APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. NATHAN
M. COHEN, Judge, presiding.
MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE EGAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
The plaintiffs are 62 physicians employed by the Department of Health of the State of Illinois. They are all foreign-born United States citizens who received degrees of Doctor of Medicine in foreign countries and were licensed to practice medicine in those countries.
In 1951, the Medical Practice Act was amended (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1951, ch. 91, par. 14a) to provide that the Department of Registration and Education might in its discretion issue without examination a limited license to practice medicine in all its branches to any applicant who could furnish the Department with satisfactory proof that he was 21 years of age or over, of good moral character, had had such training at schools which were reputable and in good standing as under the circumstances the Department should deem sufficient and had been appointed a physician in a hospital maintained by the State. The limited license would entitle a physician to practice medicine only in the hospital designated on his license and in any case under the supervision of one of the medical officers of the hospital who was regularly licensed under the Act and under the regulations established by the hospital.
In 1957, the section was amended to include the requirement that the applicant serve a 1-year internship at the hospital approved by the Department. It also provided that the holder of a State hospital permit (also referred to in the Act as a limited license) could practice medicine in all its branches in any hospital or facility maintained by the Department.
The section was again amended by Public Act 77-2757 which became effective on September 1, 1972, and provided, in part, that all State hospital permits in effect on the effective date of the amendment and issued before July 1, 1973, would expire on July 1, 1973. Each person holding a permit could apply for a renewal subject to certain requirements which included passing an examination. Whereas the previous section had in effect made the limited license permanent, the amendment provided that each renewal would be for 1 year, that the Department could not issue more than two renewals to each holder and that the Department had no authority to issue a State hospital permit for an indefinite period.
All of the plaintiffs received State hospital permits or limited licenses before July 1, 1965. Each of them served a 1-year internship in an approved hospital; each was required to pass a physician's civil service examination; and each of them has received periodic promotions and increases in salary. They were informed by the defendants, the Directors of the Department of Personnel, Registration and Education and Mental Health that, unless they took and passed academic medical examinations pursuant to Public Act 77-2757, they would lose their employment and civil service status.
The plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking to enjoin the defendants from enforcing the Act's requirement that they take an examination. The trial court entered an order enjoining the defendants from enforcing the Act only as to those plaintiffs having 10 years or more of civil service, holding the Act unconstitutional as to them, and denied injunctive relief as to the remainder. The plaintiffs who were denied relief have appealed and the defendants have cross-appealed from the order granting relief to those plaintiffs having 10 years or more of service.
Section 13a of the Medical Practice Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 91, par. 14a) provides, in part:
"As a condition precedent to the renewal of any state hospital permit on July 1, 1974 or on any renewal date thereafter, the permit holder shall be required to show proof of having passed an examination given by the Department of Registration and Education or to have passed an examination deemed by the Department to have been at least equal in all substantial respects to the Department's examination. The Department shall have no authority to issue a renewal of a permit to an individual who has failed to pass this examination."
But the next sentence of the Act provides that "[a]n applicant for renewal of a state hospital permit must submit proof to the Department of Registration and Education that he is pursuing such course of instruction and study as will provide the applicant with the necessary qualifications to successfully pass an examination for the issuance of a license to practice medicine in all of its branches." The plaintiffs contend that it is unclear under these provisions whether a license will issue if the applicant passes an examination or if he merely submits proof that he is pursuing a course of study that will provide him with the necessary qualifications to pass the examination. Consequently, the plaintiffs argue, the Act is void for vagueness.
• 1 In their brief the defendants said:
"The plain and obvious meaning of the statute is that all persons who apply for the renewal of their hospital permits at any time between the effective date of the Act and July 1, 1974, must submit with their application a proof of study. A different condition precedent for renewal applies after July 1, 1974 namely, the applicants must show proof of successfully passing an examination given by the Department of Registration and Education or equal in all substantial respects to the Department's examination."
Such a construction reads into the Act language which, obviously, is not present. It is the function of the legislature, not the courts, to prescribe the necessary qualifications to practice medicine. It is the function of the courts to construe the Act of the legislature to give effect, subject to constitutional limits, to the intent of the legislature. In so doing, however, the courts cannot inject provisions not found in a statute, however desirable or beneficial they may be. Droste v. Kerner, 34 Ill.2d 495, 504, 217 N.E.2d 73.
In oral argument the Assistant Attorney General said that the examinations referred to in the amendment are those leading to a general license. Why then should the first examination referred to be qualified only by the requirement that it be prepared or approved by the Department, while the other examination following a certain course of study is qualified as one that would grant a "license to practice medicine in all of its branches"? It could be argued that the Act refers to two separate types of examination. Under the ...