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Chicago Healthcare License Defense LawyersWhen the pandemic started in March of 2020, many individuals found themselves in an unfamiliar situation: they had unlimited time at home. Individuals were encouraged to quarantine and stay at home to help us better navigate the pandemic. With this situation came one simple trend: an extreme boom in pet adoption. People far and wide were adopting their first pet, or adding more pets to their home. This was, in part, perhaps due to boredom, or perhaps due to the desirable opportunity of being able to spend as much time with the pet as possible. Regardless of the reason, pet ownership has peaked in 2020 and into 2021.

Meanwhile, veterinarians, considered essential workers, stayed open during the pandemic. Protocols may have changed, but animals still needed to be seen. Licensed veterinary professionals widely experienced a notable surge in patients and clients. People who had never had pets before due to time and lifestyle constraints were needing to book appointments for their newly adopted cat or dog. Commonly, newly adopted pets will need vaccinations, boosters, medications, preliminary check-ups, and sometimes even health-related treatments early on in their lives. For example, purebred animals often have health issues due to inbreeding or improper care. Pet owners, especially those who have never had pets before, are usually wildly unprepared for the costs and time spent ensuring their pet is safe and healthy.

A new trend has started to emerge, as noted by professionals who work in the animal care industry: new pet owners are beginning to return their pets to shelters or other adoption centers, or even surrendering the pets at veterinary offices. There are several reasons why this is occurring. With the slowing of the pandemic and the return to normalcy, people are going back to work in offices, and no longer have time to take care of pets. Some may also feel guilt that their pet, who had been enjoying time at home with their owner, will now be alone during work hours. Pet owners, especially those who had not previously had a pet, may also be shocked and burdened by the sometimes-unexpected costs of pet ownership. Another fiscal issue might be that pet owners have lost their steady income due to the pandemic and can no longer afford basic care for their pets. These reasons, and more, are what professionals have noted as the impetus for returning pets.

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Illinois Healthcare License Defense LawyersThe dental industry experienced several unique conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, comparative to other licensed professionals. Prior to these conditions, dentists and hygienists certainly already had particularly sensitive working conditions with strict PPE protocols. Given the fact that their industry relies directly on work within the mouth, a pandemic that is spread through the nose and mouth is particularly detrimental to the ability to safely perform work.

Just like many industries, most dental practices initially closed at the start of the pandemic. However, due to the fact that their work requires access to the mouth, a threat of direct exposure during the pandemic from potentially ill clients was something that many professionals had to seriously consider when thinking of reopening. Many industries were able to implement strict social distancing protocols and mask mandates and greatly reduce the risk of spread and exposure; however, the dental industry is unable to follow all of these protocols since a mask cannot be worn during treatment. The common solution was to implement more stringent PPE protocols on behalf of the dentist or hygienist, who often wear a combination of face shield, (K)N95 masks, gloves, scrubs, hair nets, and other protective wear to help reduce their risk when treating clients. The costs of purchasing PPE increased exponentially and often became difficult to find for many professionals.

The particularly focused risk of exposure made many professionals delay reopening and remain closed as infection spread. Although remote work was/is an option for many industries, there is very little that can be done in the dental industry beyond internal billing and general administrative work. Income is produced almost solely from in-patient visits. If patients are not allowed in the office or the office is entirely closed, then income cannot be generated. Many dental professionals suffered from an extreme loss of income that could only be rectified if they reopened under what were considered to be generally unsafe conditions. This struggle placed many professionals in a precarious position with few options for help. The inevitability of reopening and the unwavering support of client demand has allowed many of those who struggled to bounce back as conditions improve in the pandemic.

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Chicago Healthcare License Defense AttorneysThe clerical aspect of data collection in the medical industry is not often included in the immediate list of important concerns for licensed medical professionals. However, what data is collected, how it is collected, how it is distributed, and how it is accessed are just a few of the common, overarching issues that licensed medical professionals may personally encounter, and certainly a larger issue in the industry as a whole.

One component that makes the data itself problematic is the manner by which it is collected. A patient may see multiple providers, or go to multiple medical facilities. They may employ their insurance for certain visits, but other visits may not be covered. How does the patient’s medical history from one hospital visit make it into their file when they visit a completely different hospital or doctor? What about if they visit a hospital or medical facility in an entirely different city, state, or even country? Each individual facility certainly collects the data on the patient and retains it within their system. However, these systems are isolated and subject to the particular protocols of that specific facility that the patient visited. Of course, other medical facilities can “order” this patient history from different medical facilities, but this process is inconsistent and may take precious time that is needed to properly treat the patient.

In addition to the isolated nature of medical data collection, the issue is that a patient is often expected to self-report their entire medical history to help better guide their treating physician. Patients are unreliable for various reasons, including shame/guilt/embarrassment, forgetting and inadvertently omitting medical visits and information, improperly remembering specific medical issues, lack of knowledge on previously used medications, inability to correctly identify dates, times, and facilities, and so much more. If a patient enters a medical treatment facility, the licensed medical professional may simply rely on the patient to provide a relatively accurate snapshot of their medical history, and this is not reliable. This occurs, in short, because our nation does not have a systemwide medical data program that allows each person to have a conglomerate report of their medical history to easily provide to the person treating them.

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Healthcare License Defense AttorneyLicensed chiropractors know that it requires extensive training, practice, and investment in time and money to become a professional licensed chiropractor in the state of Illinois. Despite the fact that chiropractors are governed by the Illinois State Medical Disciplinary Board, there is still a prevalent general stigma against licensed chiropractors due to years of false conflation/comparisons to other licensed medical professionals, and the general idea that chiropractors perform some kind of pseudo-medicine. We at Williams & Nickl know that is not the case, and we support our licensed chiropractors. However, we are aware of the particular stigmas that they face.

Arguably the most common misconception is that chiropractors are not “real” medical professionals and that their medical practices are not based in any kind of established science or medicine. In reality, as licensed professionals know, chiropractors are required by the state medical board to undergo extensive education and training, and this education often overlaps with all the basic medical and science studies that other medical professionals experience. They are also required to take and pass multiple national board exams to become licensed, in addition to their own state’s requirements. While there are distinct differences between a licensed physician and a licensed chiropractor, for example, both licensed professionals are rooted in a background of medicine and science with extensive education and training.

There is also the assumption that chiropractic medicine is not rooted in real medicine/science, and that the practices are just nonsense, or, worst case scenario, chiropractic techniques can irreparably harm a patient’s body. Just like in all medical and scientific fields, things can go wrong, or mistakes can happen. However, they are extremely rare, and occur in spite of the most stringent practices and protocols. If a medical mistake occurs, the stigma against chiropractors seems “justified,” and this is in part due to the overarching idea that chiropractors do not perform valid medicine. In reality, they have extensive knowledge of the body and this stigma largely stems from the baseless assumption that adjusting joints in the way that chiropractors do is simply random or meaningless.

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Healthcare License Defense LawyerAny licensed social worker across the country faces similar commonplace issues that directly stem from nationwide systemic problems such as: poverty, racism, classism, domestic and community violence, accessibility to education, and so much more. Social workers often find themselves helping families who are struggling to get their basic needs met, and it can be extremely disillusioning/disheartening to witness the experiences and daily lives of these individuals. Worse yet, many social workers cite the inability to resolve these issues, or provide substantive assistance when the issues are deeply rooted in society.

In Chicago, social workers face the above-outlined challenges, and even more. For social workers who practice within the educational system, they likely find themselves in Chicago Public Schools, which is the third largest school district in the country, and publicly known to be rife with various shortcomings, specifically due to the large number of students coming from various backgrounds. Chicago is extremely diverse, but there is a clear divide of race and class across the North and South sides. Notably, people of color, specifically Chicago’s Black residents, are systemically disenfranchised and face unique experiences of poverty, violence, lack of community support, and lack of educational options. Social workers are often employed within schools, where it is easier to reach a larger number of struggling individuals, but certainly also interact with these folks on a community “door-to-door” level. Licensed Social Workers in Chicago specifically note this clear segregation between the quality of life for Chicago’s white residents and its residents of color.

Chicago social workers cite the greatest area concern with the prevalence of high caseloads. Due to racial and class inequality in Chicago perpetuated by the long history of segregation between the North and South sides, and the perpetuation of this inequality by the last few decades of local government, Chicago struggles immensely in providing a high quality of life to all of its residents. Social workers note that with such high caseloads, they are often travelling across the city to various residences, or, if they are working within an educational setting, they are often expected to provide care to multiple institutions, sometimes even in the same day. Social workers are forced to hop from location to location, and the ability to provide help is limited by these conditions.

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