To pursue this investigation, reporters at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today worked with TruthMD, a Los Angeles-based company whose MedFax service collects information on physicians from thousands of sources.
More than 500 such cases were identified. Each one was checked with the state medical board that took the initial action against the physician. The reporters also verified that the other board took no public action of its own.
Additionally, reporters obtained thousands of pages of medical board records, court filings, Medicare records, and federal actions on specific cases. In the analysis, reporters excluded cases where the initial action was dismissed or found baseless. In some cases, a board took action well after another state issued a public notice. Cases were included if there was a gap of at least a year between the first state’s action and the follow-up in a second state.
To identify cases where a physician applied for a license in a new state after an investigation started in another, reporters flagged cases where the physician pursued a license after the action that eventually resulted in discipline.
Reporters also interviewed dozens of people, including individual physicians accused of wrongdoing, families of those alleged to have been harmed, state medical board officials, and experts in the field of physician discipline.