Many Retired Illinois Medical Professionals Want To Help With COVID-19 Response, But Some Hit Roadblocks

Chicago News Health

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said Monday that he is getting s positive response from retired health care workers he is asking to go back to work.

“I’ve heard directly and indirectly people are just glad to step forward and be of service, so we are excited to see the influx of workers that want to help out,” Pritzker said.

The governor is asking those retired workers to help fight Illinois’ COVID-19 outbreak. He said red tape would be cut to make it easy for the health care workers who had retired or left the field for other reasons to be reinstated in the industry.

Pritzker said the online form to apply was made available Monday morning.

CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar on Monday found someone who was running into roadblocks.

“We’re in the middle of a battle and we need reinforcements,” Pritzker said Saturday in issuing the call for retired physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other vital health professionals to dust off their scrubs and re-join the front lines.

Retired respiratory therapist Alfred Knuth took the governors plea to heart and wanted to sign up.

“Maybe it’s time for me to come out of retirement and then I can actually help out,” Knuth said. “Everybody has their strengths, and this is one arena I thought I could get back.”

The state is willing to waive fees for reinstatement, and won’t require continuing education for newly-retired and expired health professional licenses.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to help people – whatever it takes,” Knuth said,

But Knuth retired more than five years ago. That is not
considered newly-retired, and thus, Knuth won’t be able to take advantage of the incentives – essentially locking him out of the COVID-19 fight.

“I’ve been around a lot of things, seen a lot of different things -so bottom line is that is pretty much going to obstruct me,” he said.

As a news release from the state explains, physicians whose licenses are expired or have been inactive for less than three years are eligible for the temporary restoration. The same goes for physician assistants.

For licensed practical nurses, professional nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, and respiratory care therapists, like Knuth, the window for how long their license may have been inactive expands to five years.

The temporary practice approvals expire on Sept. 30.

While Knuth does not plan on paying the fees or taking continuing education courses, he is still willing to help in any way he can.

The applications for reinstatement can be found below:

Health Care License Reinstatement
Physician License Reinstatement
Out-of-State Temporary Practice Permit

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