Arizona Acupuncture Board Complaint Lawyer | Board Complaints Attorney
Who can file a complaint against an acupuncturist? Patients, health care facilities, other professionals, among others. When the Arizona Acupuncture Board receives a complaint, the Board initiates an investigation into the complaint (if the Board has jurisdiction and the Complaint isn’t dismissed). 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 for acupuncturists as they must submit a response, interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at an Arizona Acupuncture Board.
Responding to Practice Complaints and Investigations
After receiving an Arizona Acupuncture Board Complaint or self-report, an acupuncturist receives a notice from the Board requesting additional information as well as a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the Arizona Acupuncture Board assigns an investigator to the complaint and they begin to collect evidence. The documents and evidence collected includes:
- Patient medical records
- Employment files from the acupuncturist’s employer and business
- Criminal records
- Interviews of people associated with the Board Complaint (These interviewees can include the owner, medical director, colleagues, etc.)
Appeals of Arizona Acupuncture Board Decisions by Attorneys
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 an Arizona Acupuncture Board Complaint is heard. If you are facing an unfavorable AB outcome due to an Arizona Acupuncture Board Disciplinary Action, you can always appeal the decision.
Filing an Appeal after an Acupuncture Arizona Board Meeting
The investigatory process and the appeal process work like this: The Arizona Board receives a complaint or initiates an investigation into the conduct of the acupuncturist. Once the board receives a complaint or self-report they will then initiate an investigation. 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 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.
Arizona Acupuncture Board Administrative Appeal and Hearing Information
Any acupuncturist licensee may request a legal appeal of Arizona State Board 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 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.
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).
Protect Your License with Chelle Law
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 an Arizona attorney with Chelle Law today.