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Psychiatrists in Trouble: Licensure Actions Involving ABPN Diplomates and Candidates. Dorthea Juul, Ph.D. American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. April 21, 2010. Acknowledgements. Larry Faulkner, M.D., President and CEO Stephen Glick, Manager, Credentials. Overview.

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Psychiatrists in trouble licensure actions involving abpn diplomates and candidates

Psychiatrists in Trouble: Licensure Actions Involving ABPN Diplomates and Candidates

Dorthea Juul, Ph.D.

American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc.

April 21, 2010


Acknowledgements
Acknowledgements Diplomates and Candidates

  • Larry Faulkner, M.D., President and CEO

  • Stephen Glick, Manager, Credentials


Overview
Overview Diplomates and Candidates

  • Licensure and Certification

  • Literature Review

  • Disciplinary Action Notification System (DANS) and ABPN Procedures

  • ABPN Diplomates: State Medical Board Actions and Basis for Actions

  • Implications for Physician Education and Future Research


Licensure and certification

Licensure and Certification Diplomates and Candidates


Licensure
Licensure Diplomates and Candidates

  • Under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, states have the authority to regulate activities that affect health, safety and welfare of their citizens.

  • States provide laws and regulations that outline the practice of medicine and the responsibility of the medical board to regulate that practice in the state’s “Medical Practice Act.”


Licensure continued
Licensure, continued Diplomates and Candidates

  • Each state Act is unique; therefore, there are some significant variations among states in how they address the privilege of practicing medicine.

  • The licensure process is designed to ensure that practicing physicians have appropriate education and training and that they abide by recognized standards of professional conduct in treating patients.

  • Licensed physicians must periodically re-register with the board.


Licensure continued1
Licensure, continued Diplomates and Candidates

  • On its own initiative or upon receipt of information reported by others, the state medical board investigates any evidence that appears to indicate that a physician is or may be incompetent, guilty of unprofessional conduct, or mentally or physically unable to engage safely in the practice of medicine or that the Medical Practice Act or the rules and regulations of the board have been violated.


Licensure1
Licensure Diplomates and Candidates

FSMB = Federation of State Medical Boards

  • 70 member medical licensing and disciplinary boards

  • During 2009, state medical boards took 5,721 actions against physicians, an increase of 342 actions over 2008


Certification
Certification Diplomates and Candidates

Rosemary Stevens, American Medicine and the Public Interest: A History of Specialization

“Arguably, specialization is the fundamental theme for the organization of medicine in the 20th century.”


Certification continued
Certification, continued Diplomates and Candidates

Kenneth Ludmerer, Time to Heal

Identifies specialty and subspecialty certification as one of the positive actions taken over the last century “to assure that medical practice was conducted at the highest possible level.”


Certification continued1
Certification, continued Diplomates and Candidates

  • While a medical license is legally required in order to treat patients, board certification implies a higher level of clinical expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice.

  • Board certification is often needed for a physician to obtain hospital privileges and to contract with insurance companies.


Certification continued2
Certification, continued Diplomates and Candidates

ABMS = American Board of Medical Specialties

  • 24 member boards

  • Currently, certification is offered in 147 specialties and subspecialties

  • About 85% of U.S. physicians are (or have been) certified by an ABMS member board


Certification continued3
Certification, continued Diplomates and Candidates

Requirements

  • Successful completion of ACGME-accredited training

  • License to practice medicine in at least one state, territory or possession of the U.S.

  • Successful performance on certification examination(s)


Certification continued4
Certification, continued Diplomates and Candidates

  • Lifetime vs. time-limited certificates

  • Recertification (cyclical)  Maintenance of Certification (continuous)


Literature review

Literature Review Diplomates and Candidates


Disciplinary action by medical boards and prior behavior in medical school
Disciplinary Action by Medical Boards and Prior Behavior in Medical School

Papadakis et al. (NEJM, 2005)

  • Case control study of 235 graduates of three medical schools who were disciplined by one of 40 state medical boards between 1990-2003

  • 469 control physicians matched with the case physicians according to medical school and graduation year


Disciplinary action by medical boards and prior behavior in medical school1
Disciplinary Action by Medical Boards and Prior Behavior in Medical School

Medical school predictor variables

  • Presence/absence of narratives describing unprofessional behavior

  • Grades

  • Standardized test scores

  • Demographic characteristics


Disciplinary action by medical boards and prior behavior in medical school2
Disciplinary Action by Medical Boards and Prior Behavior in Medical School

Results

  • Disciplinary action by a medical board was strongly associated with prior unprofessional behavior in medical school

  • The types of unprofessional behavior most strongly linked with disciplinary action were severe irresponsibility and severely diminished capacity for self-improvement


Disciplinary action by medical boards and prior behavior in medical school3
Disciplinary Action by Medical Boards and Prior Behavior in Medical School

Results, continued

  • Disciplinary action also associated with low MCAT scores and poor grades in the first two years of medical school

  • The association with these variables was less strong than that with unprofessional behavior


Disciplinary action by medical boards and prior behavior in medical school4
Disciplinary Action by Medical Boards and Prior Behavior in Medical School

Conclusions

  • Professionalism should have a central role in medical academics and throughout one’s medical career

  • Our study supports the importance of identifying students who display unprofessional behavior


Performance During Internal Medicine Residency Training and Subsequent Disciplinary Action by State Licensing Boards

Papadakis et al. (Ann Intern Med, 2008)

  • Retrospective cohort study of 66,171 physicians who entered IM residency training in the U.S. from 1990-2000 and became ABIM diplomates

  • No. of physicians with disciplinary actions = 638 (1%)


Performance During Internal Medicine Residency Training and Subsequent Disciplinary Action by State Licensing Boards

Residency predictor variables

  • Components of Residents’ Annual Evaluation Summary ratings

  • ABIM certification examination scores


Performance During Internal Medicine Residency Training and Subsequent Disciplinary Action by State Licensing Boards

Results

  • A low professionalism rating on the Residents’ Annual Evaluation Summary predicted increased risk for disciplinary action

  • High performance on the ABIM certification examination predicted decreased risk for disciplinary action


Performance During Internal Medicine Residency Training and Subsequent Disciplinary Action by State Licensing Boards

Conclusion

  • These findings support the ACGME standards for professionalism and cognitive performance and the development of best practices to remediate these deficiencies


Physician Scores on a National Clinical Skills Examination as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Tamblyn et al. (JAMA, 2007)

  • Cohort study of 3,424 physicians (generalists and specialists) who took the Medical Council of Canada’s clinical skills licensure examination between 1993 and 1996 and entered practice in Ontario and/or Quebec

  • 17% subsequently had at least one retained patient complaint to provincial medical regulatory authorities


Physician Scores on a National Clinical Skills Examination as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Predictor variables

  • Scores on clinical skills licensure examination (20 cases based on standardized patients with physician raters)

  • Scores on written licensure examination


Physician Scores on a National Clinical Skills Examination as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Results

  • Scores achieved in patient-physician communication and clinical decision making on a national licensing examination predicted complaints to medical regulatory authorities


Physician Scores on a National Clinical Skills Examination as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Conclusion

  • Direct observation and assessment of patient communication skills may be useful in identifying trainees who are more likely to experience difficulties in practice


Physicians disciplined by a state medical board
Physicians Disciplined by a State Medical Board as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Morrison and Wickersham (JAMA, 1998)

  • Case-control study of 375 physicians disciplined by the Medical Board of California from October 1995-April 1997; two control groups: one matched by locale, and a second matched for sex, type of practice, and locale


Physicians disciplined by a state medical board1
Physicians Disciplined by a State Medical Board as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Results

Factors associated with increased risk of disciplinary action:

  • Male gender

  • Involvement in direct patient care

  • Being in practice more than 20 years


Physicians disciplined by a state medical board2
Physicians Disciplined by a State Medical Board as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Results, continued

Factor associated with decreased risk of disciplinary action:

  • Specialty board certification


Physicians disciplined by a state medical board3
Physicians Disciplined by a State Medical Board as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Conclusions

  • A small but substantial proportion of physicians is disciplined each year for a variety of offenses

  • Further study of disciplined physicians is necessary to identify physicians at high risk for offenses leading to disciplinary action and to develop effective interventions to prevent these offenses


Characteristics associated with physician discipline
Characteristics Associated with Physician Discipline as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Kohatsu et al. (Arch Intern Med, 2004)

  • Unmatched, case-control study of 890 physicians disciplined by the Medical Board of California between July 1, 1998, and June 30, 2001, compared with 2,981 randomly selected, nondisciplined controls


Characteristics associated with physician discipline1
Characteristics Associated with Physician Discipline as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Results

Factors associated with an elevated risk for disciplinary action:

  • Male gender

  • Lack of board certification

  • Increasing age

  • International medical school education


Characteristics associated with physician discipline2
Characteristics Associated with Physician Discipline as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Results, continued

Compared to internal medicine, these specialties had an increased risk of disciplinary action:

  • Family medicine

  • General practice

  • Obstetrics and gynecology

  • Psychiatry


Characteristics associated with physician discipline3
Characteristics Associated with Physician Discipline as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Results, continued

Compared to internal medicine, these specialties had an decreased risk of disciplinary action:

  • Pediatrics

  • Radiology


Characteristics associated with physician discipline4
Characteristics Associated with Physician Discipline as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Conclusion

  • Certain physician characteristics and medical specialties are associated with an increased likelihood of discipline


Physicians disciplined for sex related offenses
Physicians Disciplined for Sex-Related Offenses as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Dehlendorf and Wolfe (JAMA, 1998)

  • Subjects were 761 physicians disciplined for sex-related offense from 1981-1996

  • Predictor variables: specialty, age, and board certification status


Physicians disciplined for sex related offenses1
Physicians Disciplined for Sex-Related Offenses as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Results

  • Compared with all physicians, physicians disciplined for sex-related offenses were more likely to practice in the specialties of psychiatry, child psychiatry, obstetrics-gynecology, family practice, and general practice than in other specialties


Physicians disciplined for sex related offenses2
Physicians Disciplined for Sex-Related Offenses as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Results, continued

Physicians disciplined for sex-related offenses were also:

  • Older than the national physician population

  • No different in board certification status


Physicians disciplined for sex related offenses3
Physicians Disciplined for Sex-Related Offenses as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Conclusion

  • Discipline against physicians for sex-related offenses is increasing over time and is relatively severe, although few physicians are disciplined for sexual offenses each year


Psychiatrists disciplined by a state medical board
Psychiatrists Disciplined by a State Medical Board as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Morrison and Morrison (AJP, 2001)

  • Subjects were 584 physicians disciplined by the California Medical Board in a 30-month period compared with matched groups of nondisciplined physicians


Psychiatrists disciplined by a state medical board1
Psychiatrists Disciplined by a State Medical Board as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Results

Compared to nonpsychiatrists, psychiatrists were:

  • Significantly more likely to be disciplined for sexual relationships with patients

  • About as likely to be charged with negligence or incompetence


Psychiatrists disciplined by a state medical board2
Psychiatrists Disciplined by a State Medical Board as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Results, continued

Disciplined and nondisciplined psychiatrists did not differ on:

  • Number of years since medical school graduation

  • IMG status

  • Board certification


Psychiatrists disciplined by a state medical board3
Psychiatrists Disciplined by a State Medical Board as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

Conclusions

  • Organized psychiatry has an obligation to address sexual contact with patients and other causes for medical board discipline

  • This obligation may be addressable through enhanced residency training, recertification exams, and other means of education


Literature summary
Literature Summary as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

  • Performance in medical school and residency and on licensure and certification examinations has been predictive of subsequent behavior in practice

  • Risk factors for disciplinary action included psychiatry specialty, male gender, and increasing age

  • Board certification was associated with a decreased risk in some studies


Abpn licensure policy

ABPN Licensure Policy as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities


Abpn licensure policy1
ABPN Licensure Policy as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

ABPN candidates and diplomates must hold an active and unrestricted allopathic and/or osteopathic license to practice medicine in at least one state, commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States or province of Canada.


Abpn licensure policy2
ABPN Licensure Policy as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

If licenses are held in more than one jurisdiction, all licenses held by the physician must be full and unrestricted to meet this requirement.


Abpn licensure policy3
ABPN Licensure Policy as Predictors of Complaints to Medical Regulatory Authorities

A diplomate who no longer meets the Board’s licensure requirements shall, without any action necessary by the Board or any right to a hearing, automatically lose his or her diplomate status in all specialties and subspecialties for which the individual has received a certificate from the Board, and all such certificates shall be invalid.



DANS Procedures

DANS = Disciplinary Action Notification System

  • Beginning in 2004, the ABMS began receiving automated reports on licensure actions from the FSMB; these reports are forwarded to member boards

  • To date ABPN has received approximately 2600 reports about candidates (active and inactive) and diplomates


Abpn procedures
ABPN Procedures Procedures

  • DANS report received

  • Credentials staff review report and determine whether to obtain additional information from FSMB

  • Based on FSMB report, additional information ordered from state medical board(s)


Abpn procedures continued
ABPN Procedures, continued Procedures

  • Credentials staff review all information and determine if a candidate does not qualify for examination or if a diplomate’s certificate(s) is/are invalid

  • Courtesy notification* sent to physician with 30 days to respond

    * Candidate’s application is denied and/or certificate has been invalid since licensure action


Abpn procedures continued1
ABPN Procedures, continued Procedures

  • If no response in 30 days, physician is asked to return certificate(s)

  • ABMS is notified about change in diplomate status


Abpn procedures continued2
ABPN Procedures, continued Procedures

Reinstatement of Application

  • Physician notifies Board in writing that all licenses are now full and unrestricted

  • Credentials staff review documentation from applicable state licensing board(s)

  • If approved, candidate may apply for examination


Abpn procedures continued3
ABPN Procedures, continued Procedures

Reinstatement of ABPN Diplomate Status

  • Physician notifies Board in writing that all licenses are now full and unrestricted

  • Credentials staff review documentation from applicable state licensing board(s)

  • If approved, diplomate is assigned a new certificate number and sent a new certificate

  • All certificates will be 10-year, time-limited certificates, regardless of the certificate previously held



Results for three abpn cohorts
Results for Three ABPN Cohorts Procedures

This presentation will focus on three diplomate cohorts: those certified in 1990, 1995, and 2000


Results for three abpn cohorts1
Results for Three ABPN Cohorts Procedures

  • Across these three cohorts, DANS notifications were received for 115 psychiatrists, 38 neurologists, and 3 child neurologists

  • They represent about 4% of the psychiatrists, 3% of the neurologists, and 2% of the child neurologists



State medical board actions1
State Medical Board Actions Procedures

  • Loss of License or Licensed Privilege: Includes revocation, suspension, surrender or mandatory retirement of license, or loss of privileges afforded by that license

  • Restriction of License or Licensed Privilege: Includes probation, limitation, or restriction of license, or licensed privileges


State medical board actions continued
State Medical Board Actions, continued Procedures

  • Other Prejudicial Actions: Modification of a physician’s license, or the privileges granted by that license, that results in a penalty or reprimand, etc., to the physician

  • Non-Prejudicial Actions: An action that does not result in modification or termination of a license or licensing privileges and is frequently administrative in nature, such as a reinstatement following disciplinary action




Basis for disciplinary action1
Basis for Disciplinary Action Procedures

  • The basis for disciplinary action taken by the state medical board is detailed in the following slides

  • Many of the physicians had multiple bases/actions

  • Different states may “code” infractions differently








Examples

Examples cont.


Case 1
Case #1 cont.

A psychiatrist saw a patient for treatment of depression. In the course of treatment the psychiatrist and patient engaged in a romantic and sexual relationship. Over time they met at various places such as restaurants, parks, and outdoor recreation areas where they engaged in sex. They talked on the phone and sent text messages and cards to one another. The relationship ended when the doctor sent a text message of a personal nature that was apparently meant for another woman. The patient attempted suicide.


Case 1 continued
Case #1, continued cont.

State medical board action(s):

  • Indefinite suspension of medical license

    ABPN action:

  • ABPN certificate invalid


Case 2
Case #2 cont.

A psychiatrist was convicted of felony Medicaid fraud and larceny for overbilling Medicaid by about $250,000. He also had a history of chemical dependency. He attended a Physician Health Program for several years.


Case 2 continued
Case #2, continued cont.

State medical board action(s):

  • License revoked in State 1

  • License surrendered to avoid adverse action in State 2, based on State 1 action

  • License revoked in State 3 based on conviction for felony

  • State 4 granted licensure with restrictions and conditions, then removed conditions, and then reinstated conditions

  • Currently has a license with conditions in State 4; other licenses are revoked (State 3) or surrendered (State 2), and one expired on probation (State 1)


Case 2 continued1
Case #2, continued cont.

ABPN action:

  • ABPN certificate invalid


Case 3
Case #3 cont.

A psychiatrist was evaluated and diagnosed with substance use disorder and was required to complete treatment. She initially complied then left and returned to treatment several times and suffered relapses.


Case 3 continued
Case #3, continued cont.

State medical board action(s):

  • License indefinitely suspended

    ABPN action:

  • ABPN certificate invalid


Case 4
Case #4 cont.

A psychiatrist has bipolar disorder and admitted engaging in “bizarre behavior.” He is being monitored by a Physician Health Plan and must meet with a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist and abstain from alcohol and other mood-altering substances unless prescribed by his primary health care practitioner.


Case 4 continued
Case #4, continued cont.

State medical board action(s):

  • License suspended in three states

  • License reinstated with conditions in one state

    ABPN action:

  • ABPN certificate invalid


Case 5
Case #5 cont.

A psychiatrist failed to disclose on his license renewal form that he had been denied licensure in another state. The licensure denial was for unprofessional conduct, practicing without a license, and not being physically present during billed for time.


Case 5 continued
Case #5, continued cont.

State medical board action(s):

  • License restricted in state 1

  • License denied in state 2

  • Licenses expired in 18 other states

    ABPN action:

  • ABPN certificate invalid



Conclusions1
Conclusions cont.

  • Small, but consistent, numbers of psychiatry diplomates of the ABPN have action taken against them by state medical boards

  • Psychiatrists may be at somewhat greater risk for such action than neurologists/child neurologists


Conclusions continued
Conclusions, continued cont.

  • The most common bases for these actions are professional/ethical misconduct, substance use/abuse, and violation of boundaries, including sexual misconduct


Implications for physician education
Implications for Physician Education cont.

  • Research indicates that those who display problematic behavior during medical school and residency are at greater risk for licensure actions later in their careers

  • Hence, it is important to emphasize competence AND professionalism-related issues during training and to address deficiencies and problematic behaviors


Implications for physician education1
Implications for Physician Education cont.

Hauer et al. (Academic Medicine, 2009)

“There is surprisingly little evidence to guide ‘best practices’ of remediation in medical education at all levels.”


Implications for future research
Implications for Future Research cont.

  • Further explore the relationship between performance on certification examinations and licensure actions

  • Further explore the relationship between licensure actions and participation in MOC


Questions

Questions? cont.


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