Before receiving his CETEC diploma, plaintiff applied to take the ECFMG exam, a qualifying exam for graduates of foreign medical schools seeking licensure as a medical doctor in the United States, administered by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. A foreign student is qualified to take the exam after attending medical school for two years. On the ECFMG application, plaintiff falsely stated that he had attended CETEC from 1979 to 1983 and that he had graduated from college in 1977, rather than 1973.
APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION
538 N.E.2d 1166, 182 Ill. App. 3d 710, 131 Ill. Dec. 610 1989.IL.587
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas Rakowski, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE CAMPBELL delivered the opinion of the court. BUCKLEY and O'CONNOR, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE CAMPBELL
This is an administrative review action. Plaintiff, Joseph Cicmanec, a chiropractor, appeals from an affirmance by the circuit court of an order entered by the Department of Registration and Education, now known as the Department of Professional Responsibility (the Department), which found that plaintiff had engaged in dishonorable, unethical or unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public in violation of section 16(5) of the Medical Practice Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111, par. 16(5)), and which suspended plaintiff's chiropractor license for two years with the concurrent requirement of 100 hours of continuing medical education, followed by two years of probation.
On appeal, plaintiff contends that: (1) the three-year statute of limitations set forth in section 16(5) of the Act deprived the Department of jurisdiction to review the propriety of plaintiff's diploma from CETEC and his applications to take the ECFMG exam; (2) the Department admitted prejudicial evidence at the hearing which was barred by the Act's three-year limitations period; and (3) the Department's findings of fact failed to establish that plaintiff had engaged in dishonorable, unethical, or unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public in violation of section 16(5) of the Act. For the following reasons, the judgment of the circuit court is affirmed.
The underlying facts are undisputed. In 1978, plaintiff was issued a license to practice as a chiropractor in Illinois. Shortly thereafter, he was also issued a license to practice in California, where he practiced as a chiropractor from May 1979 through late November 1982. On June 2, 1982, plaintiff applied for admission to the CETEC University School of Medicine, located in the Dominican Republic. Plaintiff's application to CETEC was accepted on July 21, 1982, with an expected graduation date of June 1983. Plaintiff paid $20,000 to CETEC for tuition between June 1982 and December 1982. Without attending any medical school classes or doing any clinical work under the auspices of CETEC or any other medical school, plaintiff received a medical diploma from CETEC on January 31, 1983.
In January 1983, plaintiff took the ECFMG exam and failed it. The following April, plaintiff reapplied for the exam. On the second application, plaintiff repeated the false statements regarding his education. Plaintiff sat for the ECFMG exam on February 29, 1984, but failed it again. In September 1984, plaintiff returned to California, bought back his chiropractor business and resumed that profession.
On January 21, 1986, the Department filed a complaint against plaintiff seeking revocation or suspension of his Illinois license as a chiropractor for violation of section 16(5) of the Act on the grounds that in June 1982, plaintiff agreed to pay CETEC approximately $20,000 and received a diploma from CETEC in January 1983 without having done anything other than pay money. Thereafter, on September 19, 1986, the Department filed an amended complaint which realleged the original allegations, plus referred to the misrepresentations plaintiff had made on his ECFMG exam applications in October 1982 and April 1983.
On November 17, 1986, an evidentiary hearing was held before the Medical Disciplinary Board of the Department. On February 4, 1987, the Board issued its order, which set forth the following findings of fact:
(1) During June 1982, plaintiff agreed to pay CETEC $20,000 to obtain a Medical Doctor degree, from CETEC ...