By JAMES MacPHERSON, Associated Press
BISMARCK, ND (AP) – The State Medical Council this year initiated 11 formal disciplinary actions against doctors in North Dakota, including three sanctions that resulted in the loss of their license to practice in the state, the surveillance committee reported on Wednesday.
Figures released by the Associated Press show the number of disciplinary actions in 2021 was two fewer than the previous year, but matched the annual tally for 2018 and 2019.
Sandra DePountis, executive director of the board, said the panel will not meet in December and no further sanctions are currently pending.
Alcohol-related incidents typically form the bulk of the council’s penalties, DePountis said. Doctors have the option of participating in a program that requires them to undergo random drug and alcohol testing before more severe penalties are called for, she said.
State doctors have also been sanctioned for reasons such as incompetence, unethical behavior, substandard care and criminal offenses, DePountis said.
Two doctors – Daniel Canchola and Padmini Nagaraj – lost their licenses this year over federal healthcare fraud, records show.
Craig Grorud, the owner of a Bismarck spa where authorities allege prostitution and human trafficking took place, has lost his license indefinitely, records show. He was charged with the offense of facilitating prostitution after a raid, but pleaded guilty in March to a reduced charge of the offense of promoting prostitution. He was sentenced to two years of probation.
The North Dakota Board of Medicine was established in 1890 to authorize and discipline physicians if they violate the rules or the law. The 13-member panel is made up of 10 doctors, a medical assistant and two lay members, all appointed by the governor.
The group examines up to 120 cases against doctors each year, DePountis said.
North Dakota has 2,031 licensed physicians who live in the state and 3,167 who are licensed but live out of state.
The panel has been ranked among the top performing state medical boards in the United States by a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. The Public Citizen Health Research Group, founded by Ralph Nader, calculates the rate of serious disciplinary actions taken by medical boards per 1,000 physicians in each state.
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