The Care of Students with Diabetes Act Becomes Law
The Illinois legislature overrode the Governor’s prior amendatory veto of HB 6065 to enact the Care of Students with Diabetes Act. The Governor had suggested delaying the effective date of the Care Act to June 1, 2011, to give the legislature a chance to pass more comprehensive legislation that applies to all students with chronic illness, not just diabetes. Instead, the legislature’s veto makes the Care Act effective immediately.
In summary, the Care Act establishes a process for ensuring students diagnosed with diabetes receive care at school and at school sponsored activities. The process established in the Act may differ from the process school districts have used in the past. Parents are required to submit a signed diabetes care plan that includes the treating health care provider’s instructions concerning the student’s diabetes management. The Care Act specifies the detailed information that must be included in the diabetes care plan, which will serve as the basis of the student’s Section 504 plan. School districts are responsible for following diabetes care plans.
The Care Act also provides that “delegated care aides” will perform the duties necessary to assist the students, as provided in the diabetes care plan and authorizes students to self-manage their care when appropriate. School districts are required to provide basic training regarding diabetes for all school employees as well as detailed training for care aides.
The Care Act raises a host of legal issues for school districts. One major issue will be the labor implications of requiring an aide to perform duties established in the diabetes care plans. Other issues include limiting liability and integrating the requirements of the Care Act into school districts’ Section 504 procedures. We are in the process of analyzing the issues raised by the Care Act, and we are available to provide guidance as school districts work through these issues.