A report by the auditor general of Illinois discovered widespread administrative lapses in the way the state handles investigations of physicians. Auditor General William Holland's 14-page report found that the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, responsible for investigating complaints and taking action against doctors, closed many cases without proper investigation. About 15% of the 4,357 cases it received in 2004 and 2005 were closed administratively, and the department was unable to provide documentation that the actions had been approved, the report said. Officials also found that at least 41% of the 458 disciplinary actions against doctors in those years were cases in which the department's actions were based on sanctions already taken by other states' disciplinary boards. The auditor general also discovered "deficiencies" in all of the 25 medical probation cases it selected to test, underscoring concerns that the department employed just two probation-compliance investigators to monitor cases for more than 100 professions regulated by the division. Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the department, defended the agency's activities, and said, "We welcome the audit recommendations and will keep them in mind going forward as we work to ensure patient safety." She said Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group in Washington, ranked the Illinois medical board 18th in the nation last year in effectiveness, up from 41st place three years earlier.
Investigations of physicians found lacking in Illinois
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.