Urgent care professionals in Illinois are celebrating this month, thanks to an urgent care physician who helped bring about legislature to allow the term “urgent care” in the state. John Koehler, MD, founding partner of Physicians Immediate Care of Rockford, Ill., was instrumental in gaining approval for this regulatory revision.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the amendment Aug. 15, 2014 lifting the moratorium on the use of the term “urgent care” in the state of Illinois. Starting Jan. 1, 2015, facilities currently using terms such as “immediate care”, “convenient care”, and “walk-in clinic” can rename and market themselves as urgent care. This is an amendment to the Emergency Medical Treatment Act that previously prohibited the use of the term by facilities other than licensed hospitals or freestanding emergency departments.

One of the reasons the Illinois General Assembly determined the change was necessary was due to overuse of hospital emergency rooms for injuries and illnesses that could more appropriately be treated in lower acuity settings. This information influenced the decision allowing the term “urgent care” to be used, and prompted a push for more effective education of consumers on when to use emergency rooms and other medical providers.

For more on the Illinois SB3506, visit the Illinois General Assembly page.