Surrendered Medical License in One State Doesn’t Stop Physicians from Practicing in Other States
Surrendering a medical license is often done in the face of overwhelming evidence of unprofessional conduct. It can come after repeated surgical mishaps, churning out improper opioid prescriptions, or years of having sex with patients.
Typically surrendering a medical license comes with no restriction on practicing elsewhere. A license surrender can spare a doctor the time, expense and reputational harm that might come with formal charges and a hearing before a state medical board.
States can take action against doctors based on license surrenders in other places. But, as with other matters in the broken world of doctor discipline, such a step is spotty. Some states don’t even search a national database of troubled physicians.
Future patients are placed at risk because voluntary license surrenders can mean the public gets no access to information about what happened.
More than 250 doctors who surrendered a medical license were able to practice in another state, some by simply changing their addresses. Surrendering a license in one state should tip a second state to potential problems, but instead it’s a get-out-of-jail-free card.