Illinois could lose 3,000 medical residents to other states this
year since budget shortfalls have left the state with one person to
process applications for new medical licenses.
Last week, 18 workers in the Department of Financial and
Professional Regulations medical unit were moved to other state
offices, leaving the office with eight employeesone to process
licenses, one coordinator, three investigators to handle complaints
against doctors and three attorneys to argue those cases for the
Department officials say they need $9.6 million to continue the
units operations with a full workforce or there will be delays of 12
to 18 months to process new and continuing medical licenses for
doctors. A bill to transfer that money from other state funds failed
in the last legislative session. The states largest physicians group
opposed the bill because it would probably require paying back the
money through increases in doctors license fees.
Hospital officials in the Metro East said they are concerned that
this years medical school graduates and more established doctors
recruited to work in Illinois will take jobs in other states.
About 20 out-of-state doctors are in the hiring process with
Hospital Sisters Health System, which runs eight hospitals in
Illinois, including St. Elizabeths in Belleville. The hospital also
hosts residents who have graduated from medical schools each year
and receive training in specialty fields.
Theres a real concern were going to lose people weve recruited
and were hoping to come aboard later this year, who are second-
guessing if Illinois is a good place to practice medicine, said
Brian Reardon, spokesman for Hospital Sisters. Some of the best and
brightest may bypass Illinois because of this issue.
Two doctors from outside Illinois have verbally committed to jobs
starting this summer at Memorial Hospital in Belleville but could
back out because of the licensing delay, said Dr. William Casperson,
a general surgeon and the hospitals vice president of medical
We have no assurance theyd be able to get their license in that
time frame, Casperson said. If were wanting to step up care that we
can provide in Illinois, it really puts a wrench in the works.
All doctors in Illinois work under three-year licenses that
expire in July 2014. If the departments funding is not increased,
officials say many of those licenses will expire before the renewals
can be processed, making it illegal for the doctors to practice
medicine. When fully staffed, the department issued new medical
licenses in about three weeks.
Both sides agree that a solution is likely before the doctors
current licenses expire next year. …