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Report shows Illinois 40th best state to practice medicine

High malpractice insurance rates might make it costly for Illinois doctors to practice medicine in the state.

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (ILNews)- Doctors are one of the highest paid and most respected professions in the U.S. However, becoming a doctor doesn’t mean immediate success. Different states offer different benefits for medical professionals.

A report from the consumer-finance research website WalletHub ranked Illinois as the 40th best place to practice medicine in the United States, according to IL News.

The high cost of malpractice insurance keeps Illinois low on the list. The report showed Illinois ranked no. 46 for malpractice payouts and no. 49 for malpractice insurance rates.

State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, said high malpractice insurance costs for doctors drive up the cost to practice medicine and the cost of healthcare.

“Other states have screening systems in place to try to get rid of the frivolous-type cases,” Syverson said.

Illinois seems to be a regional outlier for doctors. Wisconsin is ranked the second best state to practice medicine. Iowa is ranked the fifth best state to practice medicine.

Syverson said Illinois is an outlier because of malpractice insurance rates.

“Cost-wise, at least along the northern part of the border, it’s about twice as expensive in Illinois as it is in Wisconsin and that makes a difference,” Syverson said.

WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez said a number of factors determine the cost of malpractice insurance.

“In Illinois, the state medical board is pretty punitive,” Gonzalez said. “That’s good news for patients, but for doctors that means that it ups the malpractice award payout per capita to around $2,350 now, the sixth highest in the country.”

According to Gonzalez, doctors can spend over $34,000 annually for their malpractice insurance.

“That’s the third highest in the country. There are states that are around eight times lower than that. So just because the state medical board is so punitive that means doctors are really paying for that,” Gonzalez said.

Illinois is more hospitable for other professions. It ranked No. 20 for nurses.