Arizona Board of Pharmacy Criminal Reporting | Arizona Pharmacy Board Defense for Criminal Issues
Arizona Revised Statutes 32-3208 requires that pharmacist licensees and applicants for a pharmacist license must provide misdemeanor criminal charges involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Board of Pharmacy within 10 working days after the charge is filed. A working day would be considered Monday through Friday.
Failure to provide a reportable criminal charge within 10 business days is a violation of the law and could result in Arizona Board of Pharmacy Probation and possible termination from pharmacies.
Can you be a Pharmacy Technician with a Felony?
Obtaining a pharmacy technician license with a felony is not impossible, but the process can be more challenging due to the scrutiny of applicants’ criminal history. While there is no specific law mandating the denial of a license based on a felony conviction, pharmacy boards review each case individually, considering the nature of the offense, time elapsed, and any evidence of rehabilitation. Aspiring pharmacy technicians with a felony on their record should be prepared to provide documentation that demonstrates their suitability for the profession, such as character references, proof of rehabilitation, or evidence of work experience. By proactively addressing their criminal history and showing a commitment to the profession, applicants can increase their chances of obtaining a pharmacy technician license despite their past convictions.
What Current and Past Crimes Must Be Reported?
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 Arizona Revised Statutes § 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 law and could result in disciplinary action which could result in probation and permanent disciplinary records and information available to the puiblic.
DUI History for Professionals
Pharmacists who contact our office frequently ask our attorney’s if state law allows a pharmacist professional with a DUI crime or conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Pharmacy Board? The short answer is yes. An Arizona Pharmacist DUI will not necessarily prevent a pharmacist 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 pharmacist professionals with a case that resulted in a felony DUI criminal conviction can get a license. They are concerned about public health safety if professionals working at pharmacies has a substance abuse related criminal penalty.
Disclosing a Record for an Applicant
If a medical 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 medical professional and initiate an investigation in their practice utilizing the law of the law (current as of October 2020). This license investigation determines whether the pharmacist is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems and whether the pharmacist 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 medical care with a past criminal case involving alcohol or substance abuse.
One question our attorneys are frequently asked is whether state law allows a medical professional with a felony criminal background to get a license with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy? The short answer is, yes. An Arizona Felony for pharmacists will not necessarily prevent a pharmacist from obtaining a license or a career in the medical field. However, the Board has a public policy on their website which covers the details of under what circumstances a pharmacist with a case that resulted in a criminal sentence can get a license.
Criminal Charges for a Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician Trainee with the Arizona Board
When a professional applies to the Arizona Board of Pharmacy, they must disclose a felony criminal court sentence (and other similar offenses) on their application including criminal records. A pharmacist 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 pharmacist and initiates an investigation utilizing the law of the law. The investigation helps to determine whether the medical professional is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems and whether the pharmacist has rehabilitated in the time since the criminal incident occurred. Simply put, the Medical Board wants to know whether the pharmacist applicant can provide safe medical care.
Pharmacy Board Probation Information
When a pharmacist faces Arizona Board of Pharmacy Probation the probation is offered through a Consent Agreement. The Consent Agreement requires the pharmacist to do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Or alternatively, refrain from doing things (using alcohol, prescribing schedule drugs, seeing certain patients, etc.). The Arizona Board of Pharmacy can place pharmacists on probation through:
- Stipulated Rehabilitation Agreement
- Interim Practice Restriction
- Decree of Censure with Probation
- Letter of Reprimand with Probation
- Practice Limitation
Pharmacists who hold a license in Arizona can face disciplinary actions by the Arizona State Board for many different reasons. If the Pharmacy 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 Arizona law. Thus, at an Arizona Board of Pharmacy Meeting the Board 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 pharmacist formal discipline.
Arizona Board of Pharmacy Disciplinary Actions | Defense for Pharmacists with Arizona Pharmacy Board Disciplinary Actions
Arizona Board of Pharmacy disciplinary actions are given to pharmacists 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 Pharmacy Attorneys have represented over 1,000 health care professionals before Arizona licensing boards. At Chelle Law, our attorney’s have the experience to help pharmacists with all Arizona Board of Pharmacy matters.
Thus, at a Board Meeting, the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation and whether to issue disciplinary measures. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the pharmacist formal discipline. Disciplinary actions can include:
- Letter of concern
- Decree of censure
- Non-disciplinary order for continuing education
State Board of Pharmacy 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 Revised Statutes. This outcome is not available to the public.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern that the pharmacist’s conduct was not ideal; however, the conduct does not necessarily violate the law or Arizona State Board policy and no further contact is needed. This will not effect future licensure or if the licensee wishes to further their education. This is not shown on license verification.
- NON-DISCIPLINARY ORDER FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION: An order that dictates the pharmacist must complete a number of hours of continuing education for specific topics.
Arizona Board of Pharmacy Unprofessional Conduct
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a pharmacist’s license the pharmacist will be unable to practice or get licensed again for a minimum of five years. After the five year period license revocation the pharmacist will need to reapply for their license. If the pharmacist 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 pharmacist 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 pharmacist can reapply. This is usually between two to three years.
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the pharmacist 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 pharmacist 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.
- DECREE OF CENSURE: 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 the public to inspect. this is considered a penalty.
Arizona Revised Statutes and Complaint Information
Who can file an Arizona Board of Pharmacy Complaint against a pharmacist? Patients, health care facilities, other professionals, among others. When the AZ 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 pharmacist receives notice and the board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having an attorney during this step can be crucial for pharmacists as they must submit a response, interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at an Arizona Board of Pharmacy.
Responding to Practice Complaints and Investigations
After receiving an AZ Board Complaint or self-report, a pharmacist 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 Pharmacy 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 pharmacist’s employer and business
- Criminal and civil records
- Other state licenses and application
- Interviews of people associated with the Board Complaint (These interviewees can include the patient, medical director, colleagues, etc.)
Arizona Board of Pharmacy Appeals | License Defense for the Arizona Pharmacy Board
It’s always disappointing when a pharmacist receives an unfavorable decision from the Arizona Board of Pharmacy (“ABP“). However, pharmacists in Arizona can benefit from understanding the process that goes along with Arizona Board of Pharmacy appeals and hearings after the Board hears a case. If you are facing an unfavorable ABP outcome due to an offered disciplinary action, you can always appeal the decision and request an administrative hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Filing an Appeal after a Board of Pharmacy 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 pharmacy license. The purpose of this investigation is to give the ABP evidence to make a decision on whether or not a pharmacist should face disciplinary action. If the pharmacist 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 pharmacist 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 pharmacist licensee may request a legal appeal of Arizona Board of Pharmacy 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. A pharmacist’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 to the appeals department.
Arizona Board of Pharmacy Probation Attorney | Defense Lawyer for Arizona Pharmacy Board Issues
Probation from the Arizona Board of Pharmacy against the licenses of pharmacists in Arizona is offered through a Consent Agreement. The Consent Agreement requires the pharmacist to do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Or alternatively, refrain from doing things (using alcohol, prescribing schedule drugs, seeing certain patients, etc.). The Arizona Board of Pharmacy can place pharmacists on probation through:
Pharmacists who hold a license in Arizona can face disciplinary actions by the Arizona Board (located in Phoenix) for many different reasons. 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 Arizona law. Thus, at an Arizona Board Meeting, the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation, thus, a defense attorney may be needed. The Arizona State Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the pharmacist, intern, pharmacy technician or licensee formal discipline.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Board of Pharmacy Attorney services and how to protect your license, set up a consultation with Chelle Law today.