New Jersey

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


State rating (out of 100)

  • Duty-to-report laws: 84
    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.
    • Are physicians required to report peers?: 20 of 20
      Physicians must promptly notify regulators when they have information that reasonably indicates impairment, gross incompetence or unprofessional conduct that would present an imminent danger to a patient or the public.
  • Board composition: 55
    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.

More from New Jersey

Highlighted case

Dr. Gangaram Ragi

In 2003, the dermatologist was criminally charged after two female patients alleged that he had touched them in a sexual manner during medical exams in his office, but he entered a pretrial intervention program and was ordered to have a monitor whenever he examined a female patient, according to court documents.

In 2008, a state deputy attorney general filed a complaint alleging 10 counts of unwarranted touching of breasts during exams. (“All of the alleged impermissible touching took place no later than 2003,” the board noted). Victims spoke of his “groping,” “manhandling” and “copping a feel.”

Criminal charges again were filed, and for a second time Ragi got pretrial intervention.

The board tried to revoke his license in 2009, noting his lack of remorse. It also noted that “in exchange for the extraordinary grant of PTI a second time,” he had agreed to several requirements, including that there would be no need for the victims to testify. Instead, all statements or grand jury testimony could be presented to the medical board without objection or without need for the women to be present, the agreement said.

But Ragi objected to the board's using the statements, contending they were hearsay, and in 2010 an appeals court reversed the board and ordered “a full contested proceeding.”

In 2011, the board allowed him to see only male patients. The state board's website shows that his license is now active, with no restrictions.

Ragi 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 New Jersey, the best chance of finding problems is to search a list of disciplinary actions provided by the State Board of Medical Examiners. 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 person filing a complaint must both sign it and attest that the information is true. But the board said that in egregious cases, it might investigate anonymous complaints if there are indications of credibility.

Where to file a complaint


“Dr. Garcia, the women came to you in a vulnerable situation. They wanted children; they were hoping and praying to have children. They put their faith in you, and instead you sexually assaulted them.”

— Superior Court Judge Edward Jerejian, in sentencing of fertility doctor Alfredo Garcia in 2015, as quoted by The (Bergen County) Record. Garcia had entered a guilty plea and "admitted that he had engaged in acts of criminal sexual contact with regard to eight patients and criminal sexual assault of a ninth patient,” according to board documents. He was sentenced to seven years at a Department of Corrections diagnostic and treatment center. His medical license was revoked in 2015. In 1989 he had been required to have a chaperone with female patients. His license had been suspended 150 days in 2004 after two patients accused him of “medically inappropriate examinations,” according to board records.

Key fact

Doctors banned from treating females or under other practice restrictions are to get tighter oversight from the state, following a state review in 2015 about how the Board of Medical Examiners was handling cases of sexual misconduct. The investigation came after The (Bergen County) Record raised questions about why some doctors were allowed to keep practicing despite repeated allegations and criminal charges of sexually abusing patients.

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