The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board has punished doctors differently for the same offense over the past decade, but most physicians received the lightest penalty, a reprimand, according to a new report.
The medical board's disciplinary guidelines committee requested the report released Monday by the state Department of Safety and Professional Services after a newspaper investigation found Wisconsin was among the worst states for doctor discipline. The Wisconsin State Journal reported the board relies heavily on reprimands, even in cases involving serious harm or death.
The newspaper reported Tuesday that the board rarely revoked doctors' licenses from 2003 to 2013. It has a range of disciplinary options available, including reprimands, suspensions and revocation of licenses.
The report found the board issued different penalties for the same offenses but included no details on the cases, making it difficult to determine whether the situations were similar.
The most frequent violations were risk of harm to patients, improper drug prescribing and failure to keep proper patient care records. The board issued 125 penalties for those offenses, including 56 reprimands with additional requirements. It revoked licenses in four of those cases.
Board chairman Dr. Ken Simons said in an email Monday that he is "looking forward to comprehensively reviewing the data with the other committee members ... in an effort to guide our next steps and make recommendations for the full (medical board) to consider."