Arizona Dental Board Complaint Lawyer | Our AZ Attorney assists Dentist with Board Complaints
Who can file a complaint against a dentist? Patients, health care facilities, and other professionals, among others. When the Arizona Dental Board receives a complaint, the Board initiates an investigation into the complaint (if the Arizona State Board has jurisdiction and the Complaint isn’t dismissed). After this happens, the dentist receives notice and the board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having an attorney during this step can be crucial for dentists as they must submit a response, and interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at an Arizona Dental Board.
Responding to Practice Complaints and Investigations
After receiving an Arizona Dental Board Complaint or self-report, a dentist receives a notice from the Board requesting additional information as well as a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the Dental 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 dentist’s employer and business
- Criminal records
- Interviews of people associated with the Board Complaint (These interviewees can include the owner, medical director, colleagues, etc.)
Appeals of Arizona Board Decisions by Attorneys
It’s always disappointing when a dentist receives an unfavorable decision from the Arizona Dental Board (“ADB“). However, dentists in Arizona can benefit from understanding the process that goes along with Arizona Dental Board Appeals and hearings after a Dental Board Complaint is heard. If you are facing an unfavorable ADB outcome due to an Arizona Dental Board Disciplinary Action, you can always appeal the decision.
Filing an Appeal after an Arizona Dental Board Meeting
The investigatory process and the appeal process work like this: The Arizona Dental Board receives a complaint or initiates an investigation into the conduct of the dentist. Once the board receives a complaint or self-report they will then initiate an investigation. The purpose of this investigation is to give the board evidence to make a decision on whether or not a dentist should face disciplinary action. If the dentist 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 dentist may need to attend a hearing. However, sometimes the investigation is automatically sent to a hearing or an informal settlement conference can be held.
Dental Administrative Appeal and Hearing Information
Any dental 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 dentist’s attorney can cross-examine witnesses and testify on 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.
Arizona Practice Disciplinary Actions
Arizona Dental Board disciplinary actions are given to dentists 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 Arizona laws and regulations. Thus, at a Board Meeting, the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation. The Arizona State Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the dentist formal discipline. Disciplinary actions can include:
- Advisory Letter
- Letter of Reprimand
- Stipulated Rehabilitation Agreement
- Nondisciplinary Order for Continuing Education
Criminal Consequences for a Dentist with the Arizona Dental Board
A.R.S. 32-3208 requires that dental licensees and applicants for a dental license must report misdemeanor criminal charges involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Dental 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 Practice Act and could result in Dental Board Probation.
What Current and Past Crimes Must a Dentist Report to the State Board?
A felony must be reported within 10 days of being charged. The following types of a 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
Dentist Board Probation Information
When a dentist faces Arizona Dental Board Probation the probation is offered through a Consent Agreement. The Consent Agreement requires the dentist to do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Or alternatively, refrain from doing things (using alcohol, prescribing scheduled drugs, seeing certain patients, etc.). The Arizona Dental Board can place dentists on probation through:
- Stipulated Rehabilitation Agreement
- Interim Practice Restriction
- Decree of Censure with Probation
- Letter of Reprimand with Probation
- Practice Limitation
Dentists who hold a license in Arizona can face disciplinary actions by the Arizona Dental Board for many different reasons. If the Dental Board determines notification of 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 the Arizona Practice Act and Arizona law. Thus, at an Arizona Dental Board 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 dentist formal discipline.
AZ Professional Licensing Attorney
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Dental Board Attorney services and how to protect your license, set up a consultation with an Arizona attorney with Chelle Law today.