Arizona Behavioral Health Board Complaint Lawyer | Our Arizona Attorney Provides License Defense
Who can file a complaint against a behavioral health professional? Patients, health care facilities, and other professionals, among others. When the Arizona Behavioral Health 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 behavioral health professional receives notice and the board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having a lawyer during this step can be crucial for behavioral health professionals as they must submit a response, and interview with the Arizona investigator while also possibly appearing at an Arizona Behavioral Health Board to address the Board complaints.
Responding to Arizona Practice Complaints and Investigations
After receiving an Arizona Behavioral Health Board Complaint or self-report, a licensee receives a notice from the Board requesting additional information as well as a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the Arizona Board assigns an investigator to the complaint and they begin to collect evidence. The documents and evidence collected include:
- Patient medical records
- Employment files from the behavioral health professional’s employer and business
- Criminal records
- Interviews of people associated with the Board Complaint (These interviewees can include the patient, medical director, colleagues, etc.)
- Medical license information from other states
Appeals of Board Decisions after a Complaint
It’s always disappointing when a behavioral health professional receives an unfavorable decision from the Arizona Behavioral Health Board. However, behavioral health professionals in Arizona can benefit from understanding the process that goes along with Arizona Behavioral Health Board Appeals and hearings after behavioral health board complaints are heard. If you are facing an unfavorable ABHB outcome due to an Arizona regulatory board disciplinary action, you can always appeal the decision.
Filing an Appeal after a Board Meeting
The investigatory process and the appeal process work like this: The Arizona State Board receives a complaint or initiates an investigation into the conduct of the behavioral health professional. Once the board receives a complaint or self-report they will then initiate an investigation. The purpose of this investigation is to give the ABHB evidence to make a decision on whether or not a behavioral health professional should face disciplinary action. If the behavioral health professional 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 behavioral health professional may need to attend an Arizona Behavioral Health Board hearing. However, sometimes the investigation is automatically sent to a hearing or an informal settlement conference can be held.
Behavioral Health Professional Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any behavioral health professional licensee may request a legal appeal of 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. A behavioral health professional’s lawyer can cross-examine witnesses and testify on his or their behalf. After it is completed, the ALJ reviews the transcripts, and evidence and makes a recommendation. However, the Board makes the decision to either accept, reject or modify the ALJ’s decision. If an individual feels there has been a mistake they can request a rehearing.
ABHB Non-Disciplinary Actions
- CASE DISMISSAL: The Board may dismiss a complaint if they determine the information indicates there was not a violation of the rules of the Arizona behavioral health professional Practice Act. This outcome is not available to the public.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern that the behavioral health professional’s conduct was not ideal; however, the conduct does not necessarily violate the Medical Practice Act or Board policy and no further contact is needed. This will not affect future licensure or if the behavioral health professional wishes to further their education. This is not shown on license verification.
- NON-DISCIPLINARY ORDER FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION: An order that dictates the Arizona behavioral health professional must complete a number of hours of continuing education for specific topics.
Arizona Behavioral Health Board Unprofessional Conduct
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a behavioral health professional’s license the behavioral health professional will be unable to practice or get licensed again for a period of time. After the time period of license revocation, the behavioral health professional will need to reapply for their license. If the behavioral health professional reapplies for licensure they must demonstrate the grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions) has been rectified through an application program. This is a public document.
- VOLUNTARY SURRENDER: The behavioral health professional voluntarily gives up their license. The benefit of this voluntary consent is that the Board is usually willing to reduce the amount of time until a behavioral health professional can reapply. This is usually between two to three years.
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the behavioral health professional from practicing. It prohibits any patient contact or services for a period of time until the Board lifts the suspension.
- PROBATION: The Board offers probation through a consent agreement. The consent agreement requires the behavioral health professional do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Alternatively, they may need to refrain from doing things (unsupervised home health, using alcohol, etc.) A request for the removal of probation will be needed.
- DECREE OF CENSURE: A letter of reprimand is the lowest level of formal discipline against a license or certificate. There are no probationary requirements.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Behavioral Health Board Attorney services and how to protect your Arizona license, set up a consultation with Chelle Law today.