Medical board: Tighten requirements, get better doctorsThe state board that disciplines physicians wants lawmakers to approve a change in licensing, so that Wisconsin is not a magnet for poorly trained physicians.
By: By Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The state board that disciplines physicians wants lawmakers to approve a change in licensing, so that Wisconsin is not a magnet for poorly trained physicians.
Most states in the U.S. require two years of hands-on training following medical school before applying for a doctor's license. In Wisconsin, the requirement is just one year. Dr. Sheldon Wasserman wants that extended to at least two years, if not three. He chairs the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board.
“We're really the bottom of the barrel,” he said. “We are getting ... The worst applicants in the country are coming to Wisconsin and applying for a license here.”
Wasserman says some medical students applying for a doctor's license may have been kicked out of residency; others are international medical graduates who aren't familiar with modern American medicine. In addition to seeking changes in licensing, the board is updating doctors' professional code of conduct, which covers the relatively minor to the serious.
“If you're supposed to operate on the right kidney and you're working on the left kidney, there's not an issue of 'I've made a mistake.' It's more than that,” Wasserman said. “You have clearly crossed a line we've marked in the sand that says you have crossed over into unprofessional conduct and that by definition will be malpractice.”
The consumer watchdog group Public Citizen has put Wisconsin near the bottom of states in punishing doctors. In the group’s latest report, Wisconsin ranked 46th.