SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) will soon file legislation to partially fill a $9.6 million shortfall in the Illinois State Medical Disciplinary fund by redirecting money from the Governor’s scandal-ridden Neighborhood Recovery Initiative.
The Illinois State Medical Disciplinary Fund through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is responsible for supporting investigatory and disciplinary action within the medical community as well as licensure. The money in the fund comes from licensing fees for doctors and contains no taxpayer money. However, as a direct result of $9.6 million in fund sweeps over the last ten years, the fund has been left with a $9.6 million shortfall.
Due to the shortfall, the Department has already been forced to layoff investigators and staff (taking their headcount from 26 to 8) placing severe constraints on their ability to prosecute physicians that may pose a risk to the health and safety of Illinois’ citizens. Additionally, the Department states layoffs in licensing staff will cause delays of six months to a year in processing medical licenses. In that time physician’s licenses could expire and since it is illegal to provide medical services without holding a valid license, they would be unable to work until relicensed.
The Quinn administration bears the burden for its lack of action to correct this situation before it became dire. Senator Brady’s bill would transfer the remaining balance (currently $6.6 million) from the Governor’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative into the Medical Disciplinary Fund to correct this wrong.
The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, has made headlines in recent months after questions were raised about improper use of funds. Quinn announced the initiative to “take on the root causes of violence” by creating part time and permanent employment for roughly 3,000 young people.
A recent investigation by CNN found that the program has been used to employ people to do complete tasks like handing out fliers, attending yoga classes, and visiting museums. Perhaps most questionably, participants have also been paid to carry out political activities like walking in parades for Governor Quinn.
“The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative has produced no measurable outcomes. In fact, the murder rate in Chicago has increased by 20 percent,” said Brady. “These funds have been misused and misappropriated. We need to correct this immediately and redirect this money to fill the shortfall created by fund sweeps in the Medical Disciplinary Fund. We have an opportunity here to right two wrongs with one bill.”