Wisconsin Regulation of Physicians

According to Wisconsin law, “Physician” means an individual possessing the degree of doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy or an equivalent degree as determined by the medical examining board, and holding a license granted by the medical examining board[i].  A license is mandatory to practice medicine and surgery.

An applicant for license to practice medicine and surgery who has passed an examination satisfactory to the board, or who is a graduate of a medical school in Wisconsin, and who more than 30 days prior to the date set by the board for the holding of its next examination has complied with all the requirements of license may, at the discretion of the board, be granted a temporary license to practice medicine and surgery[ii].  Such temporary license shall expire 60 days after the next examination for license is given or on the date following the examination on which the board grants or denies such applicant a license, whichever occurs first.  However, the temporary license shall automatically expire on the first day the board begins its examination of applicants after granting such license, unless its holder submits to examination on such date.

A temporary license shall also be granted to a graduate of a foreign medical school who is invited to serve on the academic staff of a medical school in Wisconsin as a visiting professor, may be granted a temporary license to practice medicine and surgery if the applicant does not have an arrest or conviction record.  Such license shall expire 2 years after its date of granting and may be renewed at the discretion of the board.

The board has discretion to grant a temporary license to practice medicine and surgery for a period not to exceed 90 days to a nonresident physician who is serving on a full-time or temporary basis in a camp or other recreational facility, or to a physician temporarily maintaining the practice of another physician.  In either case, the applicant for such temporary license must convince the board that the applicant is needed in the area in which the applicant wishes to serve and that the applicant holds a license granted upon written examination in another licensing jurisdiction of the U.S. or Canada.  The board may renew such temporary license for additional periods of 90 days each but may not renew such license more than 3 consecutive times.
In order to be qualified for the grant of any license, an applicant must not have an arrest or conviction record, achieve a passing grade in the examinations stipulated by the board and must be found qualified by three-fourths of the members of the board[iii].  In the case of an applicant for temporary license s/he  must be found qualified by 2 members of the board.  The applicant must be a graduate of and possess a diploma from a medical or osteopathic college approved by the board and has completed postgraduate training of 12 months in a facility approved by the board.  If an applicant is a graduate of a foreign medical school which has not been approved by the board, and if such applicant has had postgraduate training in the U.S. in a 12-month program approved by the board or has had other professional experience, and if such applicant has passed the examinations given by the educational council for foreign medical graduates or its successors, the board may issue a license to such applicant to practice medicine and surgery.  If an applicant is a graduate of a foreign medical school not approved by the board, and such foreign medical school requires either social service or internship or both of its graduates, and if such applicant has not completed such requirements but has completed a 12-month supervised clinical training program under the direction of a medical school approved by the board and has complied with all other requirements, the applicant may then be admitted to examination for a license to practice medicine and surgery.

In lieu of its own examinations, in whole or in part, the board may make such use as it deems appropriate of examinations prepared, administered, and scored by national examining agencies, or by other licensing jurisdictions of the U.S. or Canada.  The board has discretion to specify passing grades for any and all examinations and require failed candidates to reapply for licensure or certification before being admitted to subsequent examinations.  As such a failed applicant may be reexamined not more than twice in no less than 4-month intervals and shall pay a reexamination fee.  An applicant who fails to achieve a passing grade on the 2nd such reexamination may not be admitted to further examination until the applicant reapplies for licensure or certification and also presents to the board evidence of further professional training or education as the board may deem appropriate.

Application for any class of license to practice medicine and surgery also shall be accompanied by a verified statement that the applicant is familiar with the state health laws and the rules of the department of health services as related to communicable diseases[iv].  If three-fourths of the members of the board find that an applicant who has passed the required examinations is qualified, the board shall so notify the applicant and shall grant the license, certificate or limited permit.  The board may grant a limited license if the applicant has not demonstrated adequate education, training or performance on examinations or in past practice to qualify for full licensure.

The board may deny an application for any class of license or certificate and refuse to grant such license on the basis of unprofessional conduct, failure to possess the education and training, or failure to achieve a passing grade in the required examinations[v].

A physician who violates any provision of this subchapter, except Wis. Stat. §  448.08 (3) may be fined not more than $25,000 or imprisoned not more than 9 months or both[vi].  A person who violates s. 448.08 (3) may be fined not more than $250.

An aggrieved person can seek judicial review and shall file notice of such appeal with the secretary of the board within 30 days[vii].  In addition to the disciplinary remedies, the board can bring an action for injunction against physicians to enjoin such persons from violation and causing harm to the public[viii].  Anyone practicing medicine, surgery or osteopathy without a license or a certificate of registration shall be liable to the penalties and liabilities for malpractice.  The physicians cannot claim ignorance as a ground for lessening the penalties for malpractice[ix].

The physicians shall submit proof of continuing education programs or courses of study approved for at least 30 hours of credit by the board within the 2 calendar years preceding the calendar year for which the registration is effective[x]. The board may waive this requirement in the vent of prolonged illness, disability, or other similar circumstances which have prevented a physician from meeting the requirement.

[i] Wis. Stat. § 448.01.

[ii] Wis. Stat. § 448.04.

[iii] Wis. Stat. § 448.05.

[iv] Wis. Stat. § 448.05.

[v] Wis. Stat. § 448.06.

[vi] Wis. Stat. § 448.09.

[vii] Id.

[viii] Wis. Stat. § 448.11.

[ix] Wis. Stat. § 448.12.

[x] Wis. Stat. § 448.13.


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