SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — The Illinois Department of Insurance hit Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois with a $605 thousand fine Wednesday after an investigation found the company violated the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois insists its network is adequate, despite the state’s fine.

“The Department’s findings affirm BCBSIL’s belief that our networks offer our members adequate access to care across every Illinois county,” a spokesman said in a statement to WCIA. “We worked with the IDOI throughout the audit to resolve remaining areas of concern and develop plans to adjust some of our operational systems and processes. Market conduct exams are a normal part of doing business and such exams are just one of the ways we actively work with regulators to ensure we are best serving the needs of our members.”

The investigation into BCBSIL started after a Target 3 investigation found problems in the companies directory of providers.

The state’s report linked several of the issues with the company’s directory back to it’s split with Springfield Clinic. That split left thousands of Springfield Clinic patients with two options — find a new doctor or pay extremely high out-of-network costs to see their Springfield Clinic doctors.

A spokesperson for Springfield Clinic said the fine is a good start, but it does little for the patients affected by the problems with the network.

“I think that it’s a good first step of accountability, about an issue that we’ve known has existed for a long time,” Zach Kerker, Vice President of Brand Experience and Advocacy at Springfield Clinic said. “But we’ve also got more questions, I think, which are, what does this really mean to patients who have and continue to be impacted?”

The two sides fought for months over a deal to keep Springfield Clinic in network leading up to the split. For the better part of the past year, negotiations have been non-existent.

But that changed this past week, according to Kerker.

“So for the first time in over eight months last week, we heard from them with a proposal of sorts,” Kerker said. “I think that we have said from the beginning that we will we want to be a network since they’ve kicked us out of the PPO network. We want to be in that network.”

This is the second time in as many years that the state fined BCBSIL. The first came when the health insurance company failed to report a “material change” to the Illinois Department of Insurance after removing Springfield Clinic from their list of providers. The IDOI fined the company $339 thousand dollars.

“The law requires health insurance companies to have a provider network that meets proper time and distance standards for consumers to receive care, as well as up-to-date, accurate directories identifying which providers are in-network,” IDOI Director Dana Popish Severinghaus said in a statement. “When companies under our regulatory authority are in violation of insurance laws meant to protect consumers, we will take action.”

The Illinois Department of Insurance said in a follow-up statement to WCIA that it’s investigation found no inadequacies with the patient to provider ratio with the company. The inadequacies they found pertained to the maximum distance requirements the state has for directories. When health insurance companies list a provider in their directory, they also must list the distance the provider is from the patient and how long it would take the patient to get to that provider.

The state investigation found multiple instances where BCBSIL did not properly list the amount of time it would take for someone to get to the provider. Instead, they only listed the distance between the patient and the provider, calculated by drawing a straight line between the two, rather than following the actual route needed to get there.

“This market conduct exam found no inadequacies in patient to provider ratio and time/distance standards,” a spokesperson for IDOI said in a statement. “However, as indicated in the final report, the market conduct exam did find that the company’s provider directories had incorrect travel times.”

Despite saying the state found no inadequacies in those two areas, the state did find enough problems to levy the $605 thousand fine. The state’s investigation found that BCBSIL committed several violations of the Network Adequacy and Transparency Act, including failing to provide updated information on the adequacy of their networks to the state, failing to properly list all of their specialty providers in their directory and failing to properly audit their own directory. The full report from the state’s investigation can be found here.

BCBSIL already paid the fine. The company also agreed to a list of orders from the state that the company would need to follow in order to comply with the law. BCBSIL signed the order on January 30th of this year, and they were required to submit proof of compliance within thirty days of the order being issued. The state’s report, which was released on March 9th, did not include any proof of compliance from BCBSIL.

Kerker is skeptical that the problems can be fixed in that short amount of time. He says Springfield Clinic is constantly getting calls more than a year after the split from patients who’s doctors are now out-of-network, and need help finding care.

“We know better than anybody what the impact to patients have been, because we’ve been trying to help patients find pathways to care over the course of the past year, and anybody in this community who thinks that there’s an adequate network of those providers? I don’t think you’ll find anybody who says that.”

On March 21st, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules — a powerful rulemaking committee in the Capitol — will meet to discuss a new version of the rules outlining how insurance companies must report information to the state, and how that information must be laid out in the patient directories.