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BME Adopts Updated Sexual Misconduct Policy

February 25, 2022

Effective January 25, 2022, the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners (BME) has adopted an updated sexual misconduct policy which gives licensees guidance as to what behaviors constitute grounds for disciplinary action for unprofessional, dishonorable or unethical conduct based on sexual misconduct. Click here to access the full policy.

The new policy adds more guidance to licensees as to what constitutes sexual misconduct. Some of the updates include:

  • Sexual misconduct can occur virtually as well as in person
  • Sexual misconduct can be based on conduct not just to a patient but toward a surrogate, defined as individuals closely involved in a patient’s care
  • Sexual contact or a romantic relationship between a physician and surrogate should not occur
  • Contextual sexual discussions held for an appropriate diagnostic or therapeutic purpose may be appropriate
  • Sexual contact even after the termination of a physician-patient relationship may be inappropriate due to several factors listed in the policy and in some cases such as psychiatry, such physician-patient relationship may never terminate
  • The policy lists considerations in determining appropriate discipline in sexual misconduct cases
  • The policy delineates a practice monitor from a chaperone

All licensees should carefully review the policy in order to avoid conduct that could result in disciplinary action.