State Lays Off Medical Regulators

Jan 16, 2013

Illinois is laying off the majority of regulators who oversee doctors. The state says that means it'll take longer to investigate complaints about illegal activity by doctors. It'll also delay the processing of new medical licenses. Brian Mackey has more on what's behind the layoffs.

Eighteen of 26 medical regulators are being laid off.

Sue Hofer, a spokeswoman for the state agency that licenses professionals from doctors to hairdressers, says there's an annual gap of nearly $2 million between the cost of the regulators and what the state collects in license fees from doctors.

Doctors opposed stopgap measure considered by the legislature earlier this month. One would have temporarily transferred money from another state fund. Another would have had doctors paying more for a license, a fee Hofer says hasn't increased since 1987.

"The Medical Society was adamantly opposed to a fee increase."

Dr. William Werner is the president of the Illinois State Medical Society. "Actually, I don't think that is the starting point in the discussion."

He says the problem is that doctors' license fees were swept away to fund other, unrelated functions of state government.

"If the physician's license fee is used to replenish that fund, what's the guarantee that it wouldn't be swept away in the future?"

Werner says to win the support of doctors, the state has to restore money it's previously raided from medical license fees.