To the editor:
Below is information about current legislation that affects the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Based on what I read, bills that began in October have been moving swiftly following a story which brought to light an abortion clinic doctor who had been named in a complaint to the license board. Unfortunately the board reviewer had a conflict of interest and covered up the authorization of an investigation. This led to public outcry and the following bills were drafted. Senator Rick Jones sponsored the bills along with Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, as co-sponsor. The Public Health bills passed the senate and have now become house bills 575-578.
Please contact your representative and ask that the bills be given urgent attention. These bills will make amendments to existing regulations within the license bureau regarding authorization of investigations, and the revoking of licenses, in addition to addressing sexual misconduct among licensed professionals.
As the Public Health Code now reads, there are no set accountability rules in place to guard, prevent, or act upon, the aforementioned violations; the door is wide open to skirt the ethics codes in all medical fields regarding malpractice and fraud.
If there is a conflict of interest with the license board reviewer (who is appointed by the governor), then there is no investigation authorized. Statewide, there are no real liability guarantees in the medical field, expressly less regarding mental health. Where a conflict of interest exist, and only one man is at the watch tower, you have the provable potential for abuse of powers which naturally leads to fraud of state aid programs and the bilking of insurance companies.
The current house bills will attempt to change that and require that 3 persons, not one, make the determination in authorizations of an investigation, expound on sexual offense violations by licensed professionals, and also include the revoking of their licenses. Together the bills will be a step in the right direction to curb ethics violations and fraud by illicit "professionals" who know how to circumvent the system.
Hopefully these bills will go a long way in preventing a repeat of the travesty the victimized families in Illinois experienced at the hands of a psychiatrist in the Rush-Presbyterian Hospital civil suits of the late 90's. It's past time to improve the accountability process.