Mt. Vernon Register-News

State News

February 20, 2013

Doctors-in-training face licensing delays in Ill.


The group has previously agreed to raise the fees to $500.

The medical society's president, Dr. William Werner, has recognized that a lack of action from the Legislature could significantly disrupt the training of medical residents. But he also says students focus on the quality of the training they will receive when ranking programs, and he's confident many will still list Illinois hospitals this year.

"Illinois is well known for the highly regarded training programs we have for residents and fellows," Werner said. However, he continued, "if this drags on by July 1, when the residents will be starting, then that will be a very serious issue."

Between 2,300 and 2,800 medical students apply every spring for temporary licenses, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation spokeswoman Sue Hofer said. She said the department starts receiving applications around May 1 and must finish processing them by July 1.

In a public notice posted last week the department's website, the acting director of financial and professional regulation, Manuel Flores stated that he is confident that the department will have the resources necessary to "effectively facilitate resident-physician 'match' programs for Illinois hospitals."

The chief government relations officer for the Illinois Hospital Association, A.J. Wilhelmi, said the association's members are hopeful that the General Assembly will move this week to fund the medical unit.

A bill authorizing the funds could be sent to the governor for approval on Wednesday at the earliest, provided that the House approves the measure that cleared the Senate last week and sets the fee at $700.

But the hopes of the department, hospital administrators and doctors-in-training could easily be crushed. House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman, Steve Brown, said the problem will not be fixed before Wednesday and pinned the blame on the medical society, saying the group has strongly lobbied lawmakers against drastically raising licensing fees.

"You got to overcome the medical society's opposition," Brown said. "Maybe hospitals and students have helped overcome it."


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