Arizona Chiropractic Board Appeals | Chiropractor License Defense
It’s always disappointing when a chiropractor receives an unfavorable decision from the Arizona Chiropractic Board (“ACB“). However, chiropractors in Arizona can benefit from understanding the process that goes along with Arizona Chiropractic Board appeals and hearings after a case is heard by the Board. If you are facing an unfavorable ACB 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 Chiropractic Board 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 chiropractor license. The purpose of this investigation is to give the ACB evidence to make a decision on whether or not a chiropractor should face disciplinary action. If the chiropractor 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 chiropractor 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 chiropractor licensee may request a legal appeal of Arizona Chiropractic 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 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 chiropractor’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.
Criminal Reporting Requirements for a Chiropractor
A.R.S. 32-3208 requires that chiropractor licensees and applicants for a chiropractic license must report misdemeanor criminal charges involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Chiropractic Board within 10 working days after the charge is filed. A working day would be considered Monday through Friday. Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within 10 business days is a violation of the Arizona statutes.
What Current and Past Crimes Must Be Reported?
Arizona Chiropractic Board Criminal Reporting requirements hold that 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:
- 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 Arizona Practice Act and could result in disciplinary action which could result in Arizona Chiropractic Board’s Probation.
DUI Criminal History for Reconsideration for License
Chiropractors who contact our office frequently ask our attorney’s if state law allows a chiropractor with a DUI crime or conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Chiropractic Board? The short answer is yes. An Arizona Chiropractor DUI will not necessarily prevent a chiropractor 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 chiropractors with a case that resulted in a felony DUI criminal conviction can get a license.
Chiropractor License Criminal Consequences
This specific policy does not apply to criminal conduct involving misdemeanor DUI charges or convictions. Once a chiropractic professional applies for a license to practice to the Arizona Chiropractic Board, they need to disclose any felony DUI criminal court convictions (from previous years) on their application. A chiropractor must report a felony DUI no matter how much time or how many years have passed since the time of the conviction or case. The AZ Board may also ask about past DUI misdemeanor criminal charges or cases that resulted in a conviction. This is done to ensure a chiropractor can perform safe patient care and can have safe direct contact with patients or other providers.
AZ Board can Claim Investigation for Legal Misdemeanor
If a chiropractic 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 chiropractor is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems and whether the chiropractor 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.
The attorney’s at Chelle Law assist nurses with interpreting Board policy (which is generally on the Board website). Our attorney’s help the healthcare workers and nurses 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.
Arizona Chiropractic Board Complaint Lawyer
Who can file a complaint against a chiropractor? Patients, health care facilities, and other professionals, among others. When the Arizona Chiropractic 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 chiropractor receives notice and the board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having an attorney during this step can be crucial for chiropractors as they must submit a response, and interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at an Arizona Chiropractic Board.
Responding to Practice Complaints and Investigations
After receiving an Arizona Chiropractic Board Complaint or self-report, a chiropractor receives a notice from the Board requesting additional information as well as a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the Arizona Chiropractic 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 chiropractor’s employer and business
- Criminal records
- Interviews of people associated with the Board Complaint (These interviewees can include the patient, medical director, colleagues, etc.)
Arizona Chiropractic Board Unprofessional Conduct
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a chiropractor’s license the chiropractor will be unable to practice or get licensed again for a minimum of five years. After the five-year period of license revocation, the chiropractor will need to reapply for their license. If the chiropractor 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 chiropractor 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 chiropractor can reapply. This is usually between two to three years.
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the chiropractor 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 chiropractor 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 the 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 signing.
- STIPULATED REHABILITATION AGREEMENT: An Agreement that dictates the chiropractor must be monitored and complete rehabilitation. For instance, a chiropractor found to have a substance abuse problem would be subject to drug testing, group or individual therapy, practice restrictions, and supervision.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Chiropractic Board Attorney services and how to protect your license, set up a consultation with Chelle Law today.