The fund which provides for licensing and disciplining doctors has dried up, and the state has had to lay off 18 of the 26 workers in the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Passavant Area Hospital Physician Services officer Stephen Lee says it would create a crisis in the hospital’s recruiting efforts and re-credentialing its physicians.
“Certainly, it could cause a problem if we're trying to recruit a physician say that lives in Iowa or Missouri and he doesn't have an Illinois license, and then we try to recruit him and he finds out that it would be a year or 18 months to get a license," says Lee. "That would certainly have a negative impact on our recruiting effort."
While Republicans generally voiced displeasure with the idea of interfund borrowing to rehire the 18 workers immediately, then repaying the loan as the increased fees caught up with the program, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno asked whether in a department of more than 500 people, “you could not find eight people to redirect to do the license situation now?” The answer from the director of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Manny Flores, was “If we did that, we would be sweeping funds from other dedicated funds, which we are not authorized to do.”
The bill, which also increases the fee doctors pay for their licenses, passed a committee on a party-line vote. It would boost fees from 300 dollars every three years to 700 dollars through June of 2018, when the fee would drop to 500 bucks. The fee has not been raised since 1987.