Illinois Slashes Medical Investigator Staff

Layoffs Tuesday mean Illinois doctors could soon face a long wait to get a medical license. And complaints about illegal activity by doctors could take longer to investigate. Brian Mackey reports.

The state agency that regulates doctors is laying off 18 of 26 workers. Spokeswoman Sue Hofer says it means the state will not be able to investigate complaints as quickly as it normally would.

HOFER: “Not to be able to prosecute complaints against doctors who have harmed patients.”

Hofer also says there’s a more immediate problem: a crop of new med school grads start residency every summer, and last year, Illinois issued them 2,800 temporary licenses. Now, there’s just one person to do that job.

WERNER: “We need to have the residents start their training on time — that typically is the first of July.”

Dr. William Werner is the president of the Illinois State Medical Society. He says delays in licensing could affect staffing at teaching hospitals and clinics across Illinois.

The state says doctors should pay higher license fees to make up the difference. Doctors say their fees are adequate, and the state should restore money it previously raided from fees to pay for other priorities.

— Brian Mackey

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