Kathy Posner

The Illinois Senate unanimously passed SB 1762 this week. The legislation was spear-headed by Senator Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) and will now go to the Illinois House under the sponsorship of State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock.) What is so astounding about what SB 1762 requires is that the legislation did not already exist. Shocking, but current Illinois law did not require that a doctor or licensed health care worker lose their license if they were convicted of a sex crime!

Dillard sponsored the legislation after reading a newspaper’s investigative reports revealing 16 Illinois doctors had been convicted of sexual offenses, but none of the men’s license was permanently revoked, and two continued to practice medicine. According to the Daily Herald, “Medicaid fraud and controlled substance fraud are currently the only two offenses that result in immediate revocation of doctors' licenses.”

“I was shocked when I opened the Chicago Tribune and read that doctors accused of sexually assaulting their patients have been allowed to continue treating patients, even after being found guilty of their crimes. As the father of two young daughters, it made my blood boil to think that a convicted sex offender could still be working as a pediatrician, or treating someone’s elderly parent, wife or daughter,” Dillard said.

The Synopsis As Introduced

Amends the Department of Professional Regulation Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois. Provides that any licensed health care worker, who has been (1) convicted of committing a sexual criminal act that requires registration under the Sex Offender Registration Act against a patient in the course of patient care or treatment, (2) has been convicted of a criminal battery against any patient, (3) a forcible felony, or (4) required as part of a criminal sentence to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act, then the license of the health care worker shall by operation of law be permanently revoked without a hearing. Provides that no person registered as a sex offender may receive a license as a health care worker in Illinois. Requires that within 15 business days after receiving notice from the State's Attorney of the filing of criminal charges against the health care worker, the Secretary shall issue an administrative order that the health care worker may only practice with a chaperone during all patient encounters pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings. Adds provisions concerning the confidentiality of certain information and documents. Effective immediately.

Dillard also pointed out, “For too long there has been a disconnect between law enforcement and state regulation of doctors. A convicted sex offender can’t drive a school bus, but he or she could potentially treat children as patients. It is wrong to allow a convicted sex offender to practice medicine. The law needs to be clear: A sex offender will not practice medicine in Illinois!”

As Franks said, “This legislation is a common-sense public safety measure that will help ensure patients are protected from dangerous doctors.” If it were such “common sense,” why didn’t the law already exist? It is taking an across the aisles agreement between a Republican and a Democrat to make it happen. Now that is common sense!

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