- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A recent audit found nearly one in 11 licensed Wisconsin physicians were not in compliance with continuing education requirements, according to state Department of Safety and Professional Services records.

State regulators found 8 percent of doctors selected in the random audit failed to meet the requirements, the Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/1cUFqLK ) reported. While an overwhelming majority of doctors completed their continuing education, the past chairman of the state Medical Examining Board said the requirements are not that strict.

Wisconsin’s minimum requirements are the lowest in the nation, according to Sheldon Wasserman, who left the board as chairman last year. Physicians in Wisconsin must log 30 hours of continuing medical education every two years.

“It is shocking to know that 8 percent can’t even meet the minimum standard for the nation,” Wasserman said.

The Medical Examining Board last summer began an audit of continuing education compliance for the 2011-13 licensing period for the 25,000 active physicians in Wisconsin.

The results of that audit, conducted by selecting doctors randomly and then examining continuing education credit submissions, are rippling through the department’s disciplinary system now.

A new rule that went into effect June 1 requires biennial audits of the continuing education status for physicians.

Of 1,135 medical doctors audited, 94, or 8.3 percent, could not prove they had completed the required continuing education, according to department spokeswoman Hannah Zillmer. The licenses of 81 osteopathic doctors were audited, with seven of them not in compliance.

Wasserman said if a physician can’t get 30 continuing medical education credits in two years, “something is wrong with you.”

“Wisconsin’s public expects our doctors to be well-informed and kept updated, ready to deal with modern medicine and aware of the latest advances and knowledge out there, and (continuing education) is the way they can obtain that,” Wasserman said.

Nancy Nankivil, chief strategy and operations officer of the Wisconsin Medical Society, which offers many continuing education opportunities and keeps track of them for the state’s doctors, said most physicians “go beyond the requirements, but it is probably prudent for the state to do random audits just to make sure we have a certain level of compliance.”

“We’re pretty confident that physicians are getting the right amount both for licensing and for board certification,” she said.


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsj

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