Study: Complaints against Wisc. MDs seldom have effect

In a phenomenon echoed in other states, it appears that few complaints filed against Wisconsin physicians result in disciplinary action. According to an analysis by one newspaper, only 213 of the 2,400 complaints filed between 2002 and 2006 resulted in some form of discipline, with 24 physicians losing their licenses, nine doctors facing revocations and 15 giving up their licenses. This rate of discipline, which equates to 1.78 serious disciplinary actions per 1,000 physicians between 2004 to 2006, puts the state at 46 out of 50 states and DC, according to consumer watchdog Public Citizen.

The newspaper report contends that Wisconsin's physician discipline rates are so low because the state Medical Examining Board has been slow to look into complaints. Medical Examining Board leaders, for their part, say that they simply don't have the resources to address the volume of complaints. Right now, examinations are conducted by a 12-member, part-time board composed of physicians and public members appointed by the governor. Investigations are conducted in cooperation with attorneys and investigators with the Department of Regulation and Licensing.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this Associated Press piece

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