Friday, April 29


Illinois physician disciplinary rate improves       Send a link to a friend

[APRIL 29, 2005]  CHICAGO -- Reflecting the Blagojevich administration's commitment to improving access to high-quality health care, Illinois has dramatically improved its ability to act against physicians who violate their patients' trust.

"The changes we've made are helping to protect Illinois citizens from the risk of poor or dangerous medical treatment," said Fernando Grillo, secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. "Our improvements are making health care in Illinois better and safer."

The department has streamlined the way it handles medical discipline. In cases where a mandatory report is received, investigators immediately request or subpoena medical records, rather than wait until the initial review is completed, thus allowing the case to move forward more quickly if an investigation is warranted. The department now has a full-time medical practice coordinator available to provide guidance and handle preliminary reviews of cases. The department is also more aggressively disciplining physicians who have substance-abuse issues.

Using data collected by the Federation of State Medical Boards, the Public Citizen Health Research Group found that Illinois has increased its effectiveness in disciplining physicians for each of the past three years. The state is now ranked 25th in the nation for the rate of serious disciplinary actions taken against licensed doctors. Illinois' ranking was 41 for 2002 and 36 in 2003. Meanwhile, the number of complaints has stayed relatively constant, with complaints against about 5 percent of the doctors practicing in the state.

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In 2004, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation sanctioned 240 physicians for actions ranging from mishandling of payments to gross negligence. Of those cases, 177 resulted in either the loss of license privileges or restriction of those privileges.

To review the reports cited above, click on Federation of State Medical Boards or Public Citizen's Analysis.

[Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation news release]

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