State not keeping track of doctors and license requirements

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- In many professions, if you break the rules, you can get in serious trouble. So why would it be any different for doctors? It's not supposed to be -- but FOX6 Investigators have discovered the state hasn't been keeping tabs on whether Wisconsin doctors are keeping up with their license requirements.

When visiting doctors, patients likely trust they know what they're doing, they've kept up on the latest studies and the newest treatments. Because after all, they're supposed to!

The state of Wisconsin requires licensed doctors to have at least 30 hours of continuing medical education every two years.

"Whatever we learned in medical school 10, 20, 30 years ago has changed significantly over the last two to three decades and as a result, CME allows us to stay current to deliver the most current and comprehensive care to our patients," Medical Examining Board Member Dr. Kenneth Simons said.

As it turns out, nobody has been monitoring doctors in Wisconsin to see if they're really doing what they're supposed to.

State law says the Medical Examining Board, in charge of doctor discipline should randomly require proof that physicians are following the rules and keeping up with the latest science.

"To go back 30 years in records and find out that nobody has ever, can remember doing an audit, is kind of shocking," Medical Examining Board Chair Dr. Sheldon Wasserman said.

The Medical Examining Board says it's not concerned that Wisconsin doctors are lying about their continuing medical education, but the fact that nobody's been checking is unacceptable.

"The department just hasn't, basically, it has let the ball drop on this one. We want something better than the bottom of the barrel for the state of Wisconsin. We expect more," Wasserman said.

The Department of Safety and Professional Services says it will start a new audit process in February 2014. 10% of Wisconsin doctors will have to prove they attended required medical classes. Those doctors will be randomly selected.

"We assume that it's part of our licensing fees that we pay that there's an audit done. They talk about an audit -- especially when you talk about an audit but then you don't do it, why is that even taking place? Why is the government saying one thing and doing another?" Wasserman said.

Wisconsin is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to keeping up with medical education.

Dr. Wasserman says he'd like to see doctors do even more than the 30 hours of continuing medical education that is already required.