When IDFRP Comes To Call
When the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) Comes to Call
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) is the state agency that handles licensing of physicians, licensed medical professionals, as well as an assortment of other professionals.
The IDFPR has wide jurisdiction to investigate and/or file formal complaints against licensed medical professionals. For example, following payment of a medical malpractice settlement a report is made to the IDFPR at or around the same time a report is given to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). Never ignore an inquiry from the IDFPR regarding the reporting of payment on a settlement or other inquiry. It is wise to contact a legal advisor.
The IDFPR can file a formal complaint and pursue the following disciplinary actions against the license. (This list is not exclusive.)
Reprimand: A reprimand is an official public record of discipline but does not restrict the practitioner’s ability to practice.
Probation: Practitioners placed on probation are permitted to practice subject to certain terms and conditions which vary depending on case circumstances.
Suspension: Suspended practitioners are prohibited from practice during the suspension term and may be subject to certain terms and conditions.
Revocation: Practitioners are prohibited from practice while revoked. If no term is stated, a practitioner must wait a minimum of three (3) years to be eligible to file a Petition for Restoration.
Fines: Fines are disciplinary actions and may be issued in conjunction with one of the above disciplines.
The Department may also take any of the following non-disciplinary actions.
Informal Disciplinary Conference
Typically, before a formal complaint is filed, but upon request and agreement even after the filing of a formal complaint, the IDFPR and the medical practitioner can agree to engage in an informal disciplinary conference. The purpose of an informal conference is for the parties to discuss a case to determine if a resolution can be made prior to a formal administrative hearing. During the conference, the IDFPR attorney and any board member in attendance generally inquire about the practitioner’s background, experience, and facts surrounding the matter at issue. After the informal disciplinary conference, the practitioner must decide whether to accept IDFPR’s recommendation or reject and continue to a formal hearing process. The IDFPR can also decide to Close the Matter after the informal conference if during the conference the Board Member’s questions have been satisfactorily answered.
If the practitioner refuses to accept the recommendation from the informal conference, a formal complaint will be filed or if the formal complaint was already filed the matter will proceed to a formal hearing before an administrative law judge and member of the Medical Disciplinary Board. The rules of evidence are applied loosely to what, in essence, is a mini malpractice trial. Each side typically brings in witnesses, including expert witnesses. IDFPR has the burden of proof, and there are opening statements and closing arguments just as in a medical malpractice trial. After the formal hearing, the administrative law judge prepares a report called Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendations which is forwarded to the members of the Licensing Board for their review. The Board then meets to determine whether it will accept or reject the administrative law judge’s recommendations and ultimately makes its own recommendation to the Director of IDFPR. The Director of IDFPR may accept or reject the Board’s recommendation and signs an order for the result that he or she deems appropriate. The order of the Director, if unfavorable to the practitioner, may be appealed to the Circuit Court.
We strongly advise our clients to obtain legal counsel for any IDFPR interaction.
A version of this article appeared in the March 2019 issue of Chicago Medicine magazine.
Articles distributed by Malecki & Brooks Law Group, LLC are advertisements and summaries for general information and discussion purposes only. They are not full analyses of the matters presented, legal, or otherwise, and may not be relied upon as legal advice.