Former Medical Board Chair: More sick note investigation needed - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Former Medical Board Chair: More sick note investigation needed


MADISON (WKOW) -- A former chairman of the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board told 27 News more investigation into Madison teachers submitting fraudulent sick notes is needed, after a newspaper reported the actions of 10 physicians who signed fraudulent notes are not listed as having been reviewed by the examining board.

Dr. Darold Treffert of Fond du Lac served as board chairman from 1998-2003. Treffert told 27 News the involvement of the 10 physicians in fraudulent notes should not be dismissed. 

"They ought not just be dismissed because time has elapsed.  Issuing a fraudulent or incomplete sick leave note knowingly,  to me,  is a serious matter."

Earlier this year, the board reprimanded seven physicians and sanctioned two others for failing to thoroughly review patient records in connection with signing sick notes. The notes were submitted by teachers in February when Madison schools closed for four days because of absences, as protests to Governor Walker's collective bargaining limits peaked at the State Capitol.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported 10 physicians not listed as part of the examining board's review wrote sick notes deemed fraudulent by Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) officials. The newspaper said it obtained records of the sick notes from the school district and discovered the existence of the additional physician involvement with fraudulent sick notes. The newspaper reported the ten additional doctors used sick note form letters listing as their contact information,  as did some of the disciplined doctors. 

School district officials have to yet to allow 27 News to inspect the previously-released records.

"I'm surprised the metropolitan school district, once they determined that these notes were fraudulent, did not immediately convey that to the medical examining board."

In a statement, a spokesperson for the department of safety and professional services suggested sick note records connected to the additional ten physicians were not provided to the medical examining board.

"As new potential violations come to light, DSPS will address each one of them and ensure they are thoroughly investigated,"  said DSPS spokesperson Greg Gasper.

A spokesperson for the Madison school district has yet to comment on the district's stance on sharing information on the fraudulent sick notes.

The newspaper reported some teachers were not paid for days in February in which they submitted sick notes.

Nearly all of the disciplined physicians were affiliated with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

UW School of Medicine spokesperson Lisa Brunette told 27 News officials reviewed 22 cases involving sick notes,  with officials finding several physicians had violated work rules.   Brunette said an appeals process continues.

Brunette said at the request of the examining board,  documentation was provided to the examining board,  but did not specify what records were shared.



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