North Dakota

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


State rating (out of 100)

  • Board composition: 65
    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: 44
    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.
  • Discipline laws: 63
    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.

More from North Dakota

Highlighted case

Dr. Marc Eichler

In what was termed a nondisciplinary stipulation, the neurosurgeon agreed to cease the practice of medicine while a criminal case against him proceeds.

A separate board order states that in October 2015, he was charged with one count of gross sexual imposition and two counts of luring minors by computer or other electronic means.

According to news reports, Eichler is accused of using Snapchat to communicate with two 13-year-olds. He has pleaded not guilty, and a trial is set for August. The board indefinitely suspended his license in March 2016. Eichler told the AJC that the allegations do not involve patient care.

Researching a doctor

  • Accurate records of sexual abuse accusations against doctors are not always easily accessible. In North Dakota, the best chance of finding problems is to search the disciplinary records offered by the North Dakota 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

While the board strongly discourages anonymous complaints, it says it has prosecuted some anonymous ones. For complaints that are signed, state law requires the investigative panel of the North Dakota Board of Medical Examiners to notify the person filing the complaint of the outcome of the case. State law provides that any person filing a complaint in good faith isn't subject to any legal liability for making the report, even if it is later dismissed.

Where to file a complaint


“[H]e also threatened this patient with harm should she disclose this relationship, and pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge for doing so.”

— Findings of the medical board in the 2013 case of a doctor found to have had a sexual relationship with a patient and a past history of being released from employment at two institutions for sexual relationships with staff.

Key fact

The board requires that complaints about physicians be signed. “It makes it just about impossible to investigate and prove a case without the most important witness to what happened,” the board says on its website.

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