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


State rating (out of 100)

  • Board composition: 75
    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: 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.
    • Has the state criminalized sexual misconduct involving doctors and patients?: 24 of 40
      Since 2013, an activist had pushed the legislature to pass a law to criminalize sex abuse by therapists when the relationship was so-called consensual. Then in 2016, the General Assembly passed a bill that prohibits a "professional counselor or therapist" from engaging in a sexual act, sexual contact or intercourse with a person receiving therapy at the time or within the two years of the therapy. Violators are guilty of third-degree sexual offense and subject to up to 10 years in prison. The law defines therapists, and physicians are included.

More from Maryland

Highlighted case

Dr. Michael S. Rudman

Rudman managed to keep his license for years, despite a parade of patients who said they were molested, as he contested board orders. Board documents indicate he had abused patients as early as the 1970s, when he groped the breasts of a 13-year-old who went to see him for a sore throat.

Another said that when she was 17, the doctor instructed her to get undressed for an exam, leaned against the exam room door and watched her undress.

His license was suspended in 2006 because of a complaint that he had molested a patient during treatment for fibromyalgia. But he contested the suspension and the board vacated it two weeks later, allowing him to practice with a chaperone.

Following his Alford plea to second-degree assault -- a plea in which he didn't admit guilt but acknowledged there was evidence to convict him -- in December 2006 the board revoked his license.

Rudman then filed for judicial review of the board order, saying that by virtue of the court’s granting his request for probation before judgment in the criminal case, his guilty plea was suspended. He also argued that second-degree assault is not a crime of moral turpitude and thus not grounds for revocation.

A judge granted his first point. On the second, he wrote that “For a physician to sexually abuse his patient is so outrageous as to require no argument to find moral turpitude.” But the judge said that since the facts in the case were disputed and the specific sex crimes were dropped with acceptance of his plea, the second-degree assault charge should not be considered a crime of moral turpitude. So he vacated the board’s order.

In 2010, the board again accused Rudman of engaging in sexual misconduct under the guise of treatment during medical appointments. In 2011, seven patients testified to abuse.

The board in 2012 revoked his license, saying, “The deliberate sexual touching of patients’ bodies is despicable conduct that is a disgrace to the medical profession."

Rudman 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 Maryland, the best chance of finding problems is to search the records offered by the Maryland Board of Physicians. 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 board said it investigates all complaints under its jurisdiction, including anonymous ones. But its website advises that sufficient information must be provided for the board to proceed with the case. The complaint form warns that the board cannot guarantee anonymity. Those who wish to remain anonymous, it advises, should not include information on the complaint form, envelope, e-mail or other material that reveals identity.

Where to file a complaint


"[His] ingrained pattern of self-gratification at the expense of his patients, incompetent practice, and deceit and corruption makes it appear unlikely that he was ever fit to practice medicine.”

— An administrative law judge, commenting on the case of Dr. Ramon L. Gonzalez, who the board determined sexually abused female patients, including adolescents, since his time in medical school. His license was revoked.

Key fact

The state had no system for verifying the criminal histories of doctors until 2015, when the General Assembly passed a law requiring doctors to submit to criminal background checks. The action came after an eye doctor was accused of sexually assaulting a patient, and it was revealed that he had been convicted previously in Florida of raping a woman at gunpoint.

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