Arizona Veterinary Board Complaint Lawyer: Our attorney can assist a Veterinarian with Board Complaints
Complaints Against Veterinarians
Who can file a complaint against a veterinarian? Patients, health care facilities, other professionals, among others. When the Arizona Veterinary 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 veterinarian receives notice and the members of the board assign 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 an 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.)
Appeals of Arizona Board Decisions by Attorneys
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 an Arizona Veterinary Board Complaint is heard. If you are facing an unfavorable AVB outcome due to an Arizona Veterinary Board Disciplinary Action, you can always appeal the decision.
Filing an Appeal after a Veterinary 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 veterinarian. Once the board receives a complaint or self-report they will then initiate an investigation. 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 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 hearing or an informal settlement conference can be held.
Veterinarian Administrative Appeal and Hearing Information
Any veterinarian 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. A veterinarian’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 members 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.
Consultation with Arizona Attorney
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Veterinary Board Attorney services and how to protect your license, set up a consultation with an Arizona state attorney with Chelle Law today.
Arizona Veterinary Board Disciplinary Actions: Arizona Veterinary Board Complaints
Arizona Veterinary Board disciplinary actions are given to veterinarians with a license or certification in Arizona state. 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. Chelle Law’s Arizona Veterinary Board Attorneys have represented over 1,000 health care professionals before Arizona licensing boards. At Chelle Law, our attorney’s have the experience to help veterinarians with all Arizona Veterinary 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 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 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 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 the veterinarian 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.
Arizona Veterinary Board Criminal Reporting: criminal consequences for a veterinarian with the Arizona Board of Veterinary
A.R.S. 32-3208 requires that veterinarian licensees and applicants for a veterinarian license must report misdemeanor criminal charges involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony to the Arizona Veterinary Board within 10 working days after the charge is filed. A working day would be considered Monday through Friday.
Failure to report a reportable criminal charge within 10 business days is a violation of the Arizona Practice Act and could result in Arizona Veterinary Board Probation.
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 attorney’s 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. An Arizona Veterinarian 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 upon the results of a health care 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.
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 state 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.