Currently 37 states conduct background checks on physicians, but Maryland is one of 13 that do not. However, other professionals such as nurses, therapists, social workers, etc are subject to a background check. For some reason, doctors are one of the few professions that are left out of this requirement. The state of Maryland is considering adopting a background check policy, requiring criminal background checks on physicians before obtaining their state license.
The Maryland Board of Physicians received a shock when practicing physician of nearly two decades, Dr. William Dando, was accused of sexually assaulting a patient at an urgent care center. During the investigation it was discovered that Dando had previously been convicted and served a sentence for raping a woman at gunpoint in Florida in 1987. Dando served four years of a ten-year sentence before being released for good behavior. He then started practicing medicine in Maryland in 1996.
This revelation served as a wakeup call and the medical board soon thereafter began considering a background check policy to ensure the safety of their citizens. The board is considering a system that would run electronic fingerprints through state and FBI databases to get results in as soon as 24 hours. The board is still weighing its options and hasn’t released details as of yet, but they are working towards a legislative proposal.
Examples like Dando are proof that we still have a long ways to go with background checks. Of course a background check doesn’t guarantee that criminals or potential criminals won’t hold medical positions, but a background check could have prevented the above crime from happening.
Does your state require criminal background checks of medical professionals?