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.

Since the grading was completed, Mississippi has begun to make improvements in transparency, removing barriers to disciplinary information about doctors.

Click on the boxes below to read how Mississippi did on each category — and how we calculated the score for the categories.


State rating (out of 100)

  • Board composition: 30
    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 Mississippi

Highlighted case

Dr. Paul Howard Emerson

It took the deaths of three people to invite the scrutiny that exposed this serial sexual offender. Emerson was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison in 2010 for three deaths related to his improper prescribing of painkillers and other dangerous drugs. But that’s the just the final chapter in a career that appears to have included sexual misconduct with patients at every turn.

Federal officials unearthed evidence that for two decades he committed multiple sexual offenses in a variety of settings. Court records show he was cited for misconduct as an intern at a Detroit hospital, where he conducted a pelvic exam of a 14-year-old girl complaining of asthma. Still, he was allowed to complete the internship while being “watched closely.”

He then served in the Air Force in Mississippi, where a similar allegation arose. He resigned in lieu of a court-martial.

After Emerson began private practice in Mississippi, a hospital terminated his privileges.

He then worked in the Mississippi prison system but was terminated in 1999 and was subject of a lawsuit that was settled.

He then moved to Michigan. The medical board in that state found that in 2000 and 2001 he had inappropriately touched four female patients. It put him on probation.

His license was suspended in 2005 after his felony conviction for carrying a concealed weapon. His 2009 plea agreement said he provided various controlled substance prescriptions in exchange for sexual favors.

Researching a doctor

  • Accurate records of sexual abuse accusations against doctors are not always easily accessible. The Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure does not post board orders, and requires a $25 fee for a “one-time verification request,” which it stipulates “is mainly for hospitals and other credentialing entities.”

Complaint process

Anonymous complaints are not accepted. The complaint form requires the complainant to attest that all the information is true.

Where to file a complaint


“Let me say that it takes a lot of money to educate a physician. If they can be safely monitored and rehabilitated, I don’t see why they can’t come back from drugs, alcohol or sexual misconduct.”

— Vann Craig, former executive director of the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure

Key fact

The only insights on doctors with sexual misconduct is a periodic report of statistics the medical board issues, with no details or breakdowns of the misconduct. Also, a doctor whose license is revoked can come back to the board in one year to request reinstatement, the board’s executive director said.

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