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shutterstock_1478187425.jpgEven before the global pandemic, the field of veterinary medicine was full of daily pitfalls and long-term challenges. The last two years have brought about a multitude of changes in how veterinarians operate their business and what is demanded of them by their customers. Some challenges are new, and some have merely been accelerated. 

Trials Facing Veterinarians

As they look to establish their practice or stay current and competitive in their field, veterinarians must balance new and existing obstacles. Here are some of the top challenges facing veterinarians and veterinary practices. 

Staff attrition and burnout - It can be difficult to keep a veterinary practice running without highly trained and dedicated staff. Working with animals every day can be a physically demanding and emotionally draining job. Every level of staff deals must provide customer service and care to individuals who often have deep emotional ties to their pets. This can be especially true for pet owners who have developed even closer bonds with their pets coming out of the pandemic. There continues to be a high turnover rate for licensed veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and staff at veterinary practices. 


shutterstock_1668328987.jpgFor any individual to legally own a gun or ammunition in Illinois, the state requires that they obtain a Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card. While the actual process of applying for a FOID card is simple, if you have a criminal record that includes a felony conviction, you face additional challenges. At Williams & Nickl, LLC, we can help you understand the requirements of qualifying for a FOID card with a felony conviction and work to restore your gun ownership rights

Impacts of a Felony Conviction on Gun Ownership in Illinois

With a complete application, a copy of your driver’s license, a recent picture, and a $10 fee, most Illinois residents over the age of 21 can receive a FOID card. While other factors may prevent individuals from obtaining their FOID card, including a history of mental health problems or substance abuse concerns, a felony conviction can have the most lasting impact on your application. Once you are convicted of a felony, you automatically lose your ability to have or obtain a FOID card. In order to restore your eligibility, you must demonstrate to the State Police Director or a county court judge that you meet the following criteria:

  • No violent or forcible felony convictions in the last 20 years


shutterstock_200278673.jpgMany women choose to use midwives during the birth of their children. However, until recently, Illinois did not provide separate licensing for midwives. Currently, only registered nurses who underwent additional training and met certain requirements have been recognized as nurse-midwives in the state. Under legislation signed by Governor Pritzker in February, midwives without nursing degrees will be able to gain licensing. The new law will take effect on October 1, 2022.

Illinois Midwife Licensing Basics

After October, licensed midwives will have the right to provide care for women before, during, and after deliveries outside of a hospital setting as long as the pregnancies and deliveries are deemed low-risk. They will also be able to provide women with other forms of medical care, including well-woman care, care and supervision during pregnancy, performing pap smears, and screening for STDs.

In order to provide this prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care, midwives will need to meet qualification standards, education, and training. They may also be subject to disciplinary steps and malpractice claims.


shutterstock_1701457318-1.jpgThe opioid epidemic in the United States has become a "hot button" issue not only with federal prosecutors but among families at the dinner table. Nearly half a million people have died of opioid-related overdose in the last 20 years. The opioid crisis has touched many people personally, whether it is a family member’s struggle with addiction or their own. Highly relevant in the conversation of opioids is the duty of care of physicians when prescribing and the numerous cases of abuse of that duty through the operation of so-called ‘pill mills.’

Two pending cases in the Supreme Court of the United States brought by two physicians previous convicted of overprescribing opioids, (Kahn v. United States and Ruan v. United States) ask the court to contemplate whether a uniform criminal standard should be applied to physicians in opioid cases that permits a ‘good faith’ defense for accused physicians. Currently, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 holds that doctors cannot prescribe opioids and other controlled substances unless there is a prescription for a legitimate medical purpose as determined by a physician acting in the usual course of his professional practice.

The phrase ‘legitimate medical purpose’ has given rise to different interpretations by federal appellate courts. Some federal appellate courts hold that physicians can be convicted for prescribing opioids regardless of the ‘legitimate medical purpose’ so long as the prescriptions were uncommon or not permitted by standards of accepted medical practice.


shutterstock_1518039839.jpgWhenever one hears the terms “mortician,” or “funeral director,” the image our mind conjures is that of a black-clad male figure. However, since 2017, there has been a marked increase in women taking up the mantle and changing the industry.

Historically, caring for the deceased and preparing their bodies was considered women’s work. Going as far back as Ancient Greece or even the Civil War, women conducted the death rites, primarily in the home. Shrouding women or midwives would cleanse the body and prepare it for burial. Women were seen as more intuitive and emotionally sensitive to the bereaved’s needs, making them a more natural fit for the role. It was only when funerals and embalming became a career in the late 19th century that women were forced back into traditional domestic roles.

In a business that has historically been slow to embrace change, the wave of women working in funeral homes is changing the stereotype of the man in the somber black suit. They have often had to fight social stigmas and old-fashioned mentalities: women can’t lift coffins, women shouldn’t be exposed to embalming chemical while pregnant, etc. Despite the prejudice, women have continued to enter deathcare, especially as the industry itself is currently shifting the way it approaches funerals.


shutterstock_171030227.jpg“We’re in the middle of a battle, and we need reinforcements,” the Governor said in his call to action. “Come back and join the fight.”

Illinois was among those states counting on retired (or even soon-to-be retired) medical personnel to stave the onslaught of COVID-19 cases in hospitals and to administer much needed vaccines. In early 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker slashed through the bureaucratic red tape by waiving state licensing fees, expediting license renewals and extending soon-to-be-expired licenses for healthcare professionals.

(Active license reinstatement waivers are scheduled to expire May 31, 2022, per the 12/20/21 IDFPR Proclamation.)


shutterstock_258405011.jpgStarting in 2022, the Illinois State Police (ISP) Firearms Services Bureau (FSB) has debuted a new way of getting information relating to a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card (FOID) or Conceal Carry Permit (CCL) applications. Changes to the ISP FSB Portal include new notification options, as well as self-serve Kiosks at three locations.

“The Illinois State Police Firearms Services Bureau is working diligently to ensure the statutory changes to the FOID Act will benefit the people of Illinois,” stated ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “This opt out option will make it easier and quicker for the public to receive notifications regarding their FOID card and/or CCL,” concluded Kelly.

The notification options include receiving emails or text messages instead of the traditional letter through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Many people who have applied for a FOID or CCL never receive their letters. Others spend months or years waiting on a response. The notification system provides a more reliable way of receiving information on the status of an application.


shutterstock_344377493.jpgWhile nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals have been heavily exposed to compassion fatigue during the wave after wave of COVID-19, funeral directors have not been among those studied. Yet, those working in deathcare have been subject to the same risks for compassion fatigue as other caregivers.

 Compassion fatigue is an emotional and physical drain for those working closely with anyone dealing with pain and/or suffering. It consists of two main factors: burnout and secondary trauma. Burnout can come through frustration with the work environment. Compassion fatigue has also been called a burnout specific to caregivers. Secondary trauma refers to the repeated exposure to painful details of the lives of patients, which can be intensively exhausting for caregivers. Failing to recognize the symptoms and get some form of mental care can lead to more serious mental health issues such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Those on the front line of COVID-19 have already seen this as a recurring phenomenon among caregivers in stressful situations. Among those ranks are funeral directors who often fall by the wayside and are given less attention than their medical healthcare counterparts.

 Funeral directors have been interfacing with bereaving families throughout the pandemic. On top of the pain of losing a loved one, many traditions, ceremonies, and gatherings have been denied to the grieving. Showing empathy to clients is a core part of the deathcare business, but COVID-19 has changed the way many funeral directors approach their job, being deprived of even extending a comforting hand. Along with wanting to provide strength to those in mourning, deathcare workers must balance their professionalism with the same fears the general public has: fear of contagion, fear of carrying the virus home to loved ones, fear for their co-workers. There are relatively few studies on the mental health of funeral directors. The studies that have been performed, showed that funeral directors run a higher risk of developing mental health problems like depression. The pandemic has caused cumulative exposure to stressful incidents, a high number of funerals, longer working hours, and the many difficulties to maintain the quality of work as before all may have an impact on mental health.


shutterstock_1893274216.jpgSnow brings with it plenty of fun events: skiing, sledding, building snowmen, snowball fights. However, Veterinarians say it can also bring with it serious health concerns to pets, especially dogs. If you’ve ever seen a dog hopping or limping down a snowy sidewalk, whimpering at the heels of their human, the culprit is very likely rock salt (sodium chloride).

Chicago winters are especially harsh. We vacillate between warm winter days and polar vortex storms. When the snow begins, people are quick to throw down the rock salt. It is a necessary evil. Rock salt helps melt down snow and give traction. As it melts, the salt-water slush resulting from the melting of snow the salt crystals can attach to the animal’s paw pads and cause irritation and burning. It can also lead to inflammation, soreness, and bacterial infections.

Rock salt is doubly dangerous to dogs. They may end up licking their paws in an effort to remove the discomfort between their paws. Ingesting rock salt can cause vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, seizures, erratic behavior, disorientation, extreme tiredness, an unnaturally intense third, or excessive drooling or salivating. If you see any of these warning signs, call your vet if you suspect there is a problem. Your vet will likely deliver intravenous medication/fluids and monitor your pet to ensure the condition does not worsen. In extreme cases, dogs could even slip into comas or die as a result of ingesting too much sodium chloride.


shutterstock_566594038.jpgBig news! IDFPR just changed the law governing basic training requirements for Private Detectives, Private Security Contractors, and Private Alarm Contractors AND their employees. It is effective 01-01-22. We break the law down by profession. Note that Fred and I wrote these new training provisions at the request of several private detectives and guard industry associations.


Private Detectives (PD)


shutterstock_1251170581.jpgLast spring, Illinois dispensary workers and consumers noticed there was mold in a popular brand of pre-rolled marijuana joints. State regulators determined that numerous batches were potentially contaminated. The Chicago Sun Times “watchdog” section broke the story on December 10, 2021.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is the licensing agency for Illinois marijuana dispensaries and their employees. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (Act) provides for the controlled legalization of adult-use cannabis in Illinois. Pursuant to the Act, IDFPR is charged with implementing and administrating multiple aspects of the program, including the licensing and oversight of dispensing organizations, dispensary agents, and agent education providers.

Despite its statutorily mandated oversight responsibilities, IDFPR never told the public about the mold infestation. Instead, IDFPR opted to send an email to dispensary operators which discretely instructed them to quarantine a cannabis flower product made by a certain producer. Dispensaries were left with a quagmire of compliance and liability issues which were compounded by IDFPR’s inaction and lack of guidance.


shutterstock_1817934827.jpgThe Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s (IDFPR) license renewal procedures recently underwent a conversion to permit online filing. As a result of the conversion, IDFPR was late in the initiation of accepting license renewals from several licensed professionals, including: 

  • Certified Public Accountants/Registered Certified Public Accountants

  • Cosmetologists


shutterstock_114938944-1.jpgThe Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board, whose function is to consider any objection to an applicant's eligibility to obtain a Concealed Carry License (CCL), recently explained the various factors causing delay in issuing new licenses.  

A board member testifying in front of the Senate Executive Appointments Committee provided insights regarding the delay in the processing and review of hundreds of CCL appeals. The Board member offered valuable insight stating that sometimes the delays are the result of a lack of evidence and other materials provided by the objecting law enforcement agency.

The Concealed Carry Licensing Review Board is responsible for reviewing as many as 600 objections per month. Because of the sheer volume of applications, approvals are often delinquent. Teleconferencing has significantly improved the Board’s efficiency, but use of technology can only relieve the backlog so much.


shutterstock_1454438033.jpgThe Supreme Court of Illinois ruled that felons may apply for restoration of firearms civil rights and describes the discretion granted to the director and courts when making their determination. 

Recently, the Supreme Court of Illinois issued its opinion in Evans v. Cook County State’s Attorney, 2021 IL 125513. Evans considered whether Section 10 of the FOID Card Act – which establishes a process for relief from firearms disabilities – automatically and permanently makes this relief unavailable to convicted of felons. The Supreme Court of Illinois determined that Section 10 of the FOID Card Act was intended to be a mechanism for firearm civil rights restoration for some convicted felons. 

Evans was convicted of two felonies in 1994. Both were related to the manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance. Evans applied for a FOID card in 2018 but was denied. The Illinois State Police’s (ISP) justification for the denial was based on federal law. The ISP argued that Section 922(g)(1) of the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm when that person “has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.” 


Illinois Business License Defense AttorneyAccountants can face many potential issues throughout their career as a licensed professional. If one wants to pursue the field, one must be aware of the variety of situations that can come with providing a service to the public and being regulated by the state’s standard of codes.

Setting aside clientele interaction, there are certainly internal problems that can occur and can equally impact one’s ability to practice accounting. The office could have employees that are not following proper accounting practices, cutting corners, or even ignoring certain practices from their clients (i.e., distribution of funds, business tax returns, etc.). Equally important, it is the business’ responsibility to follow the current and exact protocols for recordkeeping, renew licensure, and, obviously, that their clients are not involved in fraudulent tax issues. If there are any faltering employees or practices within this machine, one’s license and ability to practice accounting could be put on the line. Thus, it is important to maintain an active role within the firm since one is held accountable regardless of complicity in any potential issue.

Accountants are privy to and responsible for individuals’ and businesses’ most private and sensitive financial information. It is of utmost importance to maintain these standards and protect this information with unmatched levels of professionalism. Because of the nature of these particular conditions, clients may be particularly sensitive about their financial information or what their tax situation involves/represents; having the ability to get the job done without placing a client in an uncomfortable situation or pushing them outside of their comfort zone is integral. If these standards are not maintained, the licensed professional runs the risk of being on the receiving end of a complaint from a disgruntled client.


Illinois Business License Defense AttorneyFor licensed funeral directors and embalmers, there are a variety of potential issues that could occur within the profession, both industry-specific and even license-specific issues that could affect the individual’s ability to practice their profession.

Making sure the families of the decedent understand the process, the cost, the options, and other related conditions is integral to both the quality of the client’s experience, and the ability to avoid potential complaints placed against their license. If funeral directors communicate properly about the real costs of the services they provide, and genuinely attempt to provide the most appropriate funeral package to the individual instead of simply pushing the most expensive option regardless of the fit, clients are going to feel comfortable with their decision and feel supported during a very difficult time. Hiding costs/fees or purposefully pushing a specific package with a hidden agenda is not in best practice and could even create a licensing issue if the client decides to pursue a case against the funeral director for these behaviors.

It is also important to explain the options for the body of the decedent. Generally speaking, a few funeral directors may push for the embalming/funeral/casket route because it brings in more money. Although some clients will naturally go this route regardless of cost, the option to cremate is sometimes not even shared or touched upon with the client likely due to the fact that it is a much cheaper option and will generate less revenue. However, many clients would still prefer the full range of options provided to them, and if cremation is ignored, the individual could even file a complaint against them for failing to provide all possible options, or because the client feels like they were swindled by being led toward the more expensive and intensive option.


Chicago Business License Defense LawyerCPAs have not been untouched by the pandemic; their industry, too, faces specific challenges directly pertaining to the pandemic. These challenges come in the form of different deadlines, IRS closures, various tax credits, stimulus payments, and amendments to law during tax season.

The IRS closed in March of 2020 due to the threat of the pandemic, and as of Summer 2021, was still in the process of slowly reopening facilities. This closure meant that employees were working from home, or on furlough, while tax returns and other tax-related communications rolled into the temporarily closed IRS facility. Citizens who mailed in their tax returns or estimated tax payments during this period of time are most likely still waiting for the process to be fulfilled as the IRS had millions of backlogged mail. Unfortunately for their clients and their own peace of mind, CPAs could do nothing to rectify this situation. It was certainly equally stressful for CPAs to not receive their clients’ filed tax returns, estimated tax payments, and other related matters. General communication with the IRS was/is also virtually impossible, which makes it even more difficult to determine the status of anything. These issues may take months, if not years, to fully unravel and rectify.

Despite the pandemic and the closure of the IRS, there were many federally implemented changes to either tax deadlines, tax law, or the creation of credits and payments that would eventually affect the accounting industry. While it is not necessarily uncommon for the government to move the tax filing deadline, the circumstances for this movement were unique, and the deadline was extended further out than normally done. Deadlines for tax extension payments and for retirement contributions were also altered. Licensed accounting professionals were expected to keep up with these random, sudden changes as they occurred to keep their clients informed, even when the occurrences weren’t clear or were unprecedented with no prior examples for reference.


Illinois Business License Defense LawyerA widely-documented and much-discussed phenomena is occurring in the housing market right now – homes are being listed well above the estimated value, and furthermore, people are buying these houses at amounts even higher than the already inflated asking price. Home inspections are being waived and offers are being rejected if buyers try to suggest them. Sellers are heavily counter-offering. Buyers are putting down fully cash offers. Deals are closing within 3 weeks. The list goes on. If there were two words to describe the housing market for most of 2020 and 2021, the words would be “frantic” and “unprecedented.” Real estate brokers have adapted to these conditions now, but what about the theoretical inevitable stagnation of these conditions?

Many economics and real estate industry experts have been hypothesizing for months if, and when, these aforementioned conditions will change and the market will revert to a calmer, more seller-buyer balanced harmony. Generally speaking, there are multiple reasons why these conditions cannot be sustained or will not sustain themselves. Although the demand is extremely high, the reasons for it are subject to change. Conditions of the pandemic have created these circumstances by which people either have the freedom to move elsewhere due to the prevalence of remote work, or because staying at home for so long has caused individuals to reevaluate their home space and to pursue better ventures. Similarly, sellers are listing their houses solely, in many cases, just to get a chance to sell their houses at a higher price than valued due to the high demand from buyers. If a buyer purchases a home above the asking or listing price, they could have trouble reselling the home when the market calms down or lose their equity when the amount they purchased it for is impossible to recapture upon selling it. While this does not necessarily affect the market overall, it certainly affects the experience of the seller and buyer.

If the conditions of the pandemic effectively created the market as it is, then the eventual improvement of the current health crisis may also affect the duration of this frantic, unprecedented market. As infections reduce and businesses reopen, and society goes back to “normal,” priorities and needs will inevitably change. The waves generated by the fervency of buying and selling will calm down, and people will either stay rooted and enjoy their new neighborhoods and cities, or alternatively, feel trapped by their decision and unable to resell at the amount in which they purchased the house. Just as they had to learn to navigate the current market, licensed professionals in the real estate industry will also have to (re)learn how to navigate calmer and smoother waters. Market literacy is a must.


Illinois Healthcare License Defense LawyerAlthough there are varying types of licenses for nurses, all types of licensed nursing professionals are equally underappreciated within their industry. It is a longstanding issue in our culture that nurses are simply there, and expected to be, with almost no acknowledgment of their incredibly difficult work environments and their understated utility in society. Simply put, we need nurses to survive, to heal, to navigate difficult medical situations, and despite the fact that we collectively know this, there is very little support given back to nurses. This lack of support manifests in extremely long hours, difficult clientele, difficult coworkers and management, devaluing from other healthcare professionals (such as physicians), and underpayment of wages comparative to the work that they do.

Understaffing, which we have previously written about, is the crux of many hardships that nurses face. Nursing applicants cannot apply fast enough to become licensed nurses. Because of the shortage of nurses, the work environment becomes much more tumultuous. People still get sick and need medical help at the same rate as they do whether nurses are prevalent or not, and there is little reprieve. This would already be difficult with an appropriate number of nurses, considering the work of caring for patients is very hard even if rewarding. However, due to the ongoing shortage, RNs, LPNs, and APNs all equally struggle despite having different licensure. Society generally does not understand the differences between these licenses, either, which places nurses in an undervalued position.

Nursing started out as a female-specific profession that allowed women to dip their toes into the medical field, without being able to be doctors. Although some things have certainly changed, including the fact that women are allowed to become physicians and nursing is no longer a female-only profession, there are a couple of factors that still align with this origin: poor pay because of the undervalued position, and the stigma of being relegated to a “lesser” position in the medical field. The reality is nurses are an integral, vital part of any medical environment and facilities would undoubtedly collapse without their presence. Despite this fact, nurses still struggle with inadequate pay comparative to their utility and necessity. When one is underpaid, feelings of underappreciation are commonly present. Being paid adequately is not just a fiscal matter, but also heavily factors into mental health, stress levels, and general self-value. Even if nurses continued to be overworked, being paid an amount that is appropriate for the work that they endure would tremendously improve working conditions and the self-valuation that occurs within the profession.


Illinois Healthcare License Defense LawyerDoctors are lauded figures in society who represent stability, health, safety, and trust. We often turn to doctors when we feel something is wrong with our bodies, and they help us get better and improve the quality of our lives. They are also heroic figures who save us in emergency situations. Yet licensed medical professionals of varying types are often struggling with substance abuse issues, and this reliance on substances directly stems from the harsh and unforgiving working conditions they endure.

It should not be surprising to hear that many licensed medical professionals struggle with abuse of alcohol, opioids, stimulants, and other drugs. They endure long hours, and often are called back into work outside of their normal hours to attend to emergency matters. They are always “on call,” literally and figuratively. If the long hours do not affect their livelihood, then one can point to a variety of other factors, including tragic medical situations, patient death, difficult patients, tumultuous management within their medical facility, staffing issues including negative relationships with coworkers and understaffing, and so much more. It is inarguable to say that licensed medical professionals endure immense stress in their careers. There is a proven link between stress and subsequent substance abuse.

Many medical professionals do not have a support system to help them cope with their difficult experiences in their careers. If the professional has a spouse who does not work in the same industry, there is a disconnect despite the spouse’s best efforts, because they simply do not have the same experiences. Yet if the spouse is also in the same industry, with both individuals struggling with these elements, it can be impossible to find the energy to support one another. Therapy and other mental health related support are recommended, but many licensed medical professionals cannot find the time to attend, or even find a therapist who can provide services after normal working hours. Lack of support can simply exacerbate existing emotional and mental issues, and cause a greater reliance on substances to cope.

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