Are medical boards paying attention to physician sexual misconduct? 6 things to know

The Public Citizen published an article in PLOS ONE on physicians engaging in sexual misconduct, noting many state medical boards failed to discipline the physicians even after hospitals or other organizations brought penalties.

The researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis of physician reports to the National Practitioner Data Bank from 2003 to 2013. There were 1,039 physicians with one or more sexual-misconduct-related report. Here are six key notes from the report:

1. Three-quarters of the physicians with sexual misconduct reports had only licensure reports.

2. Almost all—90 percent—were 40 years old or older.

3. Around 87 percent of the victims in malpractice-payment reports were female. Emotional injury was the predominant injury type.

4. There was a higher percentage of serious licensure actions — 89 percent — in sexual misconduct-related reports than other offenses.

5. There was a higher clinical privileges revocation — 68 percent — in sexual misconduct reports than in other offenses.

6. Medical boards didn't discipline 70 percent of the physicians with a clinical-privileges or malpractice-payment report due to sexual misconduct.

"It is concerning that a majority of the physician with clinical-privileges action or malpractice-payment report due to sexual misconduct were not disciplined by medical boards for this unethical behavior," concluded the study authors.

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