SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — In a swift about-face, the state agency that grants medical licenses issued an official apology and effectively closed an investigation that it opened into a Carle Hospital sports medicine doctor who also serves as an elected school board member in Mahomet.
According to letters provided by his attorney, Dr. Jeremy Henrichs will no longer have to respond to questions asking if he would enforce Governor Pritzker’s mask mandate in his official capacity as an elected school board member.
“Please disregard the questions posed in the emails,” IDFPR general counsel Dina Martin wrote in a letter. “On behalf of the Department, I sincerely apologize for the tone and content of those communications.”
In an emailed statement, the agency’s communications staff said, “Our preliminary review of this complaint has concluded and the strong recommendation to the Medical Disciplinary Board will be that this complaint be closed. Under current law, only the Medical Disciplinary Board can close a complaint.”
State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), who says he is a patient of Dr. Henrichs, suggested the original emails could have risen to the level of criminal intimidation of a public official.
“This is fundamentally un-American,” Rose said on Thursday. “I mean, this is stuff that happens in places like North Korea. In this country, you have a right to your opinion, good, bad, indifferent, otherwise. An elected official is entitled to call them as they see them. No one should have their professional livelihood threatened, coerced, intimidated, based upon their opinion. It’s just flat out wrong.”
Rose has filed a complaint with the Office of the Executive Inspector General and called for someone to foot the bill for Henrichs’ legal fees.
In its letter to Henrichs, IDFPR sought to explain how the investigation began in the first place.
“For years, the Department has generally maintained a practice of opening an investigation of every complaint it receives relating to individuals licensed by the Department,” Martin wrote. “As you can understand, not every complaint requires a detailed investigation or action; however, that determination cannot be made at the time of the initial filing.”
Henrichs serves on the school board at the Mahomet-Seymour school district, where students will be required to wear masks when they return to class in the fall, regardless of their vaccination status. He had previously voted to support a mask-optional policy when that was still recommended by the CDC.
“While Dr. Henrichs looks forward to the Medical Disciplinary Board’s formal closure of this complaint and getting back to seeing his patients, productive conversations as member of the Mahomet Seymour Board of Education, and, most of all, allowing his family to move forward without this awful distraction,” his attorney Jerry Stocks wrote in a press release, “until this complaint has, in fact, formally been dismissed, Dr. Henrichs has nothing further to say at this time.”