ISMS Testifies: Fix Medical Licensing in Illinois

September 29, 2023

Earlier this week the Illinois House Health Care Licenses Committee convened a public hearing in Chicago to address the historical and chronic professional license processing delays.

ISMS was first to testify before the committee on issues raised by our members related to their experiences with seeking new medical licenses or recent renewals.

In our testimony, we stressed the need for additional staffing at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), pointed out the long wait times to obtain a controlled substance license and outlined how there is no existing process for licensee applicants to find out about the status of their application. In addition, there are no responses from IDFPR when calling or emailing the agency.

ISMS went on to stress that state’s lack of ability to efficiently and effectively license applicants has a big impact on those pursuing careers as physicians in Illinois. ISMS member and Illinois State Representative William Hauter, M.D., emphasized that Illinois is likely losing new medical graduates to other states due to the delays with getting licensed here. And, of course, this negatively impacts care for patients of Illinois.

During IDFPR’s response, the agency explained to everyone that 1.2 million people in Illinois need licenses, covering 120 professions. The Department admitted that it is using an antiquated software system from 1999.

House committee members acknowledged that IDFPR did a remarkable job during the pandemic in adjusting their systems to prioritize dealing with the pandemic, including temporary licenses and out-of-state licenses as quickly as needed in Illinois.

However, House committee members stressed that the state agency is failing in its core mission and put IDFPR on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). As the issue is too urgent to wait until spring 2024 to address, lawmakers on the committee will be following up with the Department on a monthly basis. In closing, State Representative Bob Morgan, Chair of the Committee, said, “This is the most important healthcare issue that is facing Illinois today and we’re going to work to solve it.”

If you have questions, please contact ISMS Senior Vice President of State Legislative Affairs Erin O'Brien by email.

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