The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s investigation of physician sexual misconduct found that one patient’s report of abuse often leads others to come forward with similar allegations. Here are several options for patients who suspect their doctors of sexual improprieties:
Police: Call your local police or sheriff’s department to report a sexual or physical assault.
State medical board: These agencies may revoke a doctor’s license or take other disciplinary action. Boards in some states won’t accept anonymous reports or don’t take complaints online.
Hospital or clinic affiliated with the doctor: Hospitals may have a formal process to investigate complaints of misconduct at their facilities. Patients may also report doctors to their medical group practice or clinic, many of whom have a human resources administrator or medical director.
Advocacy organizations: Groups such as SNAP, a network of survivors of institutional sexual abuse, offer advocacy and support for victims. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) helps patients report sexual abuse to authorities and take legal action.
Rape crisis centers: The National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673) directs victims to law enforcement or to health facilities for exams.
In an era when intimate information about almost anyone is just a few keystrokes away, finding out whether a doctor has a history of sexual misconduct or other offenses can be remarkably difficult. Medical licensing agencies sometimes reprimand doctors in confidential proceedings, public documents may obscure the details of a physician’s transgression, or records of disciplinary cases may not be posted online.
With those caveats in mind, here are ways to learn more about a doctor’s qualifications and background.
State medical authorities: These agencies license medical professionals, investigate complaints about physician misconduct, and levy penalties. Most states offer online tools to determine whether a doctor has a disciplinary record.
The national Federation of State Medical Boards provides a free search tool — www.docinfo.org — that directs users to state medical boards that have files on specific physicians.
HealthGrades.com: This free website collects data on doctors’ board certifications, malpractice claims, disciplinary actions and other information. Reports are more complete on doctors who practice in states where medical boards publish more material online.
Internet search: Doctors who have been accused of abusing patients may be the subject of news reports or social media posts. In some states, court records or police reports also may turn up.
Our state pages have resources to report misconduct or check a physician for disciplinary sanctions.Select your state
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Source: Federation of State Medical Boards