Arizona Acupuncture Board Appeals | Board License Defense
It’s always disappointing when an acupuncturist receives an unfavorable decision from the Arizona Acupuncture Board (“AB“). However, acupuncturists in Arizona can benefit from understanding the process that goes along with Arizona Acupuncture Board appeals and hearings after a case is heard by the Board. If you are facing an unfavorable outcome due to an offered disciplinary action, consent agreement or order, you can always appeal the decision and request an administrative hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Filing an Appeal after an Acupuncture Board Meeting
The investigatory process and the appeal process work like this: Once the Board receives a complaint or self-report they will then initiate an investigation into the Arizona acupuncturist license. The purpose of this investigation is to give the AB evidence to make a decision on whether or not an acupuncturist should face disciplinary action. If the acupuncturist receives an unfavorable formal disciplinary decision, it is at this point, they can then file an appeal and request a hearing with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearing. An Administrative Law Judge will then oversee the appeal and the acupuncturist may need to attend a hearing. However, sometimes the investigation is automatically sent to hearing or an informal settlement conference can be held (if requested).
Arizona Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any acupuncturist licensee may request a legal appeal of the Board’s Discipline to an administrative law judge with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) which is located in Phoenix. In some instances, a case is sent automatically to OAH. The Arizona’s OAH hearing is conducted before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The administrative process is not as formal as a trial, but is similar. Each party presents evidence using documents or sworn testimony. Each party also gives an opening and closing argument which should explain why the judge should rule one way or the other. An acupuncturist’s attorney can cross examine witnesses and testify on his or her behalf. After it is completed, the ALJ reviews the transcripts, evidence and makes a recommendation. However, the Board makes the decision to either accept, reject or modify the ALJ’s decision. If an individuals feels there has been a mistake they can request a rehearing by appealing the decision.
Criminal Reporting Requirements for an Acupuncturist
A.R.S. 32-3208 requires that acupuncturist licensees and applicants for an acupuncturist license must report misdemeanor criminal charges involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Acupuncture Board within 10 working days after the charge is filed. A working day would be considered Monday through Friday. Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within 10 business days is a violation of the Arizona statutes.
What Current and Past Crimes Must Be Reported?
Arizona Acupuncture Board Criminal Reporting rules hold that a felony must be reported within 10 days of being charged. The following types of misdemeanor or other criminal histories are crimes that have been determined by the Board to be reportable pursuant to the chapter in A.RS § 32-3208:
- Assault and Related Offenses
- Theft and Related Offenses
- Fraud, Deceit and Related Offenses
- Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation of a Child or Vulnerable Adult and Related Offenses
- Sexual and Related Offenses
- Drug and/or Alcohol Related Offenses
- Arson and Related Offenses
- Animal Abuse, Cruelty and Related Offenses
Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within 10 business days is a violation of the Arizona Practice Act and could result in disciplinary action which could result in Arizona Acupuncture Board’s Probation.
DUI Criminal History
Acupuncturists who contact our office frequently ask our attorney’s if state law allows an acupuncturist with a DUI crime or conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Acupuncture Board? The short answer is yes. An Arizona Acupuncturist DUI will not necessarily prevent an acupuncturist from obtaining a license or a career in the health field. However, the Board (which handles all complaints) has a public policy (updated as of September 2020) on their website which covers the details of what circumstances acupuncturists with a case that resulted in a felony DUI criminal conviction can get licensed.
Professional License Criminal Consequences
This specific policy does not apply to criminal conduct involving misdemeanor DUI charges or convictions. Once an acupuncturist professional applies for a license to practice to the Arizona Acupuncture Board, they need to disclose any felony DUI criminal court convictions (from previous years) on their application. An acupuncturist must report a felony DUI no matter how much time or how many years have passed since the time of the conviction or case. The AZ Board may also ask about past DUI misdemeanor criminal charges or cases that resulted in a conviction. This is done to ensure an acupuncturist can perform safe patient care and can have safe direct contact with patients or other providers.
Disclosing a Criminal Record for a Professional Applicant
If an acupuncturist license applicant is not required to disclose a legal misdemeanor DUI, the AZ Board can still initiate an investigation based upon the results of a health care fingerprint background check. The Board will then contact the professional and initiate an investigation in their practice utilizing the law of the AZ Practice Act. This license investigation determines whether the acupuncturist is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems and whether the acupuncturist has rehabilitated in the time since the criminal misdemeanor DUI or DUI charges occurred. Simply, the Board wants to know whether the applicant can provide safe care with a past criminal case involving alcohol or substance abuse.
The attorneys at Chelle Law assist acupuncturists with interpreting Board policy (which is generally on the Board website). Our attorneys help acupuncturists with their application to show the Board the professional isn’t a danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public and is able to provide safe patient care.
Arizona Acupuncture Board Attorney
The job of the Arizona Acupuncture Board of Examiners (located in Phoenix, AZ) is to protect and promote the medical welfare of the people of Arizona. They do this by ensuring each professional who holds a license as an acupuncturist in Arizona is able to practice safely and promote health. This means the Arizona Acupuncture Board has the authority to discipline the license and practice of any acupuncturist that comes in contact with Arizona. Chelle Law’s Arizona Acupuncture Board Attorney has represented over 1000 health care professionals before Arizona Boards and have the professional licensing defense experience needed to defend the rights of acupuncturists with Arizona Acupuncture Board matters. Our office and defense attorney assists:
- Licensed Acupuncturists
- Auricular Chemical Dependency Programs
Arizona Acupuncture Board License Complaint
Who can file a complaint against a acupuncturist? Patients, Health Care Facilities, acupuncturists, other health care professionals, among others can contact the Board and allege legal violations. When the Arizona Board of Acupuncture receives a complaint the Board initiates an investigation into the complaint (if the Board has jurisdiction and the Complaint isn’t dismissed) and a case is opened. After this happens, the acupuncturist receives notice and the Board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having an attorney during this step can be crucial and can protect your rights. This is because a acupuncturist must submit a response, interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at a AZ Board of Acupuncture Meeting. Our office can assist acupuncturists with interpreting Arizona law.
Board of Acupuncture Application Denial Assistance
Applicants to the Arizona Board of Acupuncture who have a criminal history from years ago (like a DUI) or previous case discipline by the Arizona Board of Acupuncture (or any other acupuncture Board) may be subject to denial of their application for licensure. Thus, those with a criminal or disciplinary history from other licensing boards will be investigated by the Arizona Board of Acupuncture after receiving contact of an investigation.
Reporting a Misdemeanor to the Arizona Board
Acupuncturists who currently hold a valid license with the Arizona Board of Acupuncture or pending applicants must notify the board of acupuncture of any criminal charge that may affect patient safety within ten (10) business days (like a DUI). acupuncturists should learn what crimes an individual must report and the potential discipline that can come with it.
Acupuncture License Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any professional acupuncturist licensee may request a legal appeal of an Arizona Acupuncture Board disciplinary action to an administrative law judge with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) which is located in Phoenix. In some instances, a case is sent automatically to OAH. The OAH hearing is conducted before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The administrative process is not as formal as a trial, but is similar. Each party presents evidence using documents or sworn testimony. Each party also gives an opening and closing argument which should explain why the judge should rule one way or the other. A acupuncturist’s attorney can cross examine witnesses and testify on his or her behalf. After it is completed, the ALJ reviews the transcripts, evidence and makes a recommendation. However, the Board makes the decision to either accept, reject or modify the ALJ’s decision. If an individuals feels there has been a mistake they can request a rehearing.
Acupuncturist Practice Disciplinary Actions
Acupuncturists who hold a license or certification in Arizona can face license actions by the AZ Board of Acupuncture for any investigatory matters. If the Board determines formal licensing action is necessary it will happen after the completion of an investigation. It’s the job of the Board to review any complaint alleging a violation of the Arizona law. Thus, at an Arizona Acupuncture Board Meeting the Board (see Meeting Agendas and Minutes) will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation, thus, a defense attorney may be needed. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the acupuncturist formal discipline.
Examples of Acupuncture Disciplinary Actions include:
- CASE DISMISSAL: The Board may dismiss a case if they determine there was not a violation of Arizona law.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern that the acupuncturist’s conduct was not ideal; however, the conduct does not necessarily violate Arizona law. (Not uncommon for a first time DUI)
- NON-DISCIPLINARY ORDER: The Board will require a prescribed number of hours of continuing education that provides the necessary understanding of current developments, skills, procedures or treatment.
- DECREE OF CENSURE: A decree of censure is the lowest level of formal discipline. There are no probationary requirements.
- PROBATION: Probation is offered through a Consent Agreement. The Consent Agreement requires the acupuncturist to do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Or alternatively, refrain from doing things (unsupervised care, using alcohol, etc.).
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the acupuncturist from practicing as a acupuncturist for a period of time until the Board lifts the suspension.
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a acupuncturist‘s license the acupuncturist will be unable to provide care for a minimum amount of time. After the period the acupuncturist will have to reapply for their license after the five year period has ended. If the acupuncturist reapplies for licensure the acupuncturist must must demonstrate that the grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions, medical issues) has been rectified.
- VOLUNTARY SURRENDER: The acupuncturist voluntarily gives up their license. The benefit of a voluntary surrender is that the Board is usually willing to reduce the amount of time until a acupuncturist can reapply (between 2 to 3 years).
Contact Our State Licensure Attorney
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Acupuncture Board Attorney services and how to protect your license, set up a consultation with Chelle Law today.