Healthcare Business News

Medical society chairman predicts Ill. license fee increase

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: January 14, 2013 - 1:00 pm ET

The Illinois State Medical Society went on the offensive in response to a letter from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation warning healthcare professionals about expected delays in getting new licenses issued and having existing licenses renewed.

In the letter, Manuel Flores, acting secretary of the IDFPR, said the state would be reducing its medical unit's staff to eight from 26 as a result of the medical society's successful lobbying effort blocking a bill that would have allowed the department to borrow $9.6 million from future license fees to cover the cost of its operations.

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In a “dear colleagues” letter, ISMS Board Chairman Dr. Steven Malkin repeated the society's charge that reason for the shortfall is because the state diverted almost $9 million worth of license fees for “other, nonmedical uses,” which has never been restored to the medical unit's operating fund.

Currently, Illinois physicians pay $300 for a three-year license, and Malkin predicted that “the certain result” of the current financial mess will be an increase in this amount to about $750.

“We must put a stop to the state's 'shell game,' which is being played at doctors' expense,” Malkin said.

In its 2011 summary of state medical board disciplinary actions, the Federation of State Medical Boards reported that the Illinois DFPR undertook 216 disciplinary actions against Illinois doctors in 2011, compared with 221 and 241 in 2010 and 2009 respectively. It also revoked the licenses or license privileges from 113 doctors in 2011, compared with 106 and 121 in 2010 and 2009.

The Health Research Group of the Public Citizen consumer-advocacy organization conducts an annual ranking of medical boards using a three-year average of a “serious actions per 1,000 physicians” measurement, which totals the number of disciplinary actions such license revocations and suspensions. In its most recent ranking, averaging serious actions for 2009 through 2011, Illinois' board ranked 19th with a 3.45 serious actions per 1,000 physicians score. Wyoming, which was ranked first, had a 6.79 score while South Carolina, ranked 51st, had a 1.33 score.

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