A state panel has disciplined a Tuscaloosa-based physician for unprofessional conduct with a patient and then lying to investigators about the matter.

Dr. Ramesh Peramsetty, 58, admitted last month in a joint settlement agreement and consent order with the Medical Licensure Commission of Alabama that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a patient for almost a decade.

He also admitted making untrue statements about the relationship when questioned by a board investigator in March 2018.

Peramsetty was fined $10,000 and his license was indefinitely suspended, but the action against his medical license also was suspended by the commission and his license placed on probation for five years with a series of conditions.

The consent order allows Peramsetty to still practice at his Crimson Care clinics, but also requires that he complete a rehabilitative coaching process for professional sexual misconduct, develop a sexual harassment-free workplace policy and use a chaperone for all patient encounters, among other conditions, the joint settlement agreement said.

Peramsetty’s Montgomery-based attorney, T. Kent Garrett, said his client agreed to the joint settlement agreement and consent order as a way to end a dispute with an ex-patient now living in another state “that has nothing to do with his medical practice.”

“He is absolutely in active practice and will remain so,” Garrett said in a telephone interview with The Tuscaloosa News on Aug. 7.

Later that day, Garrett sent a letter to The News via email demanding that it not publish a story about the state Medical Licensure Commission’s agreement with Peramsetty.

“We do not believe that the proposed information to be included in the article should be published as it serves no public interest,” Garrett said in the letter. “Let me be clear in that we demand that (The) Tuscaloosa News refrain from publishing any article about Dr. Peramsetty’s agreement with the Alabama Medical Licensure Association.”

Ken Roberts, city editor of The Tuscaloosa News, said Peramsetty’s status as a physician and the nature of the allegations contributed to the decision to publish this story.

“Our role is to serve as a watchdog for the public and we believe the public has a right to know this information,” Roberts said.

According to the joint settlement agreement and July 23 consent order with the Medical Licensure Commission of Alabama, Peramsetty admitted to entering into a sexual relationship with a woman shortly after she became his patient in 2008. Both the romantic relationship and the doctor-patient relationship continued after she left the state the following year and did not end until 2017, according to the consent order.

Peramsetty denied the sexual nature of the relationship when questioned by an investigator with the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners in March 2018, the consent order said, but later admitted to it in testimony he gave to the Board of Medical Examiners’ Credentials Committee in February 2019.

Alabama law gives the Medical Licensure Commission the authority to sanction doctors by suspending or revoking medical licenses for a number of offenses, including unprofessional conduct and “making any fraudulent or untrue statement to the commission or to the State Board of Medical Examiners.”

The licensure commission lists sexual misconduct in the practice of medicine among its examples of unprofessional conduct, citing the Hippocratic Oath – the oath of ethics taken by all physicians – and the harmful effects that such relationships can have on patients.

“The prohibition against sexual contact between a physician and a patient is … clearly stated in the Code of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association. The reason for this proscription is the awareness of the adverse effects of such conduct on patients,” said the licensure commission’s administrative guide. “The report of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs of the American Medical Association indicates that most researchers now agree that the effects of physician-patient sexual contact are almost always negative or damaging to the patient.

“Patients are often left feeling humiliated, mistreated, or exploited.”

 

Reach Jason Morton at jason.morton@tuscaloosanews.com or 205-722-0200.