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


State rating (out of 100)

  • Board composition: 80
    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 Oregon

Highlighted case

Dr. David Oliver Burleson

The Oregon Medical Board accused Burleson of inappropriately touching two patients in 2003 and 2004 while they were under anesthesia and being moved from a surgical chair to a recovery bed.

Burleson acknowledged to the board that he had on occasions phoned female patients after their surgeries for his personal gratification.

During an evaluation, he acknowledged that two to four times a year since about 2000, he had looked under the gowns of female patients without a medical purpose; inappropriately touched female patients while providing medical service, inappropriately placed EKG leads on female patients for his sexual gratification, and fondled the breasts of sedated patients. The board reported him to law enforcement.

Burleson was convicted of sex crimes under a plea agreement and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. (The Associated Press reported that a grand jury had indicted Burleson on charges that would have carried mandatory minimum sentences of as much as 12 years. The charges in the plea agreement did not carry mandatory minimum sentences, then-prosecutor Christine Mascal confirmed).

Burleson permanently surrendered his license in 2008.

In his response to the Journal-Constitution, Burleson directly addressed only the nature of the plea agreement and no other details of the case.

Researching a doctor

  • Accurate records of sexual abuse accusations against doctors are not always easily accessible. In Oregon, the best chance of finding problems is to search the records offered by the Oregon Medical Board. 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 will investigate anonymous complaints in cases of serious allegations with potential risk to the public, when specific, detailing information is provided about the allegations or where there have been similar or related allegations in a doctor's history. In cases with signed complaints, the board notifies whoever filed the complaint when the complaint is resolved. But state law requires that the specifics of the investigation cannot be shared with anyone, including the complainant. Those who file a complaint or provide information during an investigation in good faith are protected and not subject to an action for civil damages for filing a report, state law says.

Where to file a complaint


“I decided that the risk/benefit ratio was such that this is something I would do.”

—A psychiatrist, explaining his decision to have a sexual relationship with a patient. The board also cited him for other violations, and it revoked his license.

Key fact

Disciplinary orders are available on the Oregon Medical Board's website by searching for the individual doctor. Some orders also are available on the Board Actions section of the board's website, dating back to 2011. To obtain a Complaint and Notice of Disciplinary Action or a non-disciplinary agreement that has been completed, the public must file written requests.

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