New York

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


State rating (out of 100)

  • Board composition: 50
    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: 52
    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?: 32 of 40
      In New York, a client or patient of a health care provider or mental health care provider is incapable of consent to sexual acts that occur during a treatment session, unless the doctor makes clear that the sex act is not part of the treatment. In those cases, the doctor can be charged with various crimes. But health care providers may be able to have sexual relationships with their patients outside of clinical settings and not be charged with crimes. Note that the state enacted a law in 2012 that requires investigators for health care licensing boards to report to law enforcement if while investigating a doctor's misconduct, there is a reasonable belief that a sexual offense had been committed against a client or patient during a treatment session, consultation, interview or exam.
  • Discipline laws: 50
    Do state laws strengthen oversight and discipline of problem physicians? More...
    Abusive physicians can be protected by laws that limit regulators’ ability to investigate cases and don’t require permanent revocation of doctor licenses for egregious offenses. To assess the legal environment for doctor discipline, the AJC examined four key laws. Top grades went to states that require permanent revocation of doctor licenses for some violations; where physicians who have been convicted of felonies or who have lost their licenses in other states cannot be licensed; where medical regulators are entitled to records and other proceedings of hospital peer review committees that examine doctor misconduct; and where there is a reasonable standard of proof required for disciplinary action against physicians, especially in sexual misconduct cases where there may be no independent witnesses.
    • Does state law require revocation for some violations? Can revocation be permanent?: 15 of 25
      The Office of Professional Medical Conduct can permanently revoke. But with some revocations, after three years, doctors can reapply. Reinstatement is handled by the Department of Education, which can restore over objections of OPMC. That occurred in the case of a doctor subsequently charged with rape and convicted this past spring. State law doesn't require revocation for any type of sexual misconduct or convictions.

More from New York

Highlighted case

Dr. Rakesh Punn

Punn, a pediatrician, pleaded guilty in April 2014 to drugging and sexually assaulting one of his young female patients, an attack he recorded on video.

He was sentenced initially to 30 years in federal prison, then to 15 years on state charges.

As part of a plea deal, he also agreed to reimburse that victim and five other young female patients who also were sexually abused.

Federal prosecutors said he sexually abused his young patients by photographing and filming them naked. Victims were as young as 11, in cases that go back to at least 2007.

A prosecutor said he intentionally targeted children of Indian immigrants. He lured the children to his home office with false diagnoses so their parents weren’t present, used drugs to incapacitate them, then sexually assaulted and photographed them.

Evidence in the case included a "how to" guide he wrote on molesting children, prosecutors said.

He surrendered his license in 2014.

Researching a doctor

  • Accurate records of sexual abuse accusations against doctors are not always easily accessible. In New York, the best chance of finding problems is to search the disciplinary records offered by the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct. 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

Complaints may be filed anonymously. However, the Office of Professional Medical Conduct advises on its website that it finds it hard to investigate anonymous complaints. Of note, the complaint form says that anyone who reports or provides information to the board in good faith, and without malice, is not subject to an action for civil damages for making the report.

Where to file a complaint


“A patient cannot give meaningful consent to sexual contact due to the position of trust and disparity of power in the physician-patient relationship.”

— Department of Health policy statement on physician sexual misconduct.

Key fact

The Office of Professional Medical Conduct is required to investigate all complaints. It takes an average of 268 days to complete a full field investigation, according to the most recent annual report by the Office of Professional Medical Conduct.

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