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


State rating (out of 100)

  • 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.
    • Is the public well represented?: 30 of 50
      Seven physicians, two public members and one member of law enforcement serve on the board. Idaho is the only state requiring a representative of law enforcement on its board.
  • Criminal acts: 68
    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 Idaho

Highlighted case

Dr. Richard Pines

Pines, a child psychiatrist who worked at a children’s home, was accused of sexually abusing four boys at his home under the guise of giving them massages and other exams because he needed the practice as a physician.

Three of the boys were foster children in his care and a fourth was a close friend of Pines' adopted son. One of the four boys was a long-term psychiatric patient.

The Idaho Board of Medicine revoked Pines' license in 2013, but two years later the board was ordered by the state Supreme Court to re-evaluate the action, even though the court found that Pines had had improper sexual contact with two of the youths.

The court scolded the board for using "heated rhetoric and denunciations" in its original complaint, such as its statement that Pines’ conduct was "'So corrupt and degenerate as to shock the conscience.'"

“While it is true that Pines conducted himself in a reprehensible manner, taking advantage of young men with troubled pasts, a tribunal does not give the impression of impartiality" with such language, the court said.

Pines' license is still shown as revoked. 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 Idaho, the best chance of finding problems is to search the records offered by the Idaho Board of Medicine. 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

All complaints must be signed. However, the board said it has discretion to open its own investigation if any information it receives contains sufficient grounds for a complaint. Those who file complaints are updated on the status of the investigation. But the complainant may not be told what action the board takes, because some actions are not public information.

Where to file a complaint


“State medical boards are seeing a growing number of complaints regarding sexual boundary issues. …Given that it is the Board of Medicine’s primary responsibility to protect the welfare of the public, sexual misconduct will not be tolerated in any form. It doesn’t matter whether the misconduct is viewed as emanating from an underlying form of impairment, mental disorder, sexual disorder, addictive disorder or life crisis.”

—Dr. Robert Ward, vice chairman of the Idaho board, writing on sexual boundaries in 2013 for the board’s newsletter.

Key fact

The Board of Medicine cannot mandate permanent revocation of a doctor’s license, the board's executive director said.

  1. Click here to find your state!