Sexual Misconduct in the Professions: How Health Care Professionals Get in Trouble – or Don’t

Webinar Details


Mark R Brengelman




HIPAA and Compliance


Oct 12, 2022 , 01 : 00 PM EST |  9 Days Left


60 Minutes


This advanced webinar is an informative and detailed trip into the world of sexual misconduct in the professions, which are uniquely at risk for sexual misconduct to occur. This continuing education provides an overview of sexual misconduct in the professions that apply to a wide range of health care professionals. 

The sanctity of the “doctor-patient relationship” thus entails an inherent imbalance of power that exists between the health care professional and their client.

Starting with the difference between law and ethics or morals, matters of the heart will be examined in the light of the law.  Being a professional means having the patient’s best interests in mind. Is falling in love ever a defense to an ethical violation?

Examples of state law governing the professional relationship between the doctor and patient will be provided along with state law examples of sexual harassment that apply to a vast category of persons, not just clients, and patients.

In the health care world of professional practice, the licensed professional must adhere to the rules to avoid liability and must be able to defend himself or herself from false claims of sexual advances.

This advanced webinar summarizes a recent court case and another licensure board revocation of disciplinary action. How did the practitioners get in so much trouble from a consensual relationship?

Next, we ask whether criminal penalties for such illicit doctor-patient relationships are the answer (they aren’t–find out why).  Finally, you will learn basic tips and techniques to avoid liability and maintain defensible best practices as a licensed professional and health care practitioner.

Areas Covered

  • Identify the difference between law, ethics, and morals, and the defense of true love
  • Examine the basics of the professional power dynamic between the health care professional and the patient
  • Provide examples of state laws governing the current doctor-patient relationship
  • Review examples of state laws governing applicable employer-employee, and supervisor-supervisee relationships
  • Analyze a recent court case distinguishing how the laws apply to a current client vs. a former client's consensual relationship
  • Discuss whether criminal penalties are the answer
  • Detail a state licensure board case revoking the license of a health care professional for a consensual relationship with a current patient of record, and
  • Go over basic tips and techniques to defend yourself from liability


Health care professionals have a unique imbalance of power over their patients, who are generally vulnerable to influence and persuasion. Because of this, the vast majority of ethics guidelines and state licensure laws prohibit romantic relationships between doctors and patients. But do these prohibitions extend to former patients? And if so, for how long?

Find out the many rules that govern even consensual relationships between health care professionals and their clients and discover how long these prohibitions can last–sometimes even forever

Why Should You Attend

Erase the fear, uncertainty, and doubt about how and why romantic and sexual relationships are prohibited by state laws and codes of ethics between a health care professional and his or her patient. Find out whether and how those same prohibitions continue to former clients – and for how long.

And what about employees, supervisees, and other office staff? Sexual misconduct and harassment laws extend to these other classes of persons who are “off limits” under the law.

Who Should Attend

  • Health care attorneys
  • Corporate compliance officers in health care
  • Medical records staff of medical offices and health care entities
  • Hospital attorneys
  • Health care practitioners who are covered entities
  • Law enforcement officers in health care compliance
  • State boards and agencies with jurisdiction over state licenses to practice a health care profession

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Mark R Brengelman
Mark R Brengelman

(Attorney at Law, PLLC)

Mark R. Brengelman became interested in law when he graduated with both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Philosophy from Emory University in Atlanta.  He earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law.  Mark became an Assistant Attorney General in Kentucky in the area of administrative and professional law as the assigned counsel and prosecuting attorney to numerous health professions licensure boards. 

He retired from the state government, became certified as a hearing officer, and opened his own law practice, including work as a legislative agent (lobbyist).

As a frequent participant in continuing education, Mark has been a presenter for over fifty national and state organizations and private companies as the:

  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Kentucky Office of the Attorney General
  • National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute, and
  • Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards (FARB).

This also includes FARB’s member clients as the:

  • Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards
  • Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
  • National Council of State Boards of Nursing
  • National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials
  • National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies, and;
  • American Association of Veterinary State Boards.

Mark was the founding presenter for “Navigating Ethics and Law for Mental Health Professionals,” approved by five Kentucky licensure boards.  He also founded “The Kentucky Code of Ethical Conduct:  Ethical Practice; Risk Management, and; the Code of Ethical Conduct” as an approved, state-mandated continuing education for social workers offered as a video-on-demand.

Mark has now worked for all three branches of state government has worked since June 2018 as the Enforcement Counsel for the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, an independent regulatory body that oversees 138 elected state legislators and nearly 800 registered lobbyists.  Continuing as an ethics attorney, Mark is also the contract counsel for the Ethics Commission of the Louisville Metro Government, a city and county merged government, the largest city in Kentucky, and the 45th largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.

Mark focuses on representing health care practitioners before licensure boards and in other professional regulatory matters and representing children as Guardian ad Litem and parents as Court Appointed Counsel in confidential child dependency, neglect, and abuse proceedings and termination of parental rights and adoption proceedings in family court.