Illinois enacted S.B. 1282 on July 22, legislation originally sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-07), which ammends the Illinois Health Finance Reform Act to require hospitals to use a unique patient identifier based on the patient's last four digits of their social security number.

Additionally, the bill requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to promulgate regulations to protect patient rights of confidentiality and privacy. Such regulations shall ensure that patient names, addresses, social security numbers or any other data that the Department believes could be used to determine the identity of an individual patient are stored and processed in the most secure manner possible.

While S.B. 1282 shouldn't have much direct impact on survey, opinion and marketing researchers, any who work for or with Illinois hospitals will have to pay attention to how the Department of Public Health writes the implementing regulations.