Medical professionals and leaders express concern over delays in professional licensure

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – Illinois health care professionals are seeking system upgrades as they face delays in licensing from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Bridget McColl is a new clinical psychologist who works with children with neurodevelopmental disorders. She went to school for years to get her Ph.D.

“After they get their doctorate, they do a one-year clinical training called a postdoctoral fellowship, and once that’s finished, they start working,” McColl said.

All she had to do next was apply for a license, but the process of obtaining it was not easy.

Makol had to submit a paper application to IDFPR, the agency responsible for licensing millions of people in the state.

“You spend years doing all these requirements, making very little money, and then the bureaucracy gets in the way and you’re like, ‘I’ve done it all, how much more do I have to struggle?’ “Just practice as a psychologist,” Makoll said.

The department received Makol’s application in June, but she waited almost three months for her license to arrive. During that time, she didn’t receive much response from her agency about the status of her application.

“People told me, ‘It could be lost, it could be at the bottom of the mountain,'” McColl said. “I put in a ticket, and every time I called, they said, ‘We’ll get back to you within five to seven business days.'”

Makol is not alone. Other doctors, nurses, dentists and others in the state are dealing with delays in obtaining new licenses or renewing them from the IDFPR.

State Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield), chairman of the House Medical Licensing Committee, said, “We hear from so many people who have applied and have not heard anything about the status of their application. I have been contacted,” he said. “These are completely unacceptable responses from the department and we need to address them, and we need to do so quickly.”

IDFPR cites outdated IT systems as a challenge.

“The system itself is from the last century, literally from the 1990s, and the results speak for themselves,” IDFPR Director Mario Torreto Jr. said Wednesday at a hearing before lawmakers. . “The only way to resolve this crisis is for the IDFPR to obtain the necessary approvals and implement the new, state-of-the-art systems necessary to serve our nation, benefit our constituents, and end this once and for all.” is. “

Lawmakers set aside $10 million for IDFPR to upgrade its systems. Still, at the same hearing, health leaders warned of the impact these delays would have on health care services for patients.

“Additionally, delays and outdated licensing processes can lead to an exodus of highly skilled medical professionals to other states, reducing access to care, especially in rural and underserved areas. They are even more at risk,” said Timothy Kinsey, president-elect of the Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants.

Delays in approval also mean patients may have to wait to receive the treatment they need. Ms Makoll said there is a two-year waiting list before people can access her services.

“It’s incredibly frustrating,” McColl said. “When you’re in front of that family, you feel like you have little power to solve these problems. You’re doing your best, seeing as many patients as you can as quickly as possible. No matter how many patients you see in a week. Even if it were five times that number, the waiting list would still be too long, to be honest.”

Morgan said resolving this issue will take time.

“That may require different solutions, but whatever they are, we’re going to work to get it done, and we hope the department will step up and do the same.” “I guess so,” Morgan said.

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