Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, on August 9, 2013, signed legislation (HB 2996) to update the state’s Occupational Therapy Practice Act. The bill makes the following changes to current law: (1) extends the law’s sunset date to January 1, 2024; (2) revises the definitions of occupational therapy and occupational therapy services; (3) enhances access to occupational therapy services by allowing for direct access in certain cases and settings; (4) specifically authorizes that occupational therapy services may be provided via telehealth; and (5) updates administrative provisions in the law. The Illinois Occupational Therapy Association supported HB 2996 and advocated for the bill to be passed and signed into law.
With regards to provisions that improve access to occupational therapy services, HB 2996 states that "a referral is not required for the purpose of providing consultation, habilitation, screening, education, wellness, prevention, environmental assessments, and work-related ergonomic services to individuals, groups, or populations." Additionally, the bill provides that a referral is not required for "evaluation or intervention for children and youths if an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant provides services in a school-based or educational environment, including the child's home." The full text to the enacted legislation is available online here.