Tracking ‘Bad’ Doctors Is Tricky But Experts Say System Is Working

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- In the wake of a Huntsville doctor turning over both his medical licenses last month while under investigation by the state medical board, WHNT News 19 is Taking Action to find out what is being done to keep tabs on doctors once they are suspended.

The State Board of Medical Examiners says Dr. Shelinder ‘Shaun’ Aggarwal surrendered both documents on July 17, 2013. He did so voluntarily and did not admit any guilt,

Dr. Aggarwal was scheduled to go before the board on Wednesday, August 21. In March, the board suspended Dr. Aggarwal’s Alabama Controlled Substance Certificate, meaning he could not prescribe medicine. The hearing was set to review the status of his suspended certificate to prescribe medicine in Alabama.

Dr. Melissa Behringer is a past president of the Madison County Medical Society.  She is confident mechanisms in place are working to keep doctors who lose their licenses in one state from getting another elsewhere.

"Those people get flagged by the medical boards, they are investigated and it just does not happen," Behringer said.

In Alabama, the State Board of Medical Examiners and the Medical Licensure Commission of Alabama have the exclusive power and authority to issue, revoke and reinstate all licenses to practice medicine or osteopathy in the State of Alabama. Officials within that office say the state board alerts all other states via the Federation of State Medical Boards when they take action against a doctor here.

Duties of the Board

  • Certify that initial applicants meet the statutory requirements for a license to practice medicine or osteopathy or as assistants to physicians in Alabama.
  • Issue Alabama Controlled Substances Certificates and annually renew.
  • With the Alabama Board of Nursing, approve applications for collaborative practice in Alabama.
  • Investigate and review complaints against practitioners and pursue disciplinary action when appropriate.
  • Establish and review compliance with continuing medical education requirements for physicians and assistants to physicians.

The opposite is also true; Alabama is alerted by other states about doctors coming here to try to practice medicine.

To find out whether your doctor has been disciplined by a state medical board, here's a state-by-state directory of medical boards. Some states will explain why a doctor has been disciplined while others will not.

Click "Look up a licensee" the "Search licensee database enter" to find out information on your doctor.

A search in your state might not reveal a doctor's problems in another state. To get a national profile on your doctor, you will have to pay $9.95 to do a search on the Web site of the Federation of State Medical Boards.

(CNN contributed background information for this report