State investigating 11 doctors in excuse notes scandal - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

State investigating 11 doctors who allegedly gave medical excuse notes to protesters

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Department of Regulation and Licensing is investigating 11 doctors who witnesses say gave out medical excuse notes to protesters at the Capitol, according to a statement by Secretary Dave Ross.

The DRL says it has received information from 64 individuals, complaining that doctors on the square gave out medical excuse notes to teachers and others on February 19.

The statement did not identify the doctors by name, but said that nine were licensed by the state, and two were unlicensed. State investigators have requested the doctors provide information to the department about their activities at the Capitol by March 21.

The controversy over medical excuse notes stems from the cancellation of school days at several south-central districts while many teachers protested the Governor's budget repair bill. Madison schools were closed for four days in February because of "massive teacher absences," although the number of missing teachers is still unclear.

The district told 27 News this week it is evaluating 1,020 medical excuse notes for legitimacy, but adds that the number of notes does not necessarily represent the number of teachers who submitted them.

Madison Metropolitan School District spokesperson Ken Syke has said any teacher who called in sick and did not provide a valid excuse note will not be paid, and could be subject to further disciplinary consequences.

Here is the statement from Secretary Ross:

"The Department of Regulation and Licensing (DRL) received numerous contacts from individuals expressing concern about physicians who were allegedly writing medical excuses for individuals attending rallies at the Capitol last month.

DRL staff reviewed all of the correspondence and determined that 64 individuals who contacted the department had specific information that would constitute a complaint. Based on the information provided by those 64 individuals, DRL identified 11 people who have been asked to provide information to the department about their activities at the Capitol. This group includes nine licensed physicians and two unlicensed individuals. The 11 individuals have been requested to provide their responses to DRL by March 21st.

Responses from the individuals in question will be considered by a screening panel of the Medical Examining Board which will decide whether to open investigations in these matters. If a case is opened for investigation, a more extensive fact-finding would occur and a recommendation would be made at the end of the process as to whether disciplinary action will be pursued.

Any charge against a physician is taken seriously and this is no exception. Rest assured, the agency is processing these complaints as quickly as possible. DRL will be working with the independent Medical Examining Board to appropriately review these complaints.

The DRL and MEB are charged with licensing qualified, competent physicians and enforcing discipline against physicians whose practice is substandard."

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Medical licensing authorities in Wisconsin are looking into allegations that doctors handed out medical excuse notes to protesters in Madison without examining them.

The state Department of Regulation and Licensing says it's asking for more information from nine doctors and two unlicensed people. They have until March 21 to provide more information. Their responses will go to the separate Medical Examining Board, which will then decide whether to open an investigation.

The licensing department said on Friday that 64 people complained about the notes. So many teachers called in sick during protests in Madison last month that some districts had to cancel school. Penalties for doctors could include reprimands, or licensing limits, suspension, or revocation.

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