Arkansas

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 Arkansas did on each category — and how we calculated the score for the categories.

47

State rating (out of 100)

  • Transparency: 50
    Is complete and accurate information on physician discipline provided to help patients protect themselves? More...
    The best states make it easy for the public to find comprehensive information on physicians, including whether they have been disciplined for sexual abuse or other violations. To assess transparency, the AJC used five measures. Top grades went to states where medical regulators posted disciplinary orders on websites going back at least 15 years; fully detailed the acts that led to sanctions; avoided private orders, reprimands or letters; provided easy web access to clearly labeled doctor information including disciplinary documents; and listed any hospital sanctions, criminal convictions and out-of-state disciplinary actions for each physician.
  • Duty-to-report laws: 38
    Are colleagues and institutions that are aware of potential physician misconduct required to notify regulators? More...
    To break the code of silence that can shield abusive doctors, the best states have laws requiring all physicians and health care institutions to notify regulators of potential violations. To assess these laws, the AJC used five measures. Top grades went to states where a broad range of health care facilities, not only hospitals, are required to notify regulators of alleged physician misconduct; where there is a deadline of no more than 30 days for making those reports; where penalties for failing to report are clear and significant; where doctors are required to report fellow practitioners; and where courts or law enforcement agencies must notify regulators when a doctor is criminally convicted.
    • Which health care facilities must report doctors to medical regulators?: 12 of 20
      Hospitals must report the name and pertinent information about doctors whose privileges have been revoked, limited or terminated for any cause, including resignation. They also are required to report any other formal disciplinary action taken upon recommendation of their medical staff relating to professional ethics, moral turpitude, medical incompetence or drug or alcohol abuse. But the law doesn't cover other health care facilities such as nursing homes and clinics.
    • Does the law establish penalties for failure to comply?: 6 of 20
      None specified. The board said that at times it has required licensed physicians in positions of authority at hospitals to appear and answer questions as to why information was not provided. But the board can only take disciplinary action against those it licenses. Otherwise, it must refer the matter to other regulatory agencies.
  • Board composition: 50
    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.
  • Discipline laws: 60
    Do state laws strengthen oversight and discipline of problem physicians? More...
    Abusive physicians can be protected by laws that limit regulators’ ability to investigate cases and don’t require permanent revocation of doctor licenses for egregious offenses. To assess the legal environment for doctor discipline, the AJC examined four key laws. Top grades went to states that require permanent revocation of doctor licenses for some violations; where physicians who have been convicted of felonies or who have lost their licenses in other states cannot be licensed; where medical regulators are entitled to records and other proceedings of hospital peer review committees that examine doctor misconduct; and where there is a reasonable standard of proof required for disciplinary action against physicians, especially in sexual misconduct cases where there may be no independent witnesses.

More from Arkansas

Highlighted case

Dr. Clarence J. Arendall

Arendall was sentenced in March 2009 to five years in prison on two felony counts of sexual assault of patients. The Arkansas State Medical Board found that he’d had sexual contact with nine patients, including one woman who said she’d had psychiatric problems since she was a child.

At Arendall's trial, 10 women testified that he had molested them during exams, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Arendall's license was revoked in April 2009. He died in February 2014.

Researching a doctor

  • Accurate records of sexual abuse accusations against doctors are not always easily accessible. In Arkansas, the best chance of finding problems is to search the records offered by the Arkansas State Medical Board. You can search for any board orders against Arkansas doctors here. 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

Online instructions state that complaints must be submitted in writing and include a patient's full name and the signature of the person filing the complaint. Upon receiving a complaint, the board sends a copy to the doctor. But the board said it does sometimes investigate anonymous complaints.

Where to file a complaint

Quoted

“The thing I’m having the most trouble with is how seven women from different walks of life have come together and made these allegations against you.”

— Arkansas State Medical Board member Dr. Jim Citty, as quoted in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in the case of a doctor accused of fondling numerous patients.

Key fact

The medical board’s report of 2015 statistics shows that it received three complaints of doctors having sexual or romantic relationships with patients. It reported four such complaints in 2014 and four in 2013. No information is provided on the outcome of board investigations of those allegations.

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