Reduced IDFPR Staff Leads to Increased Wait for Physician License Requests and Risk to Public

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February 26, 2013
Moses Suarez and Karen Tobin
SmithAmundsen Health Care Alert

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Recently, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) laid off 18 of their 26 employees due to lack of funding. Manuel Flores, acting Secretary for IDFPR, noted that there will only be one employee to handle all physician licensing requests. Licensees for new physicians and physicians transferring to Illinois will take between 12 to 18 months to process. Physicians needing to renew their licenses in 2014 will most likely see their license expire before the renewal process is complete. Moreover, this agency was set up to protect patients. This decrease in staff will greatly impact the department’s ability to investigate, posing a major threat to the health and safety of people in Illinois.

There are House Bills and Senate Bills introduced to the Illinois General Assembly which would provide the necessary funding to correct this problem. Members of the Republican Party and Physician's Group, LLC proposed House Bill 1001 and Senate Bill 1494. These bills would have provided the necessary funding ($9.6 million) from the Illinois General Revenue Fund.

Conversely, Democrats proposed HB0193. This bill provides for the funding of $6.6 million from the Local Government Tax Fund, and requires that the Illinois State Medical Disciplinary Fund pay back this full amount by March 1, 2015. Some physicians contend that the Medical Disciplinary Fund has been improperly used in the past. With Democrats in the majority, HB0193 is quickly moving along and expected to pass.