Responding to an Arizona Psychology Board Subpoena | Psychologist Respond
How should you respond to a medical record subpoena from the Arizona Psychology Board? Arizona Healthcare Regulatory Boards in Arizona are given statutory authority to request medical records and they will do so from facilities for patients that have filed complaints, or if a psychologist is self-employed and is the custodian of the medical records, then the psych board could send the request for the medical records via subpoena as well. So, let’s talk about what makes the subpoena enforceable, and then what happens if either facility or a psychologist, I guess determines, I’m just not going to respond to the subpoena at all. First, if you are a licensed psychologist in Arizona and you receive a medical record subpoena from the psych board, you’re going to have to respond for several reasons.
Respond to Psychology Board Medical Records Subpoena
One, if you don’t respond to the subpoena, that could be grounds for disciplinary action. Two, if someone has filed a complaint against you or perhaps, they didn’t file it against you, but you’re somehow involved in an ancillary manner, not providing the record to the board, once again, could be grounds for disciplinary action. The board has complete power over your license and not cooperating, failing to respond, or any of that thing is generally a bad idea. Now, if you are in a psych facility, that’s a little bit different. Normally, during an investigation involving patient care, there are a lot of behavioral complaints, substance abuse, and that type of thing. But if this is about patient care and there is a medical record involved, the psych board will send out facilities subpoenas for medical records for patients.
And once again, the board does have the authority to request those medical records via subpoena. Now, what happens if a facility just says, we’re just not responding, we’re not sending it? Well, generally in my experience, what will happen is the board will send out a second request, perhaps a third request if there’s no response. And then after that, they generally will just move on in the investigation without the medical records. They could theoretically go to a court and try to get an order to enforce the subpoena, but I find that generally just doesn’t happen at the regulatory board level in Arizona.
I’ve never seen a board go to that length to enforce a subpoena. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but generally, if the facility doesn’t respond, at some point, the investigation will just move on without the records. Now, whether this hurts or helps, let’s just say a complaint is filed against a psychologist and the chart would be very helpful to defend the psychologist. If a psychologist is employed with an organization, the psychologist, even though they are the one providing the care, they’re not the custodian of the records, meaning it’s not their record to own, manage or do anything with. Obviously, they must comply with the requirements of having complete documentation. But as far as the actual record itself, if you’re an employee, the employer is the custodian of the record, and it’s their record to send.
Subpoena for a Psychologist’s Information or Employment File
So, if you’re a psychologist and your organization for whatever reason is refusing to send the medical record to the board, then you need to have a frank discussion with them and let them know, look, them having this record is going to be an extraordinary help to my defense, and if you don’t send this, it could cause problems for me. I would absolutely have a discussion with them and make certain that they are sending the record if it is their duty to do so. As I said before, if you’re a psychologist and you’re the custodian of a record, and then you just flat out ignore the board, you will likely run into some problems down the road. So, responding to a psych board subpoena is simple. They have the authority to request medical records. Now, if they request employment files and that type of thing, depending upon who it’s sent to, either the psychologist or the facility, there’s a little more, I guess, gray area as far as that goes.
Because what will happen is the psych board will send a medical records request to the facility, but they will also request the employment file of the psychologist involved with that psychologist as an employee. They’re going to look for the application, and then, more importantly, any disciplinary history. So, corrective action, verbal coaching, counseling, and any reports that may back up what the complaint was initially for is something that they’re going to want.
Health Professional Regulatory Board and Medical Records Subpoena
A medical records subpoena is a formal request by the court through a judge, an attorney, or any other legal authority that demands medical records from a physician. The ultimate objective of requesting such details is to use them for investigative purposes in a court proceeding. These records can prove or disapprove an essential aspect in the court. That’s why a judge might consider requesting medical records in civil actions such as:
- Workers’ compensation
- Personal injury cases
Also, a professional medical board might demand medical records to investigate a medical professional for negligence or any other medical malpractice. This has been a common trend and has unearthed multiple issues that medical professionals have found wanting. Some of the main reasons why a professional health body might request medical records for investigation include the following:
- Medical negligence
- Patient misdiagnosis
- Wrong medical prescription
- Medical malpractice
Work with an Experienced Arizona Defense Attorney
Over the years, medical practitioners have been subjected to extreme scrutiny by the Health Professional Regulatory Board (32-3201). Most of them don’t know how they can respond, especially when subjected to medical records requests through subpoenas.
As a physician working in Arizona, you must work with an experienced Arizona defense attorney. It’s the only way you’ll be able to protect your rights and ensure that medical records are not used to subject you and your career to unfair treatment.
At Chelle Law, we have experienced defense attorneys ready to listen to your concerns.