SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
#IllinoisFail: 12-18 month delay to process medical licenses

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013

* More massive fail from the Illinois General Assembly

The Illinois government agency that looks into complaints against doctors announced it will lay off investigators starting Tuesday and warned of yearlong delays in physician licensing because the Legislature didn’t act to bail out the medical watchdog unit.

In a letter being sent to doctors Thursday, officials from Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation pin the blame on the Illinois State Medical Society for lobbying against legislation to transfer $9.6 million to keep the program going. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter on Wednesday.

The letter details “calamitous consequences,” including “delays between 12 and 18 months to process a medical license and severe constraints to the Department’s ability to prosecute physicians who pose a risk to the health and safety of Illinois citizens.”

The letter is signed by department Director Jay Stewart and Acting Secretary Manuel Flores. “As a direct result of (the medical society’s) actions, the layoffs will occur,” the letter says.

Medical society president Dr. William Werner said the legislation that stalled in the just-finished lame duck session required borrowing against future money collected by the fund that supports the medical watchdog unit. He said it’s time to restore money that was raided from the fund by previous legislatures.

OK, so the docs worked against it. No other solution could be found?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    This is what cuts look like.

    On the other hand, desperate times call for desperate measures. Seems like IDFPR managers ought to, you know, manage this new reality. Reassign some staff, make suggestions for streamlining the process and the workload, put in longer hours, etc.

    When the money runs out, you get creative with your management or you go out of business. Since going out of business isn’t an option…

    Hopefully this is just temporary, but it sure seems like licensing physicians and checking out reports of bad doctors ought to be a higher priority than licensing barbers.

  2. - Fight for the Bureaucrats - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:00 pm:

    Right… when Deja Vu goes out of business, I’ll believe there are real cuts in Springfield.

  3. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:02 pm:

    “Fight for the Bureaucrats” you might want to ask a Human Service Provider of a DHS staff member if there have been any “real cuts in Springfield”.

  4. - Fans Of Squeezy - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:12 pm:

    Well you know the doctors at a level have a point.

    Your license fees are supposed to cover this regulation, that is supposed to be the point of your license fees, to pay for this sort of thing. But when you use licensing fees to pay for scholarships (in the case of nursing) as well as doing fund raids, this is what happens.

  5. - sal-says - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:16 pm:

    Sometimes you gotta be careful what you ask for?

  6. - Norseman - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    Failure is the norm for state government and it’s going to get worse. The mantra to reduce government jobs has led to the steady reduction in the quality of services. The governors and legislators have naively or perhaps arrogantly continued to create or enact new programs while not sufficiently funding existing ones. All this with the dismissive argument that public employees can handle the additional responsiblities by becoming more efficient.

    We all know the horrible state of the budget, yet a quick review of yesterday’s bill introductions shows the solons still want more programs. It would be nice to see more legislation to eliminate programs.

  7. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:19 pm:

    C’mon, this is an administration that closed prisons to save DCFS. Suddenly it’s powerless to protect society from docs gone wild? This is a problem only because the administration wants it to be a problem.

  8. - Abe the Babe - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:20 pm:


    You also have to consider that doc fees haven’t been raised in decades and numerous laws have been passed requiring greater oversight over the industry not to mention just a general increase in the number of those practicing. $100 bucks a year is pretty small pittance one of the more lucrative professions. The med society has some points but they also need to realize that their fund is at a structural deficit even when you factor in sweeps/borrowing.

  9. - Huh? - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:21 pm:

    “… The letter details “calamitous consequences,” including “delays between 12 and 18 months to process a medical license …”

    This appears that Illinois is going to force doctors to practice medicine without a license. It also means that doctors will not be able to prescribe medicine if they can’t get their controlled substance license renewed.

    How long until the first doctor gets arrested for practing medicine without a license or a pharmacy refuses to fill a prescription from a doctor with a lapsed license?

  10. - wishbone - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    It’s called the Washington Monument Syndrome. In 1969 following some minor cuts in its budget, the National Park Service decided to close the Washington Monument two days a week rather than try to save the money in a less disruptive way. The agency’s director was fired which should be the case here.

  11. - Fans Of Squeezy - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    @Abe the Babe

    It’s the fund sweeps, not the license fees that are the issue. If you are going to stop using license fees.

    I am curious how much the MD license fee (there are two) is vs the three fees my wife has to pay for her medical license fees (APN).

  12. - Fight for the Bureaucrats - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:45 pm:

    Wishbone has it exactly right. Quinn cuts for pain, not the fat. That way everyone is scared of this nefarious cuts that means everyone is going to die.

    How many of the state’s executive aircraft have been sold? Should I go over other luxury expenses?

  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:57 pm:

    C’mon, $9.6 million is keeping you from licensing doctors and oversight? That sounds like a management problem to me.

  14. - Endangered Moderate Species - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:06 pm:

    I am beginning to wonder who really makes decisions regarding the business of this State; the State employees and the agencies or the voters and the elected officials? In the business world, people work everyday to figure out how to produce a better product for less money. Those who are successful, thrive and prosper. In Illinois, the government seems to work everyday to produce a worse product that costs more money and we all know how this is working for us.

  15. - Abe the Babe - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:16 pm:

    @ Fan

    Two words: structural deficit.

    Like I said sweeps are a problem but a structural deficit which means your annual revenues are exceeded by the annual expenses indicates you need to either raise revenues or start making cuts. looks like dfpr went the cut route. Putting the money back from the sweeps won’t solve the longer term problem. Fee increases and better management could.

  16. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:41 pm:

    Abe The Babe…

    If you didn’t sweep the fund they would have the money, it’s as simple as that.

    If you want to treat licensing fees as general revenue, go ahead and do so, but stop saying the fees are to cover the regulatory costs.

    The idea is/was your license fees cover the cost of regulating your industry.

    If you show me those fees were insufficient, then yeah raise the fees. If the fees were/are sufficient but were used for other things (fund sweep) then you either cover the regulatory costs via general revenue (since you are treating the license fees as general revenue) or you don’t spend so much regulating.

    What I suspect the doctors are worried about (and more than doctors should worry about this, everyone regulated by the state is going to face this issue) is if license fees are basically going to be just general revenue, then it is going to be easy to start raising fees on some professions since after all Doctors, Nurses, etc.. can afford it.

    It becomes a backdoor tax, not just a fee to cover regulating your industry.

    Heck, they did this already to some extent by using RN license fees to pay for scholarships to try and increase the number of nurses.

    Not sure if it is good state policy to use money from people in a profession to add more people to the profession so in part everyone can make less in said profession.

  17. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:41 pm:

    Lots of state government is funded out of “special funds.”. If there are no dollars left in the fund supporting the doctor licensing program, then it doesn’t really matter whether there is money somewhere else, unless the GA moves it into the special fund. That is apparently what ISMS blocked. If their beef is that the special fund was raided in the past, join the club.

  18. - RetiredStateEmployee - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    What fund are they using and how much was swept?

  19. - Confused - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    Seems like the residents of the state get significant benefit out of having a functional IDFPR. So maybe they should pay for it. As opposed to - via fund sweeps - having physicians pay not only for the IDFPR but for other GA goodies as well. Or heck, be honest and start calling a doctor tax. At least Blago’s was honest when he proposed taxing doctors for a universal Medicaid system.

  20. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    Also Abe..

    Just to give you an idea, my wife has to have 4 licenses 3 from the state, RN, APN and Controlled Substance as well as one from the feds to do her job. All of these licenses have fees (the state controlled substance is only $5, the others do have a cost)

    That is just her regulatory costs for licensing that does not include her continuing education costs (also not trivial) because X amount of it has to be, for want of a better term, hard and not inexpensive (she can’t read a magazine article and answer a quiz at the end). I know it’s the same for doctors.

    So if you want to use fees as general revenue, fine. But it isn’t going to stop at the doctors and the lawyers, lets not kid ourselves. It is going to go to the alarm guys, nail techs and everyone else who they regulate.

    Also keep in mind, you want to raise their their license fees at the same time the same state takes forever to pay them and/or their employers for services rendered. That’s freakin rich…

    So don’t complain you don’t have any money in the beer fund, when you took money I put in the beer fund to pay for window treatments.

  21. - OneMan - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 3:01 pm:


    generally each license (or license group) has it’s own fund within the department. They have done general department sweeps of most if not all of the funds if I am not mistaken.

    Also generally the funds get flush when everyone renews (varies by license, nurses it is even numbered years)

  22. - Abe the Babe - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 3:04 pm:

    “If you show me those fees were insufficient, then yeah raise the fees. If the fees were/are sufficient but were used for other things (fund sweep) ”

    It’s both in this case. There were sweeps and there is a structural deficit. I’m not sure why this is hard to understand. Even if you pay back the sweeps you will have the same problem. I’m not an apologist for the sweepers I just think raising fees for the first time since the 80s is not a bad idea. I probably would demand assurances against future sweeps if I was the med society too but everyone knows those promises can’t be made when you are in the budget situation we are in. Plus madigan likely wont go along either.

  23. - RetiredStateEmployee - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 3:08 pm:

    Without a fund number (or funds?) I can’t search the comptroller’s website, but this letter from 2010 claims $18.9 mil was swept. Clearly, the fund sweep caused the problem. (pending further clarification)

    As always with these issues, there are so few facts to base an opinion on. Even though I know how to use the comptroller’s website, without knowing the correct codes, it is hard to find the information. A lay person could never make sense of it.

  24. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 3:28 pm:

    “Reassign some staff, make suggestions for streamlining the process and the workload, put in longer hours, etc.” Mandatory overtime (time and a half at that)? Assigning a job to someone not necessarily qualified to do it or outside their job title? Put office people on the road full-time? And yet people wonder why State employees flocked to AFSCME.

  25. - Original Rambler - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 3:31 pm:

    Norseman is spot on. I keep getting more bureaucratic mandates which take time and manpower to complete (lest the Auditor whack me) while demands for budget cuts continue. Just get out of our way and let us do our jobs.

    Related, just once I’d like to see a GA member tout legislation they passed killing an unnecessary program as opposed to always creating new ones.

  26. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 3:43 pm:

    ===And yet people wonder why State employees flocked to AFSCME.===

    Skeptic, if you’re suggesting that AFSCME’s work rules help protect its members from doing actual work, you’ve made a good argument. I guess you prefer layoffs. To each his own.

  27. - I don't want to live in Teabagistan - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 3:58 pm:

    $100 a year

    That is what doctors pay to be doctors in the State of Illinois–$300 for a 3-year license. What do you lawyers, accountants, engineers, plumbers and other licensed professionals think about that.

    The doctors don’t want the State to have the money to investigate them.

  28. - Sgtstu - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 4:22 pm:

    Fans Of Squeezy - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 1:12 pm

    Kind of like the pension funds ?

  29. - walkinfool - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 4:40 pm:

    Yep: Cuts are easy to ask for, hard to manage.

    They can have serious impacts all around the system. Some are not so obvious. Identifying the risks and managing for them is the Executive’s challenge. This looks more like sloppiness, than like any deliberate tactic.

  30. - Norseman - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 4:58 pm:

    === C’mon, $9.6 million is keeping you from licensing doctors and oversight? That sounds like a management problem to me. ===

    You would think in a efficiently managed organization. Illinois government is not that.

    Without the funding, the administration will do something half-$##*@ to avert some of the heat without really ensuring that all the necessary services to be provided by the agency are getting done. The balloon analogy where you push-in a balloon in one place it will pop-out another is perfect example of government management.

    What needs to be done during this budget crisis is for managers to be empowered to eliminate programs that are unnecessary and ineffective. But lo and behold, this won’t happen because there’s always a constiuency group that believes their programs are more essential than everybody else’s programs.

  31. - martalli - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 5:18 pm:

    They needed over half a million dollars per employee? How much are these people making, and are their keyboards gold plated? Blaming it on the ISMS implies that the ISMS gets whatever it asks for in the General Assembly, which is surely pure fantasy. Otherwise, we would have achieved some decent malpractice reform in Illinois.

  32. - Bigtiwch - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 5:20 pm:

    It looks like the divisions of this Department are funded by user fees. If that is the case then there would have to be a fund sweep done to take money from another division to fund this one. AS for putting the money swept back, well that is about the same argument the various beneficiaries of pension funds are making. Ok by me but I do not see it being done.

  33. - DuPage Dave - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 6:17 pm:

    This is exactly what happens with the short-term thinking of Blagojevich and Quinn in doing the “fund sweeps”. They saw dollar signs and didn’t think through what would happen when those “excess funds” were needed to accomplish their original purposes.

    I doubt this staff reduction strategy will go through as planned. But it’s galling to have people like the last couple of Governors come along and pretend that people who actually know what they are doing are obstructionists.

  34. - Oneman - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 8:38 pm:

    Abe, it is easy to understand…

    The thing I don’t get, is how you can say.

    There was a structural deficit, so there were fund sweeps.

    And seem to be cool with that….

    It seems the role of professional registration fees, be they for a Nurse, Doctor, Nail Tech or Locksmith should cover the cost of regulating/investigating and licensing the given field and that is it.

    So if the state took the road fund and used it for general revenue then raised gas taxes, you would be cool with that as well?

    It’s a bit like if I paid my kids fee for drivers ed to the school district and they said, well we had to use the money for other stuff so for your next kid we are going to double the fee. It’s wrong.

    Also 6.9 Million seems illogical on multiple levels.

    Using numbers from the ITLA, there were 40,000 doctors (roughly) in Illinois in 2008.

    So 100 a year, so $1.2 Million a year or $3.6 million over three years.

    Doesn’t add up to $6.9 million… So either it is a significant undercharge for the doctors, or they want the doctors to cover other stuff as well.

  35. - Yossarian Lives - Thursday, Jan 10, 13 @ 11:45 pm:

    Retired State Employee - On the Comptroller’s website you can search by fund name as well as by fund number.

    Michelle Flaherty - I might find that line of reasoning more plausible if closing prisons had, in fact, saved DCFS. Instead, the legislature couldn’t manager to pass the necessary supplemental appropriation, so now that money’s in limbo.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Happy Thanksgiving!
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Five unanswered questions
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day
* Caption contest!
* Crossing the line
* Moody's warns Illinois
* The Credit Union Difference
* *** UPDATED x1 - Franks responds *** Uh-oh
* Then and now
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Visit our advertisers...







Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

* Smartphones targeted as a cause for US traffic death spike
* Lara Croft: The Shard of Life updated with new chapter
* HTC kicks off new Preview Program
* Get $100 back from LG if you get a G4 or V10 on Verizon
* Telegram update brings supergroups and admins
* Verizon’s go90 streaming service now has its first original series
* Samsung Galaxy A7 hits TENAA as model number SM-A7100

* White Sox program provides kids real chance
* Johnson solid candidate for White Sox rotation
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal
* White Sox sign C Alex Avila for 1 year, $2.5 million
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal


Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0


* Cross Supports New Appointee - Alton Daily News..
* Rauner on Refugees - Alton Daily News..
* Illinois makes tax break deals with 3 companies.....
* Rauner Pardons Man Found Innocent of 1999 Attac.....
* Governor Issues Pardons In 2 Jefferson and 1 Fa.....
* Illinois makes tax break deals with three compa.....

* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield police chief bemoans body-cam 'burden'
* Illinois makes tax break deals with 3 companies
* Most Illinois metro jobless rates fall but many lose jobs
* EXCHANGE: Fire training buildings adapt to versatile needs
* Amtrak ramps up service, offers tips for holiday travel
* Bishop Hill Museum acquires early painting by folk artist
* State treasurer to hold online auction of unclaimed property
* Man gets 16 years for sexually assaulting a woman he knew
* U of Illinois group looking for chancellor led by professor

* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield jobless rate falls again, to 5.1 percent
* Springfield police chief sees problems with body cam law
* Lawsuit challenges Illinois ban on marijuana campaign money
* Number of Illinois inmates released on parole climbing
* Bryce Benton circulating petitions to challenge Sen. Sam McCann in GOP primary
* Executive Mansion roof repairs nearing completion
* Candidates begin filing petitions for March primary election
* Benton circulating petitions to challenge McCann in GOP primary
* Rauner administration says House Democrats holding local aid hostage

* Review: Sociale in the South Loop
* Her Barbie was a lawyer. Now she defends victims' rights
* Meet the guy making money off your food scraps
* Anger, pain and calls for change in response to police video
* United, Delta bet on long oil slump

* Blackhawks cool off Sharks; Kane extends point streak to 17
* Four more Laquan McDonald police dashcam videos released
* President Obama: ‘Disturbed’ by Laquan video, grateful for ‘peaceful’ protests
* Black leaders call for Supt. McCarthy to resign
* Viktor Tikhonov embraces off-ice role as Artemi Panarin’s guide
* Ex-Hawks winger Ben Smith working his way back from a concussion
* FOP posts notice on raising bail for officer charged with murder
* Brian Bliss remains employed by Fire
* Black Caucus renews calls for McCarthy’s ouster
* Reasons Blackhawks fans should be thankfull

* Live blog: Laquan McDonald protests in Chicago
* Four new Laquan McDonald shooting videos raise more questions
* Calls for reform after McDonald video release; protesters march in Loop
* Man charged with home invasion after woman reported taken from Oak Park house
* Questions remain on long inquiry before Laquan McDonald shooting charges
* Police: Two girls struck by SUV while walking on sidewalk
* 3 injured in separate South, West and Northwest Side shootings
* Indiana's proposed new religious freedom plan draws ire
* Charges dropped against protest leader accused of striking cop during Loop march
* Gov. Rauner grants clemency to 10, denies 200

* Eugene Robinson: The GOP's political correctness dodge
* Douglas Holt: Woman's protest of Trump was misguided, inappropriate
* George Will: Muzzling pet advice another case of free speech erosion
* Bernard Schoenburg: Josh Langfelder took father's advice on election petition signatures
* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield jobless rate falls again, to 5.1 percent
* Michael Gerson: The Trump effect, still 'understated'
* Catherine Rampell: For millennials, first comes love — then what?
* Springfield police chief sees problems with body cam law
* Lawsuit challenges Illinois ban on marijuana campaign money

* Illini swept again by Nebaska
* Cubit planning ahead
* PODCAST: Sports Talk 11-25-15
* Asmussen's Huddle Up: Michigan State feeling good
* PODCAST: Celestina Savonius-Wroth, U of I Library
* Ex-Rockets: Relish experience
* Arcola's Hutton takes care of business
* Updated: Danville teen killed, 3 hurt, in Indiana crash
* The Health Reporter Is In: Nov. 25, 2015
* Danville teen killed, 3 hurt, in Indiana crash

* Lowry, DeRozan lead Raptors past Cavaliers, 103-99
* Vermette, Duclair, Domi lead Coyotes to 4-2 win over Ducks
* At funeral for slain Minneapolis man, vow to seek justice
* Better effort helps Buffalo Grove past Marmion
* A different kind of college achievers

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Nebraska ethanol producers name former Dur......

* Opinion: Sen. Kirk must stand with crimina......
* Kirk co-authors Government Transformation ......

* It seems like it’s everywhere, that video of the final moments of Laquan’s life
* Laquan McDonald.
* Sixteen shots. The story that broke the silence.
* Thomas Francis McGuire interviewed on NTNM
* Random thoughts.
* Prosecutors drop charges against Malcolm London.
* Lawless: The Obama Administration’s Unprecedented Assault on the Constitution and the Rule of Law
* Thanksgiving by the numbers
* IAR offices closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving holiday
* Charter expansion. Where is the IEA?

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

    Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller