CHICAGO (CBS) — The head of the agency in charge of investigating complaints against doctors in Illinois admits there is a problem.
“This agency has been trying to operate on very limited resources, particularly over the last few years, and they’ve been doing their best to deal with the most serious cases,” said Deborah Hagan, head of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Her department had nine investigators looking into 3,251 complaints dating back to 2015. At any given time, each investigator had a load of about 316 cases — which resulted in delays.
“The backlog is not acceptable, and we’re here to protect the public,” Hagan said. “We need to fix it.”
A nationwide survey by the CBS 2 Investigators shows that other states have more resources to investigate doctors.
Illinois ranks second to last in the nation when it comes to number of investigators compared to its state population. That comes out to about one investigator for every 1.9 million residents. Only New York has a worse ratio.
Colorado has the best ratio of investigator to population. That state has 200 investigators who that can pivot to any area in need. Indiana is also in the top 10 with 43 investigators.
Since the CBS 2 Investigators brought these numbers to the attention of IDFPR, the agency has restructured the investigative staff in an attempt to decrease the backlog of cases.
But, Hagan concedes that the department needs more people.
“We need to do more to bring more resources to this so we can continue to protect the public the way we should,” said Hagan.
The IDFPR advises that anyone seeking to lodge a complaint may:
• Call their Complaint Intake Unit at (312) 814-6910.
• Complete, print, and mail a complaint report to:
Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Division of Professional Regulation
Complaint Intake Unit
100 W. Randolph St., Suite 9-300
Chicago, IL 60601