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Federal special education law requires that, if appropriate, a student’s health must be assessed as part of a student’s special education evaluation or re-evaluation. Illinois special education regulations provide that this medical review must contain both subjective and objective information about the student’s health. As of July 1, 2016, new rules took effect in Illinois impacting these requirements (23 Ill. Adm. Code 226.160).

The rules provide that a medical review for the purpose of a special education evaluation or re-evaluation must be conducted by certain qualified personnel. As of July 1, 2016, the following personnel are considered qualified to conduct a medical review:

  • An individual who holds a professional educator license (“PEL”) endorsed for school support personnel in school nursing;
  • An individual licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches (pursuant to the Medical Practice Act of 1987);
  • An individual licensed as a registered professional nurse (pursuant to the Nurse Practice Act) and who also holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing, education, or a related field; or
  • An individual licensed as an advance practice nurse (pursuant to the Nurse Practice Act).

There are certain limited exceptions to these personnel requirements that may allow an individual who was employed by a school district prior to July 1, 2016, to continue to conduct special education medical reviews. ISBE developed a guidance regarding medical reviews and the personnel qualified to conduct them, which can be found here.

These new regulatory requirements impact school district evaluations of students with disabilities and may have labor and personnel implications as well.