Arizona Dental Board Disciplinary Actions | Arizona Dental Board Complaints
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. Chelle Law’s Arizona Dental Board Attorneys have represented over 1,000 healthcare professionals before Arizona licensing boards. At Chelle Law, our attorneys have the experience to help dentists with all Arizona Dental Board matters.
Thus, at a Board Meeting, the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation and review of complaints. The 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
- Non-disciplinary order for continuing education
Arizona State Dental Board Non-Disciplinary Actions
- CASE DISMISSAL: The Arizona State 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.
- NON-DISCIPLINARY ORDER FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION: An order that dictates the dentist must complete a number of hours of continuing education for specific topics.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern the dentist’s conduct wasn’t ideal. However, the conduct doesn’t necessarily violate Arizona law.
Arizona Dentist Unprofessional Conduct
- REVOCATION: If the Arizona State Board revokes a dentist’s license the dentist will be unable to practice or get licensed again for a minimum of five years. After the five-year period of license revocation, the dentist will need to reapply for their license. If the dentist 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 dentist 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 dentist can reapply. This is usually between two to three years.
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the dentist 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 dentist 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.
- DECREE OF CENSURE: A decree of censure is the lowest level of formal discipline. There are no probationary requirements, but the Order will be listed on the website.
Arizona Dental Board Complaints
Who can file an Arizona Dental Board Complaint against a dentist? Patients, health care facilities, and other professionals, among others. When the AZ Dental 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 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
- Review of the professional’s behavior at work
- Interviews of people associated with the Board Complaint (These interviewees can include the patient, medical director, colleagues, etc.)
Arizona Dental Board Appeals | Board License Defense for an Arizona Dentist
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 case is heard by the Board. Suppose you face an unfavorable outcome due to an offered disciplinary action, consent agreement, or order. In that case, you can always appeal the decision and request an administrative hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Filing an Appeal after a Dental 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 dentist license. The purpose of this investigation is to give the ADB evidence to make a decision on whether or not a dentist should face disciplinary action. If the dentist 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 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 (if requested).
Arizona Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any dentist licensee may request a legal appeal of the Board’s 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. 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 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 by appealing the decision.
Statutes and Rules
Analyst rules effective July 4, 2020 from Arizona statutes can be found on the Statutes and Rules page.
Dental rules effective July 4, 2020 from Arizona statutes can be found on the Statutes and Rules page.
Consultation with Chelle Law
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 Chelle Law today.