- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 18, 2003

RICHMOND (AP) — Physician profiles posted on the Internet under new state rules reveal that 48 Virginia-licensed doctors have felony convictions that include second-degree murder, income-tax evasion, mail fraud, drug distribution and attempted cocaine possession.

Forty-eight doctors licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine report having felony convictions. Four of those have suspended, expired or inactive licenses. Under new state rules, doctors licensed by the board are required to report those convictions for profiles posted at www.vahealthprovider.com.

Consumers can learn whether a doctor has a felony conviction by using the Web site’s search page.

Some of the doctors with felonies practice in other states but maintain Virginia licenses. The offenses may also have occurred in other states.

“Most of these would have been disclosed at the time of application” for a license, said Kathleen R. Nosbisch, a deputy executive director at the Virginia Department of Health Professions.

However, depending on how recent the conviction is, it might not have been reported. Miss Nosbisch said the medical board is looking at each case to make sure it was considered as part of a doctor’s application process.

“If we were not aware of the problem, a case has been opened and investigated,” she told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We are not just collecting the information, but are doing something about it.”

The Web site has been up for more than a year. The profiles include information on doctors’ educational background, office locations, malpractice history and disciplinary history.

“We are looking at this whole issue of doctors who commit crimes and whether they do or do not have to do with the practice of medicine,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, a consumer organization founded by Ralph Nader.

Public Citizen has given the Virginia Web site an “A” for its information and ease of use.

Among the felony convictions reported on the site is the widely reported second-degree murder conviction in 1978 of Julian Schorr, a former Norfolk doctor who, medical-board records show, practices in Scarsdale and Irvington, N.Y.

Dr. Schorr was convicted of killing his wife. News reports from the time show that he maintained that he was a battered husband and that the act was done in self-defense. Dr. Schorr was convicted and served a 20-month sentence, with eight years suspended.

Dr. Schorr’s Virginia medical license was revoked in 1979, reinstated with probation in 1987, then reinstated without restrictions in 1990.

Ninety-eight percent of doctors have completed the Board of Medicine profiles that require them to report felony information, Miss Nosbisch said. The medical board has disciplined 14 doctors for providing incomplete or false information and 23 for not filing any information at all, she said. The results have included cases being dismissed, as well as reprimands, monetary penalties and license revocations.

“Each one is looked at individually. It depends on what the allegation was and the situation surrounding it,” Miss Nosbisch said.

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