MacIver News Service | March 15, 2011
[Madison, Wisc...] Doctors accused of writing fake sick notes to protesters who staged sick outs to attend rallies, have until March 21st to respond to complaints filed with the Department of Regulation and Licensing, MacIver News Service has learned.
On Saturday, February 19th, MacIver News Service broke the story in which doctors were caught on video offering and handing out sick notes to protesters who needed excuses for missing work the week before. These doctor's notes were handed out without any attempt to perform even a cursory medical examine or to solicit even a rudimentary medical history from the 'patients.'
After several complaints were lodged by witnesses and individuals who saw the MNS report, the Division of Enforcement in the Department of Regulation and Licensing (DRL) informed the doctors of the complaints filed against them.
The letters were mailed to eleven respondents on February 28th and included copies of complaints filed with the Department. According to the DRL, nine of the individuals against whom complaints have been lodged are licensed physicians and two are unlicensed individuals. The doctors were requested to provide a written explanation to each of the allegations contained in the complaints. The DRL has not yet released those complaints to the public, however the original MNS report did identify one of the doctors allegedly involved.
"The Wisconsin Medical Examining Board, which is the regulatory authority that issued your license, has requested that we review the enclosed complaints that have been filed against you. The complaints allege that you signed "fake" sick notes for people who skipped school or work to demonstrate at the State Capitol," the letters to the licensed individuals read.
The controversial notes were issued during a mid-February rally in Madison wherein supporters of government employee unions were protesting Governor Scott Walker's Budget Repair Bill, now known as 2011 Wisconsin Act 10.
“I asked if they were handing out doctors’ excuses and a guy said yes and asked me if I needed one,” one anonymous patient who received one of the bogus excuse notes told MNS. “When I told them I needed one for February 16 and 17th, he wondered if I wanted to come back here for the protests next week.”
What happened next surprised her.
“I said, ‘sure,’ and I received a doctor’s note for the 16th through the 25th of February, without a medical exam.”
The notes read:
Feb 19, 2011
Date of birth ____/_____/_____
To Whom it May Concern:
This is confirm I have seen and evaluated the above named patient.
Please excuse from work/school due to a medical condition from
Please contact me at email@example.com if additional information is needed. Thank you.
WI license number
Based on an examination of the signature and medical license number provided, one of the men handing out these notes was purporting to be James H Shropshire MD, a Clinical Associate Professor at the University Wisconsin Madison.
The complaints with the Department of Regulations and Licensing and the doctors’ subsequent responses will be reviewed by the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board, who will determine the merits of the complaints. At that time the Board will either consider the complaints closed, or recommend an investigation be conducted.
The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation have also launched their own investigation into the matter.
“The investigation will identify which UW Health physicians were involved and whether their behavior constituted violations of medical ethics or University of Wisconsin and UW Health policies and work rules,” UW Health said in a press statement issued last month. “The investigation and any potential future action will follow the established procedures of the University of Wisconsin. Any future disciplinary action taken will be considered a personnel matter and in accord with University of Wisconsin policies, and will not be open to public discussion.”
See the initial report, including the video which captured some of the incidents, here.