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October 25, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Announces License Streamline Initiative Saves Time and Reduces Errors
Benchmark: One million licensees see service improvements

CHICAGO – One million professionals, including those in the healthcare field, have been able to receive their new and renewal licenses more quickly thanks to the License Streamline initiative launched in 2006, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today. 

Historically, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) had a chronic backlog in license renewals for the one million professionals it regulates.  Today, license renewals average less than 14 days once all the information has been provided.  Processing time for new licenses has dropped from an average of 34 days to 17 days. 

“We asked healthcare providers how they could better compete with nearby states in their recruiting efforts. We learned that licensing in Illinois took too long and presented a serious barrier to competitiveness.  To fix that, we streamlined the process,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “Now our hospitals and clinics can compete for the best healthcare providers from around the world.  We have also reduced errors and improved customer service for the one million professionals licensed to work in Illinois.”

The License Streamline initiative arose from specific concerns raised as part of the comprehensive efforts to reduce the nursing shortage in Illinois.  Many of the comments received from nurses working in or seeking work in Illinois cited the slow licensing process as one reason to take jobs in other states that processed licenses quickly.  Nurses told the State they could start their jobs sooner and begin earning a salary.  For instance, in March of 2004, nurse applications were backlogged for 8 to 10 weeks before an initial file review was conducted.  The result was an estimated 10 to 12 week average for issuance of a nursing license.  This timeframe was deemed unacceptable by both the Department and various industry groups and stakeholders.

“By reducing the reliance on paper renewal notices and encouraging on-line renewals and credit card fee payments, we have not only cut renewal times dramatically, we have reduced errors and improved customer satisfaction with the process,” said Dean Martinez, Secretary, IDFPR.

The initiative’s comprehensive approach included additional staff, implementation of new computer system, technical and process changes, reduction of application paperwork and better communications with applicants.  IDFPR met its initial goal of having an initial review of all applications within 7-14 days in the fall of 2006. Additionally, the average timeframe for issuing a license (all 60 professions) fell from 34 days to 17 days.

“Clearly our License Streamline initiative has been an enormous success, said Daniel E. Bluthardt, Director, Division of Professional Regulation. “The number of complaints regarding licensing issues has dropped dramatically.”

The licensing reform initiative helps professionals in Illinois with their licensing applications by:

Expediting the delivery of notices for an incomplete application by using email and fax instead of regular mail.

Encouraging licensees to use the faster online renewal system. Postcards asking professionals to renew their licenses online are mailed instead of paper applications.

Allowing applicants to check the status of license applications online.

Eliminating the superfluous “work history form” from license applications.

Requiring applicants to submit one complete application upfront instead of waiting for institutions to submit necessary documentation.

For more information about licensing at IDFPR, please visit http://www.idfpr.com/.



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