Arizona Veterinary Board Attorney | AZ Veterinarians
The Arizona Veterinary Board protects and promotes the welfare of the people of Arizona. They do this by ensuring each person who holds a license as a veterinarian in the State of Arizona is able to practice safely. This means the Arizona Veterinary Board has the authority to discipline the license of any medical doctor.
Mr. Chelle did an excellent job in defending my license I would definitely recommend him.
Chelle Law’s Arizona Veterinary Board Attorneys have represented over 1,000 healthcare professionals before Arizona licensing boards. Our attorneys have the experience to help veterinary professionals with Arizona Veterinary Board matters. We assist veterinarian professionals with all Arizona Veterinary Board issues, including those who work as:
- Veterinary Technician.
Arizona Veterinary Board Complaint
Who can file a complaint against a veterinarian? Patients, Health Care Facilities, and other professionals, among others. When the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board receives a complaint, the Board will initiate an investigation into the complaint (if the Board has jurisdiction and the Complaint isn’t dismissed). After this happens, the veterinarian will receive notice and the board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having an attorney during this step can be crucial for veterinarians as they must submit a response, interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at a Arizona Veterinary Board.
Responding to Practice Complaints and Investigations
After receiving an Arizona Veterinary Board Complaint or self-report, a veterinarian receives a notice from the Board requesting additional information as well as a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the Arizona Veterinary 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 veterinarian’s employer and business
- Criminal records
- Interviews of people associated with the Board Complaint (These interviewees can include the owner, medical director, colleagues, etc.)
Veterinarian Application Denial Assistance
Applicants to the Arizona Veterinary Board who have a criminal history or previous discipline by the Arizona Veterinary Board (or any other Board) may be subject to denial of their application for licensure. Thus, those with a criminal or disciplinary history from other licensing boards will be investigated by the Board.
Criminal Reporting Requirements for a Veterinarian
Behavioral health professionals who currently hold a valid license with the Arizona Veterinary Board or pending applicants must notify the board of nursing of any criminal charge that may affect patient safety within ten business days. Learn what crimes an individual must report and the potential discipline that can come with it.
What Current and Past Crimes Must a Veterinarian Report to the State Bd?
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 Practice Act and could result in disciplinary action which could result in Arizona Veterinary Board Probation.
DUI Effects on a License
Veterinarians who contact our office frequently ask our attorneys if state law allows a veterinarian professional with a DUI crime or conviction to get a license with the Arizona State Veterinary Board? The short answer is yes. Arizona Veterinarians’ DUI will not necessarily prevent a veterinarian from obtaining a license or a career in the health field. However, the Board (which handles all complaints) has a public policy (updated as of September 2020) on their website which covers the details of what circumstances veterinarian professionals with a case that resulted in a felony DUI criminal conviction can get a license.
Disclosing a Record for an Applicant
If a veterinarian license applicant is not required to disclose a legal misdemeanor DUI, the AZ Board can still initiate an investigation based on the results of a healthcare fingerprint background check. The Board will then contact the veterinarian professional and initiate an investigation in their practice utilizing the law of the Arizona Practice Act (current as of October 2020). This license investigation determines whether the veterinarian is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems, and whether the veterinarian has rehabilitated in the time since the criminal misdemeanor DUI or DUI charges occurred. Simply, the Board wants to know whether the applicant can provide safe medical care with a past criminal case involving alcohol or substance abuse.
Veterinarian Record and Convictions
One question our attorneys are frequently asked is whether state law allows a veterinarian professional with a felony criminal background or an arrest to get a license with the Arizona Veterinary Board? The short answer is, yes. An Arizona Felony for veterinarians will not necessarily prevent a veterinarian from obtaining a license or a career in the medical field. However, the Board has a public policy on their website which covers the details of under what circumstances a veterinarian with a case that resulted in criminal records can get a license.
Criminal Charges and Behavior Analyst Rules with the Arizona Board
When a professional applies to Arizona Veterinary Board, they must disclose a felony criminal court sentence (and other similar offenses) on their application. A veterinarian must self-report a felony no matter how much time or how many years have passed since the conviction. After self-reporting occurs, the Board contacts the veterinarian and initiates an investigation utilizing the law of the AZ Practice Act. The investigation helps to determine whether the veterinarian professional is a danger to the public, has any medical or mental health problems and whether the veterinarian has rehabilitated in the time since the criminal incident occurred. Simply put, Veterinary Boards want to know whether the veterinarian applicant can provide safe medical care.
Arizona Veterinary Board Appeals: Board License Defense for an Arizona Veterinarian
It’s always disappointing when a veterinarian receives an unfavorable decision from the Arizona Veterinary Board (“AVB“). However, veterinarians in Arizona can benefit from understanding the process that goes along with Arizona Veterinary Board appeals and hearings after a case is heard by the Board. If you are facing an unfavorable outcome due to an offered disciplinary action, consent agreement or order, you can always appeal the decision and request an administrative hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Filing an Appeal after a Veterinary 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 veterinary license. The purpose of this investigation is to give the AVB evidence to make a decision on whether or not a veterinarian should face disciplinary action. If the veterinarian 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 veterinarian 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).
Veterinary Board Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any licensee may request an appeal of an Arizona State Veterinary Board disciplinary action; however, any Board appeal is not heard by an administrative law judge with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). This Board oversees their own hearings. Furthermore, in some circumstances, a case is sent automatically to hearing. The hearing 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 Board should rule one way or the other. A veterinarian’s attorney can cross examine witnesses and testify on his or her behalf. After the hearing the Board makes the decision to either accept, reject or modify their original decision. If a professional feels there has been an error they can request a rehearing.
Arizona Veterinarians’ Disciplinary Actions
Arizona Veterinary Board disciplinary actions are given to veterinarians 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 the Arizona laws and regulations. Thus, at a Board Meeting the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the veterinarian formal discipline. Disciplinary actions can include:
- Letter of concern.
- Decree of censure.
- Civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.
- Non-disciplinary order for continuing education.
- License restriction.
Arizona Veterinary Board Non-Disciplinary 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 Practice Act. This outcome is not available to the public.
- NON-DISCIPLINARY ORDER FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION: An order that dictates the veterinarian must complete a number of hours of continuing education for specific topics.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern the nurse’s conduct wasn’t ideal. However, the conduct doesn’t necessarily violate Arizona law.
Arizona Veterinary Unprofessional Conduct
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a veterinarian’s license the veterinarian will be unable to practice or get licensed again for a minimum of five years. After the five year period of license revocation the veterinarian will need to reapply for their license. If the veterinarian reapplies for licensure they must demonstrate the grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions) has been rectified through an applicable program. This is a public document.
- VOLUNTARY SURRENDER: The veterinarian 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 veterinarian can reapply. This is usually between two to three years.
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the veterinarian 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 veterinarians to 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 a 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.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you would like to set up a consultation with our Arizona Veterinary Board Attorney at Chelle Law or would like to learn more about the services we provide to Arizona veterinarians we invite you to reach out to us today.