New Laws that HealthCare Professionals Should Know About: New Cultural Competency Requirements and Proof of NCLEX Prep Classes



A new law in Illinois now requires healthcare professionals to take a one-hour cultural competency course.

In Illinois, any healthcare practitioner who requires continuing education hours after January 1, 2025, must attend at least one hour of cultural competency training. See the bill.

This one-hour course may be counted toward meeting the minimum credit hours required for the profession. The act defines cultural competency as a “set of integrated attitudes, knowledge, and skills that enables a health care professional or organization to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups, and communities.”

This new continuing education requirement will apply to most licensed healthcare providers, including but not limited to doctors, nurses, optometrists, phycologists, pharmacists, dentists, social workers, therapists, and counselors (etc.). A “health care professional” is defined as any person licensed or registered by the Department under the professional statute in Illinois. This includes those licensed under the following acts:

  • Medical Practice Act of 1987
  • Nurse Practice Act
  • Clinical Psychologist Licensing Act
  • Illinois Optometric Practice Act of 1987
  • Illinois Physical Therapy Act
  • Pharmacy Practice Act
  • Physician Assistant Practice Act of 1987
  • Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act
  • Nursing Home Administrators Licensing and Disciplinary Act
  • Illinois Occupational Therapy Practice Act
  • Podiatric Medical Practice Act of 1987
  • Respiratory Care Practice Act
  • Professional Counselor and Clinical
  • Professional Counselor Licensing and Practice Act
  • Illinois Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Practice Act
  • the Illinois Dental Practice Act
  • Illinois Dental Practice Act
  • Behavioral Analyst Licensing Act.

The Illinois Healthcare Cultural Competency Coalition applauded the passage of the bill. Equality Illinois, a member of the Coalition, said that the legislation was enacted to help healthcare professionals better serve communities of color, people with disabilities, people of diverse faiths, undocumented individuals, LGBTQ+ people, people living with HIV, intersex people, and other communities who have been marginalized in the healthcare system

In May 2023, HB 2450 passed the Illinois House and Senate with 103-01 and 52-04 votes. Governor Pritzker signed the bill on August 11, 2023, with the bill taking effect on January 1, 2025, as Public Act 103-0531.

Another new law imposes new education requirements for nursing grads and nursing schools, extends probationary status for three more years, and establishes new NCLEX metric standards.

Any nursing school student who graduates after January 1, 2024, and fails to take the NCLEX within 180 days after receiving a degree or fails the NCLEX twice will be required to demonstrate proof that they completed an NCLEX prep class or comparable test prep program before sitting for their next examination. A graduate may also return to the institution/school from which they graduated, and the school must provide free remedial educational resources for students. The bill requirements are codified in 225 ILCS 65/60-10 (b-3) and (b-4). In addition to these changes, any applicant seeking to retake the NCLEX must contact the institution of higher education from which they graduated before retesting.

Another significant change to the bill allows Nursing schools on probationary status three additional years to comply with testing requirements. Under 60-10 (b-4), if a nursing program is on probationary status on January 1, 2024, the institution shall be considered in “good standing” with the Department for an additional three years. No nursing program shall be placed on probationary status before September 1, 2026, for failing to reach an NCLEX passage rate of less than 75%.

The bill provides professional nursing schools a new way to measure student success by evaluating passage rates over a 3-year average. Under The Nurse Practice Act (225 ILCS 65/60-5(a)(1)-(3)), all registered professional nurse education programs must be reviewed by the Board and approved by the Department. This includes any programs that are applied toward meeting the requirements for registered professional nurse licensure and any changes to existing programs.

Licensed nursing schools that want to alter their programs, such as changing their educational approach, modifying their affiliation with parent institutions, or introducing new program extensions, must request a review by the Board and obtain approval from the Department.

In addition to feasibility studies and State-mandated curriculum requirements already in place, this new law allows the board to review and make recommendations for the approval or disapproval of a program with an additional criterion that measures the “[NCLEX] passage rate of graduates over the three most recent calendar years without reference to first-time test takers.”

In May of 2023, HB 2509 passed the Illinois House and Senate with an 82-31 and 55-0-1 vote. Governor Pritzker signed the bill on August 11, 2023, with the bill taking effect on January 1, 2024, as Public Act 103-0533.

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas

LinkedIn | Google

Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association.