Arizona Optometry Board Complaint Lawyer | Our attorney can assist an Optometrist with Board Complaints
Who can file a complaint against an optometrist? Patients, health care facilities, other professionals, among others. When the Arizona Optometry 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 optometrist receives notice and the board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having an optometrist during this step can be crucial for optometrist as they must submit a response, interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at an Arizona Optometry Board.
Responding to Practice Complaints and Investigations
After receiving an Arizona Optometry Board Complaint or self-report, an optometrist receives a notice from the Board requesting additional information as well as a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the Arizona Optometry Board assigns an investigator to the complaint and they begin to collect evidence. The documents and evidence collected includes:
- Patient medical records
- Employment files from the optometrist’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 an optometrist receives an unfavorable decision from the Arizona Optometry Board (“AOB“). However, optometrists in Arizona can benefit from understanding the process that goes along with Arizona Optometry Board Appeals and hearings after an Arizona Optometry Board Complaint is heard. If you are facing an unfavorable AOB outcome due to an Arizona Optometry Board Disciplinary Action, you can always appeal the decision.
Filing an Appeal after an Optometry Board Meeting
The investigatory process and the appeal process work like this: The Arizona Board receives a complaint or initiates an investigation into the conduct of the optometrist. Once the board receives a complaint or self-report they will then initiate an investigation. The purpose of this investigation is to give the AOB evidence to make a decision on whether or not an optometrist should face disciplinary action. If the optometrist 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 optometrist may need to attend a hearing. However, sometimes the investigation is automatically sent to hearing or an informal settlement conference can be held.
Optometry Administrative Appeal and Hearing Information
Any optometry 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. An optometrist’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.
What Current and past Crimes Must an Optometrist Report to the State Board?
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 Medical Practice Act and could result in disciplinary action which could result in Arizona Optometry Board Probation.
Arizona Optometry Board Probation
When an optometrist faces Arizona Optometry Board Probation the probation is offered through a Consent Agreement. The Consent Agreement requires the optometrist do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Or alternatively, refrain from doing things (using alcohol, prescribing schedule drugs, seeing certain patients, etc.). The Arizona Optometry Board can place optometrists on probation through:
- Stipulated Rehabilitation Agreement
- Interim Practice Restriction
- Decree of Censure with Probation
- Letter of Reprimand with Probation
- Practice Limitation
Optometrists who hold a license in Arizona can face disciplinary actions by the Arizona Optometry Board for many different reasons. If the Optometry 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 Medical Practice Act and Arizona law. Thus, at an Arizona Optometry 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 optometrists formal discipline.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Optometry Board Attorney services and how to protect your license, set up a consultation with an Arizona attorney with Chelle Law today.