The state of Illinois has informed new and transferring doctors to expect delays in issuing their medical licenses and says it's all the Illinois State Medical Society's fault—while the physicians' group argues that the state's improper use of cash collected from medical license fees is to blame.
Regardless of who is at fault, Manuel Flores, acting secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, said that his department's medical unit will lay off 69% of its staff—going to eight employees from 26—effective Jan. 15.
This action, Flores said in a letter to healthcare professionals (PDF), is a result of the ISMS' successful lobbying effort against a state bill that would have allowed the IDFPR medical unit to borrow $9.6 million against future collections of licensing fees to avoid layoffs.
“As a direct result of ISMS' actions, the layoffs will occur,” Flores said in the letter. “Please be further advised that the Department will have one employee to handle all physician licensing requests in Illinois. Licenses for new physicians and for physicians transferring to Illinois will take between 12 and 18 months to process.”
He added that graduating medical students seeking to undergo residency training with hospitals in Illinois will see similar delays, and doctors needing to renew their licenses in 2014 may see their licenses expire before the renewal process is complete. Flores also noted that physician license fees, $100 a year, have not changed since 1987.