Protecting Patients from Egregious Wrongdoing by Physicians: Consensus Recommendations from State Medical Board Members and Staff

Document Type



Purpose There is wide variability in the frequency and severity of disciplinary actions imposed by state medical boards (SMBs) against physicians who engage in egregious wrongdoing. We sought to identify cutting-edge and particularly effective practices, resources, and statutory provisions that SMBs can adopt to better protect patients from harmful physicians.

Main findings Using a modified Delphi panel, expert consensus was reached for 51 recommendations that were rated as highly important for SMBs. Panelists included physicians, executive members, legal counsel, and public members from approximately 50% of the 71 SMBs that serve the United States and its territories.

Conclusion The expert-informed list of recommendations can help support more effective and transparent actions and processes by SMBs when addressing suspected egregious wrongdoing. While some SMBs may be limited in what policies and provisions they can adopt without approval or assistance from state government, many of these recommendations can be autonomously adopted by SMBs without external support.