Arizona Nursing Board Appeals | AZ License | Nursing Appeal
It’s always disappointing when a nurse receives an unfavorable decision from the Arizona Board of Nursing (AZBON).
However, nurses in Arizona can benefit from understanding the process that goes along with Arizona Board of Nursing appeals and hearings. Especially right after the hearing of an Arizona Nursing Board Complaint.
If you are facing an unfavorable AZBON outcome due to an Arizona Board of Nursing disciplinary action, you can always appeal the decision (for instance, after LPN discipline).
CLICK HERE FOR ARIZONA NURSING BOARD ATTORNEY REPRESENTATION
- 2 Ways to Overcome a Summary Suspension
- 3 Ways the Board Can Suspend Your License
- Arizona Nursing Board Hearing
- Arizona Nursing License Suspension
- Can a Nurse Continue to Work if Suspended?
- How a Practice Restriction Could Cost a Nurse Practitioner Their DEA Registration
- Will a Nurse Be Placed on the OIG List after a Voluntarily Surrender?
Filing an Appeal after a Nursing Board Meeting
The investigatory process and the appeal process work like this:
The AZBON receives a complaint or initiates an investigation into the nurse’s conduct (like a UCNA, LNA, or CNA). Once the board receives a complaint or self-report, they will initiate an investigation (like if a patient in Phoenix files information, putting a nurse certificate at risk).
This investigation aims to give the AZBON evidence to decide whether a nurse should face disciplinary action (for instance, due to reporting a misdemeanor charge or conviction).
If the nurse 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 (ALJ) will oversee the appeal, and the nurse may need to attend a hearing. However, sometimes the investigation is automatically sent to a hearing, or an informal settlement conference can be held.
Nursing Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any professional nurse licensee may request a legal appeal of Arizona Nursing Board Discipline to an administrative law judge with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), located in Phoenix.
In some instances, a case is sent automatically to OAH. The OAH conducts the hearing 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 nurse’s attorney can cross-examine witnesses and testify on their behalf. After completing it, the ALJ reviews the transcripts and evidence and makes a recommendation. However, the Board decides to accept, reject or modify the ALJ’s decision. If an individual feels there has been a mistake, they can request a rehearing.
AZ Nurse Practice Disciplinary Actions
Nurses holding a license or certification in Arizona can face disciplinary actions by the AZ Board of Nursing. 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 Nurse Practice Act (“NPA”) and Arizona law. Thus, at an Arizona Nursing Board Meeting, the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation.
Therefore, one may need a defense attorney. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the nurse a formal discipline.
LNA and CNA Attorney
For individuals who wish to file an appeal, it is crucial to retain qualified legal counsel to represent you. Having an attorney with experience working on your behalf means having the help you need to draft an appeal. It also means having an attorney on your side, helping ensure you’ve explored all avenues of defense.
Having a complaint against you or working with a Board of Nursing Investigator is challenging enough. Our attorneys are here to help you protect your professional license and maneuver these complex legal proceedings.
Suppose you’re a nurse and have questions about how the Arizona Board of Nursing appeals and hearings work. Or, if you would like to set up a consultation with Chelle Law, contact us today.
Does State Law Allow the Board to Suspend Nurse’s License?
Nurses contact our office and frequently ask our attorneys: does state law allow the Arizona State Board of Nursing to suspend a nurse’s license? The short answer is yes. The Board can issue a license suspension based upon ARS 41-1092.11.
That statute states nurses can be suspended (and ultimately have their license revoked):
“B. Revocation, suspension, annulment or withdrawal of any license is not lawful unless, before the action, the agency provides the licensee with notice and an opportunity for a hearing in accordance with this article. If the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action, and incorporates a finding to that effect in its order, the agency may order the summary suspension of a license pending proceedings for revocation or other action. These proceedings shall be promptly instituted and determined.”
So, in short, yes. The Arizona Board of Nursing has the power to suspend your license if it determines you are an immediate threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
Some usual reasons for a nursing license suspension include the following:
- Diverting narcotics.
- Healthcare problems.
- Criminal issues (felony, misdemeanor).
- Past disciplinary issues.
- Substance abuse (alcohol, prescription medications, illegal drugs).
- Sexual misconduct.
- Mental health disorders necessitating immediate action.
Arizona State Board of Nursing Non Disciplinary Practice 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 Nurse Practice Act. This outcome is not available to the public.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the board expressing concern that the nurse’s conduct was not ideal. However, the behavior does not necessarily violate the Nurse Practice Act or Board policy, and no further contact is needed. It will likely not affect future licensure or if the nurse wishes further their education in an advanced program. License verification does not show it.
- ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY: The AZ State Board of Nursing may impose an administrative penalty of not more than one thousand dollars with verified complaints. They may impose the penalty for any of the following (this is not an all-inclusive list):
- Failing to timely renew a nursing license while continuing to practice nursing services.
- Failing to contact the board in writing within thirty days after a change in address.
Arizona Board of Nursing Unprofessional Conduct
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a nurse’s license, the nurse will be unable to practice or get licensed again for a minimum of five years. After the five-year license revocation period, the nurse will need to reapply for their license. If the nurse reapplies for licensure, they must demonstrate they have rectified what could be grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions) through an applicable program. It is a public document.
- VOLUNTARY SURRENDER: The nurse voluntarily gives up their license. The benefit of this voluntary consent is that the Board is usually willing to reduce the time until a nurse can reapply. It is generally between two to three years.
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the nurse from practicing as a nurse. It prohibits any patient contact or services for a while until the Board lifts the suspension.
- PROBATION: The Board offers probation through a consent agreement. The consent agreement requires the nurse do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Alternatively, they may need to refrain from doing something (unsupervised nursing like home health, working under the nursing licensure compact, using alcohol, etc.) They will need a request for the removal of probation.
- DECREE OF CENSURE: A decree of censure is the lowest level of formal discipline against a license or certificate. There are no probationary requirements. However, the action is put on the website for five years for the public to inspect. A document removal will occur five years after signing.
- CIVIL PENALTY: This is similar to a Decree of Censure. However, the nurse can face fines (up to $1000 per violation). Like the degree of censure, a Civil Penalty is on the website for five years.
AZ Suspended or Revoked License
A misdemeanor criminal charge would likely not reach the threshold needed for the board to initiate a summary suspension (such as a misdemeanor DUI or Disorderly Conduct charge).
Contact an Arizona Nursing Board Attorney at Chelle Law to get help with Arizona Board of Nursing Appeal issues.
Nurse Practitioners Their DEA Registration
Suppose the Arizona Board of Nursing has placed an Arizona nurse practitioner on probation. In that case, the probation can sometimes include a practice restriction that limits or completely stops the nurse practitioner from prescribing controlled substances for a period.
The board generally reports these restrictions to the Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”). The DEA may deny, suspend or revoke a practitioner’s DEA registration for the following reasons:
- A falsified DEA registration application
- A state license has been placed on probation, suspended, revoked, or denied
- Excluded from participation in Medicare or Medicaid programs
- Convicted of a felony related to a controlled substance
- Committed an act that is inconsistent with the public interest
2 Ways to Overcome a Summary Suspension with the Arizona Nursing Board
If the Arizona Board of Nursing believes a nurse cannot practice safely, they can initiate a summary suspension. The legal standard in Arizona is that public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action necessitating the immediate suspension of a nurse’s license.
Examples of actions that can lead to a summary suspension:
- Substance Abuse
- Sexual Misconduct
- Mental Health Concerns
- Refusal to Follow Board Order
Summary Suspension Meeting
The Board will oversee the summary suspension proceeding and vote on whether to suspend the nurse’s license. Two ways to avoid the summary suspension include:
- Consent Agreement: Agree to and sign a Consent Agreement before the Summary Suspension proceeding. If the nurse can agree to a Consent Agreement without suspension, the Board will likely accept the signed Consent Agreement.
- Convince the Board: The nurse (or their attorney) would attempt to convince the Board that they haven’t met the legal standard and that a summary suspension is unnecessary.
Consultation at Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Nursing Board Complaint services and how to protect your rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney reach out to us today.