagoans, real estate’s flourishing market could provide a solution to being out of work during COVID-19 pandemic

College instructors question why they should wait longer for vaccines than Illinois K-12 educators.

New variants raise worry about COVID-19 virus reinfections.

Coronavirus vaccine rollout leads to frustration, resentment as Americans await their shots.

* Sun-Times live blog headlines

25,000 Chicago Teachers Union members to vote on deal to bring students back for in-person learning

California uses ZIP codes, outreach to boost vaccine equity

An NFL lesson: Masks were not seen as sign of weakness but as sign of responsibility


  1. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 2:06 pm:

    This seems to be the perfect case for name and shame when it comes to the counties/entities refusing the help.

    I know you said “I did not make that up” but come on someone made that up, that can’t be real, can it?

  2. - Homebody - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 2:18 pm:

    Home rule in Illinois is a mess. There is so much inefficiency at the local and county level. Extra taxes, extra costs, extra red tape, just so local politicians can get stick their fingers in everything.

  3. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 2:19 pm:

    “a Chicago physician can go to one of these home rule counties to perform heart surgery with no questions asked, but they can’t stick needles into peoples’ arms”

    This pandemic has revealed so much stupid.

    – MrJM

  4. - JB13 - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 2:20 pm:

    Does the Emergency Management Agency Act not also empower the governor to simply overrule all of those local restrictions with the swipe of a pen?

  5. - walker - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 2:26 pm:

    Or is it in fact an insurance company-driven problem?

  6. - Bruce( no not him) - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 2:27 pm:

    But, we need US to do the sticking not THEM. S/ I think?

  7. - Charlie Wheeler - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 2:32 pm:

    Point of Information

    According to the website of the Illinois Association of County Board Members, “A county which has a chief executive officer is considered a “home rule unit”. A county-wide referendum is required to establish this plan… Cook County is the only home rule county in Illinois. Will County voters elected to go to a county executive form without home rule in 1988. Champaign County voters approved restructure to executive form in 2016.”

    Charlie Wheeler

  8. - Leslie K - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 2:38 pm:

    As Charlie Wheeler points out, only Cook County is a home rule county. And I suspect the home rule municipalities are exceeding their authority–the Medical Practice Act of 1987 limits home rule:

    (225 ILCS 60/6) (from Ch. 111, par. 4400-6)
    (Section scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2022)
    Sec. 6. It is declared to be the public policy of this State, pursuant to paragraphs (h) and (i) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, that any power or function set forth in this Act to be exercised by the State is an exclusive State power or function. Such power or function shall not be exercised concurrently, either directly or indirectly, by any unit of local government, including home rule units, except as otherwise provided in this Act.
    (Source: P.A. 85-4.)

  9. - Ed Equity - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 2:40 pm:

    Just got my 75 and 80 year old parents vaccinated in AZ. It was an efficient machine. Meanwhile my inlaws in IL remain unvaccinated. There is a reason why people are leaving and it becomes clear when you are away.

  10. - Tommydanger - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 2:42 pm:

    I believe Cook County is the only home rule county in Illinois.

  11. - 4 percent - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 3:08 pm:

    The Governor initially authored an Executive Order providing liability protection for doctors and hospitals and then yanked it back under pressure from trial lawyers. He could author another EO to provide liability protections.

  12. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    I am not particularly worried about who gets the shots first. I do want shots in the arms as quickly as possible.

  13. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 3:40 pm:

    “Or is it in fact an insurance company-driven problem?”

    No, it isn’t for a change. Insurance companies care about a provider number, not if you are authorized to provide treatment in a specific geographic area within a state.

  14. - Bigtwich - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 4:01 pm:

    Section 6 of the Illinois Constitution provides,

    (a) A County which has a chief executive officer elected by the electors of the county and any municipality which has a population of more than 25,000 are home rule units. Other municipalities may elect by referendum to become home rule
    units. Except as limited by this Section, a home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health,
    safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt.
    (b) A home rule unit by referendum may elect not to be a home rule unit.

  15. - Amalia - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 4:04 pm:

    pretty soon your constituents will turn into Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment screaming to get her daughter help. just get them the damn shots.

  16. - Leslie K - Tuesday, Feb 9, 21 @ 5:11 pm:

    Bigtwich @4:01–The courts have determined (it might have been the Will county case?) that if a county did not qualify in 1970 (and only Cook did), simply switching to an executive officer scheme does not make a County a home rule county. The people must also separately vote to become home rule. Municipalities “size into” home rule.

    And the legislature may limit home rule authority in specific areas beyond the Constitution, but it requires a 3/5th majority vote(Article VII, Section 6, various sub-sections e.g. (g), (h), (i), (j))

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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