Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Complaint Lawyer | Our attorney can assist a Massage Therapist with Board Complaints
Who can file a complaint against a massage therapist? Patients, health care facilities, other professionals, among others. When the Arizona Board of Massage Therapy 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 massage therapist receives notice and the board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having an attorney during this step can be crucial for massage therapists as they must submit a response, interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at an Arizona Board of Massage Therapy.
Responding to Practice Complaints and Investigations
After receiving an Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Complaint or self-report, a massage therapist 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 of Massage Therapy 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 massage therapist’s employer and business
- Criminal records
- Interviews of people associated with the Board Complaint (These interviewees can include the patient, medical director, colleagues, etc.)
Appeals of a Board Decision after a Complaint
It’s always disappointing when a massage therapist receives an unfavorable decision from the Arizona Board of Massage Therapy (“ABMT“). However, massage therapists in Arizona can benefit from understanding the process that goes along with Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Appeals and hearings after an Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Complaint is heard. If you are facing an unfavorable ABMT outcome due to an Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Disciplinary Action, you can always appeal the decision.
Filing an Appeal after a Board of Massage Therapy 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 massage therapist. Once the board receives a complaint or self-report they will then initiate an investigation. The purpose of this investigation is to give the ABMT evidence to make a decision on whether or not a massage therapist should face disciplinary action. If the massage therapist 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 massage therapist may need to attend a hearing. However, sometimes the investigation is automatically sent to hearing or an informal settlement conference can be held.
Massage Therapist Administrative Appeal and Hearing Information
Any massage therapist 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. A massage therapist’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.
Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Application Assistance
Applicants to the Arizona Board of Massage Therapy with a criminal history or previous discipline by the Arizona Board of Massage Therapy (or any other Board) may be subject to denial of their application for licensure. Thus, those with a criminal or disciplinary history from other licensing boards will face an investigation by the Board.
Reporting a Criminal Charge to the Arizona Board of Massage Therapy
Massage therapists who hold a valid license with the Arizona Board of Massage Therapy or pending applicants must notify the Board of any criminal charge that may affect patient safety within ten business days. Learn what crimes an individual must report and the potential discipline that can come with it.
Disclosing a Criminal Record for a Professional Applicant
If a massage therapist 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 Arizona Practice Act (current as of October 2020). This license investigation determines whether the massage therapist is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems and whether the massage therapist 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 nursing care with a past criminal case involving alcohol or substance abuse.
What Current and Past Crimes Must Be Reported?
- 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
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 A.RS § 32-3208:
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 Board of Massage Therapy Probation.
Criminal Charges for Massage Therapists with the Arizona Board
When a professional applies to the Board, they must disclose a felony criminal court sentence (and other similar offenses) on their application. A massage therapist must self report a felony no matter how much time or how many years have passed since the conviction. After self-reporting occurs, the Board contacts the massage therapist and initiates an investigation utilizing the law of the AZ Practice Act. The investigation helps to determine whether the massage therapist professional is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems and whether the massage therapist has rehabilitated in the time since the criminal incident occurred. Simply put, the Board wants to know whether the massage therapist applicant can provide safe nursing care.
DUI Criminal History
Massage therapists who contact our office frequently ask our attorney’s if state law allows a massage therapist professional with a DUI crime or conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Massage Therapy Board? The short answer is yes. An Arizona Massage Therapist DUI will not necessarily prevent a massage therapist 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 massage therapist professionals with a case that resulted in a felony DUI criminal conviction can get a license.
Arizona Massage Therapist Disciplinary Actions
Arizona Board of Massage Therapy disciplinary actions are given to massage therapists with a license or certification in Arizona. If the Board determines formal disciplinary 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 laws and regulations. Thus, at an Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Meeting the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the massage therapist formal discipline. Disciplinary actions can include:
- Advisory Letter
- Non-Disciplinary Order for Continuing Education
- Letter of Reprimand
- Decree of Censure
- Payment of Restitution
The attorney’s at Chelle Law assist massage therapists with interpreting Board policy (which is generally on the Board website). Our attorney’s help the healthcare workers and massage therapists 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.
Professional License Defense State Attorney
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Attorney services and how to protect your license, set up a consultation with an Arizona attorney with Chelle Law today.