Objective: The current study presents an analysis of sexual misconduct allegations that were closed from 1998 through 2002 and is compared with allegations from 1991 through 1995 (study 1). One hundred complaints were closed in study 1, which involved 80 licensees; 23.8% of those complaints resulted in reportable board actions.
Study design: Retrospective analyses of 47 allegations that were closed and that involved 46 practitioners were evaluated statistically and compared with the previous study.
Results: Sexual misconduct was the allegation in 3.1% of all closed complaints, compared with 5.9% in study 1. Of the allegations, 36.2% of the sexual misconduct allegations were for sexual impropriety with no reportable disciplinary outcomes, and 63.8% of the complaints were for sexual violation that resulted in 25 reportable disciplinary actions. Family medicine, psychiatry, and obstetrics/gynecology again reported the highest proportion of total complaints, but psychiatry and obstetrics/gynecology improved both in total complaints and disciplinary actions. Multiple complaints improved significantly in study 2.
Conclusion: Physician and patient awareness and board actions reduced total complaints of sexual misconduct. Family medicine was an exception, with 12 reportable board actions compared with 4 in study 1. Reportable disciplinary actions involved revocations, suspensions, and surrender of license; the disciplinary actions most often involved probation, education, counseling and/or psychiatric therapy, and practice limitation. Education, the identification of high-risk practitioners, and the appropriate use of deterrence continue to be areas of recommended focus.