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Update on CHW Legislation – House Bill 5412

Erica Martinez
May 16, 2014
Health & Medicine continues to have an active role in the legislative process of monitoring and garnering support for House Bill 5412 (HB5412). HB5412 is a bill that formally recognizes Community Health Workers (CHWs) as an integral part of our healthcare teams. As of this writing, the bill is currently in the Senate, and we anticipate that they will vote on it in the coming days. We would like to take this opportunity to update stakeholders about the bill’s history, its current status in the legislature, and recent amendments.

HB5412 adopts the American Public Health Association’s Community Health Worker section’s definition of a CHW, and establishes an advisory board to provide recommendations and consider essential core competencies. HB5412 was originally introduced by State Representative of the 18th district, Robyn Gabel. Health & Medicine, along with other key stakeholders, such as the Chicago CHW Local Network, the governor’s office, and the Illinois Department of Public Health, helped produce the CHW bill. The bill is currently being considered for a vote in the Senate.  HB5412 was first sponsored in the Senate by Senator David Koehler of the 46thdisctrict.

HB5412 is a vital first step to acknowledging the important contributions in public health and disease management of the CHW workforce and the challenges that CHWs face in our healthcare landscape. The CHW bill in Illinois has gathered numerous co-sponsors in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The bill currently has 16 sponsors: Rep. William Davis, Rep. Robyn Gabel, Rep. Esther Golar, Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, Rep. Naomi D. Jakobsson, Rep. Camille Y. Lilly, Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, James F. Clayborne, Jr., Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins, Sen. William Delgado, Don Harmon, Sen. Napoleon Harris, III, Sen. Mattie Hunter, Sen. David Koehler, Sen. Patricia Van Pelt , and Sen. Donne E. Trotter. In addition, this bill has 40 supporting organizations.

The CHW bill has had two amendments in the legislative process; Amendment No. 1 was adopted in the House and Amendment No. 2 was adopted in the Senate. HB5412 passed in the House with the inclusion of the changes brought forth by Amendment No. 1. Amendment No. 2, which was introduced in the Senate, included substantial changes. If HB5412 passes in the Senate, the bill must then return for a vote in the House.  Below you will find a summary of the key differences in the bill with the amendments.

Summary of Amendment No.1 Changes to HB5412 in the House:
The key changes to the original bill were made to the deliverables of the CHW Advisory Board (which would be housed in the Illinois Department of Public Health); time frames and includes the additional language listed below.

Amendment No. 1:
  • Added research and oral communication skills to the list of core competencies.
  • The Advisory Board shall be representative of different racial, ethnic, and geographic areas.
  • The Advisory Board will develop and submit a proposed plan (of recommendations) by December 31, 2014 (or 9 months after first meeting).
  • The Advisory Board will serve without compensation (reimbursement for reasonable expenses will be available) and will have the Department’s administrative and staff support.
  • Sunset clause was included and the board would dissolve on January 1, 2015.

Summary of Amendment No. 2 Changes to HB5412 in the Senate:
The key changes were in the composition of the Advisory Board and the timeframe of the deliverables.

Amendment No. 2:
  • Advisory Board would be comprised of 15 members in order to keep a majority of CHWs on the advisory board
  • A licensed physician and a licensed nurse representative are on the Board.
  • CHW Board membership representation outlines different Illinois counties (Cook, DuPage, Bond and others).
  • Possible members of the Board will no longer include training and curriculum specialist or social science professionals, such as anthropologist.
  • Voting members would elect a board chair instead of having one selected by the Director of Public Health.
  • A report of recommendation should be ready 12 months after the first meeting.
  • Removed reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred for the Board.
  • Sunset clause of board dissolving on January 1, 2015 was removed.

HB5412 with both amendments adopted can be found here. Despite changes to the bill, it continues to be a necessary first step toward formally recognizing the CHW workforce in Illinois. You can stay informed and take action to ensure HB5412 passes and becomes a reality! Find our action alert here and the fact sheet here. We urge you to stay engaged and contact your representatives to vote yes for HB5412!