State report card

The report card for each state contains the scores it received when we evaluated it for how well it protects patients against sexually abusive doctors. The overall rating is the average of the score the state received in each category. In states with two medical boards, one for osteopathic physicians and the other for medical doctors, the overall rating is based on an average of each board’s scores.

Click on the boxes below to read how Wisconsin did on each category — and how we calculated the score for the categories.


State rating (out of 100)

  • Board composition: 65
    Are consumer members included to balance physicians’ tendency to identify with their colleagues? More...
    A blueprint developed by The Federation of State Medical Boards recognized the importance of having independent public members on physician-dominated medical regulatory agencies. To assess the composition of disciplinary agencies, the AJC used three measures, with the most weight given to consumer representation. Top grades went to states where public members make up at least 40 percent of the board; where those members represent consumers and where neither they nor their family members have professional or financial ties to health care; and where women hold at least 40 percent of the board seats.
  • Criminal acts: 36
    Are medical regulators and law enforcement made aware of doctors’ criminal conduct? More...
    The medical profession has long recognized the power imbalance between doctors and patients. But only in recent years have states enacted three key laws to try to protect vulnerable patients from dangerous doctors. The AJC considered two of these laws the most important. Top grades went to states where physicians must undergo criminal background checks, with fingerprints, at initial license application and periodically; and where doctor-patient sexual contact has been made a criminal offense in recognition that patients cannot give meaningful consent. In addition, the AJC also rated states on whether medical boards that learn of allegations of criminal conduct must alert law enforcement.

More from Wisconsin

Highlighted case

Dr. Kevin A. Lang

After a patient had been sedated, the gastroenterologist in March 2009 placed her hand on his penis and moved her hand over her breast while he was treating her. She awoke when she felt “something strange” in her hand and when she opened her eyes, he withdrew her hand from his erect penis inside his pants. At the time, he also had been moving her left hand back and forth against her nipple.

It was apparent from the evidence that he did this twice, interrupted the first time when another staff member came into the room. The staffer reported this to her internist.

When confronted a few days later, Lang acknowledged what he did and voluntarily surrendered his hospital privileges. Then after going to treatment at Behavioral Medicine Institute in Atlanta, he reported to the Wisconsin board that while being treated at the institute, between 2003 and 2007, he had committed more acts of sexual misconduct with patients when they were sedated.

The first such act was in the fall 2003, and he said that when he was confronted by the hospital administration, he denied the allegation and the facility took no action.

He surrendered his license in 2010, and the next year was sentenced to five years in prison and 10 years on extended supervision on four counts of sexually assaulting an intoxicated victim.

Researching a doctor

  • Accurate records of sexual abuse accusations against doctors are not always easily accessible. In Wisconsin, the best chance of finding problems is to search records maintained by theDepartment of Safety and Professional Services. Please note that license search results typically include all public disciplinary actions, not just those involving sexual misconduct, and can sometimes include vague language. Also, some states deal with some disciplinary issues privately; private board orders are not included.

Complaint process

The board said anonymous complaints are investigated. But the board advises on its website that anonymous complaints could limit its investigation or contribute to a decision not to investigate. It also advises that under the state's Open Records Law, complaints are generally available for review on request from the public after the board of agency action is completed.

Where to file a complaint


“Each year, the Medical Examining Board receives a number of complaints alleging that physicians have had inappropriate physical contact with patients during examinations and treatment…Responding to a complaint will cost a physician time and expense and may be emotionally stressful.”

— Wisconsin board's guidance in 2011 to physicians, in recommending, but not requiring, that they use chaperones.

Key fact

State law says that sexual conduct between a physician and patient is prohibited, and the prohibition extends to two years after the doctor has quit treating a patient. For children, the ban goes until two years after the patient reaches the age of majority. The state also makes clear that it is always prohibited for a doctor to have sexual contact with a person who lacks the ability to consent for any reason, including medication or psychological or cognitive disability.

Read more

Stevens Point Journal: Plover doctor charged with sexual assault
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