Georgia

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

55

State rating (out of 100)

  • Board composition: 60
    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: 28
    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 Georgia

Highlighted case

Dr. Peter John Ulbrich

The medical board ordered the OB/gyn to undergo a mental and physical examination, and results revealed that he admitted to having sexual relations with two female patients and boundary violations with a third patient.

The examiners recommended an intensive program of treatment for sexual misconduct, and the board suspended him while he underwent treatment in 2010.

In 2011, the board received information Ulbrich may have been practicing medicine while his license was suspended. While he denied that, he admitted being present at Botox parties, where his patients received injections of Botox by an unlicensed person at a home. Still, the board allowed him to return to practice, on probation. All restrictions were lifted in 2015.

The board’s website shows that Ulbrich practices in Peachtree City, Ga.

He has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Researching a doctor

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

The medical board's website says it does not accept anonymous complaints except in cases where the physician is an immediate danger to citizens of Georgia or when a complaint involves the death of a patient. That's because the doctor in question has a right to face their accuser, the board says. However, the board said it investigates all complaints but sees anonymous ones as of limited use in its investigations.

Where to file a complaint

Quoted

“Maybe I am a pervert, I honestly don’t know.”

— Dr. Donald Ray Taylor to Kennestone Wellstar Hospital, after he was accused of pinching female patients’ nipples with a hemostat, supposedly to check their responsiveness to anesthesia; unnecessarily exposing female patients’ breasts during medical procedures; and subjecting young females to rectal and vaginal exams for no apparent medical reason. The medical board monitored him from 2000 to about 2008. Then in 2013 it found he had engaged in professional sexual misconduct with a patient and an employee. After a brief suspension, the board placed him on probation. He is still actively licensed in Georgia.

Taylor has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Key fact

Doctors are banned from sexual contact with former patients if they use or exploit the trust, knowledge, emotions or influence gained from the prior professional relationship. Our reporting in Georgia includes an investigation against a DeKalb County physician that began with an internet radio listener, how an undercover GBI agent posed as a patient to nab a serial abuser, and how one Metro Atlanta physician continues to practice despite repeated accusations spanning three decades.

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