VillaSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Karina Villa advanced a measure that would promote a more bilingual health care workforce by expanding opportunities for Spanish-speakers to become certified nursing assistants.

“Bilingual health care workers are an extremely important asset in our communities considering the diversity of our state,” said Villa (D-West Chicago). “Effective communication between patients and health care providers is essential for people to understand their treatment and advocate for their care.”

House Bill 5218 would require the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to create rules to offer the nursing assistant certification exam in Spanish. The measure would also prevent restrictions on eligibility for individuals seeking to take the exam in Spanish.

“With our current health care worker shortage, it is vital that we empower all capable individuals to become certified nursing assistants,” said Villa. “Language barriers have deterred skilled workers from essential professions when being bilingual is an asset.”

House Bill 5218 passed the Senate Licensed Activities Committee on Wednesday.