Wisconsin Health News
December 22, 2022
The Medical Examining Board on Wednesday signed off on a draft of a rule on use of chaperones and other observers during sensitive patient exams. The proposal will now head to the governor's office and then the Legislature for their consideration.
Jameson Whitney, an attorney for the Department of Safety and Professional Services, said the final version factors in comments from Legislative Council, public feedback and a meeting with the Wisconsin Hospital Association.
Under the plan, the Medical Examining Board, when determining whether alleged misconduct occurred, could take into consideration the failure of a doctor to follow the rules established by their employer regarding chaperones or other observers in patient exams.
Self-employed doctors or those practicing in practice settings that do not involve hospitals or employers will have to establish and comply with their own written procedures. They’d have to make those available and accessible to all patients likely to receive a non-emergency examination of the breasts, genitals or rectal area.
The board couldn't find doctors in violation of the rule because a third-party didn't create a chaperone policy or allow its posting or notification.
Another change to the rule clarifies that it’s not intended to impose a requirement on any person or entity the board doesn’t oversee. There are also modifications to the definition of chaperone, whom is chosen by the doctor, and observer, whom is chosen by a patient.
Matthew Stanford, WHA general counsel, said those working on the rule reached “a good place ... that both will protect patients and provide a good framework for physicians” to know what’s required and what’s not. Previous attempts at drafting the rule ran into hurdles from doctor and hospital groups