Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Disciplinary Actions | Massage Therapist
Disciplinary Action for a Massage Therapist
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. Chelle Law’s Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Attorneys have represented over 1,000 health care professionals before Arizona licensing boards. At Chelle Law, our attorney’s have the experience to help massage therapists with all Arizona Board of Massage Therapy matters.
Thus, at a Board 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
- Decree of Censure
- Letter of Reprimand
- Payment of Restitution
Arizona Board of Massage Therapy 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 Practice Act. This outcome is not available to the public.
- ADVISORY LETTER: A letter from the Board expressing concern that the massage therapist’s conduct was not ideal; however, the conduct does not necessarily violate the Practice Act or Board policy and no further contact is needed. This will not effect future licensure or if the massage therapist wishes to further their education. This is not shown on license verification.
- NON-DISCIPLINARY ORDER FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION: An order that dictates the massage therapist must complete a number of hours of continuing education for specific topics.
Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Unprofessional Conduct
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a massage therapist’s license the massage therapist will be unable to practice or get licensed again for a minimum of five years. After the five year period license revocation the massage therapist will need to reapply for their license. If the massage therapist reapplies for licensure they must demonstrate the grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions) has been rectified through an applicable program. This is a public document.
- VOLUNTARY SURRENDER: The massage therapist 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 massage therapist can reapply. This is usually between two to three years.
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the massage therapist 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 massage therapist do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Alternatively, they may need to refrain from doing things (unsupervised Medical like home health, working under the Medical licensure compact, using alcohol, etc.) A request for a removal of probation will be needed.
- LETTER OF REPRIMAND: A letter of reprimand is the lowest level of formal discipline against a license or certificate. There are no probationary requirements. However, the action is on the website for five years for the public to inspect. A document removal will occur five years after signed.
- STIPULATED REHABILITATION AGREEMENT: An Agreement that dictates the massage therapist must be monitored and complete rehabilitation. For instance, a massage therapist found to have a substance abuse problem would be subject to drug testing, group or individual therapy, practice restrictions and supervision.
Arizona Board of Massage Therapy Complaint
Who can file an Arizona Board of Massage Therapy 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 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.)
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.
Contact our Attorney at Chelle Law
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 Chelle Law today.