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How Can The Arizona Medical Board Suspend Your License?

Posted on August 8, 2023 in

The Arizona Medical Board is responsible for reviewing any accusations against a medical provider when a complaint of an alleged violation of Arizona laws and regulations occurs. These allegations have the potential to impair or end a medical career. The possibility of a license suspension can be overwhelming, and your professional reputation can feel jeopardized.

Knowing where to turn before you need immediate help from a knowledgeable Arizona medical license defense lawyer will better prepare you for the worst-case scenario. Without a medical license, your ability to practice will be taken away, providing the potential to lose the capability to practice in the future. Below, we discuss medical license suspension and what to expect if your livelihood is threatened. 

Arizona Medical License Suspension

The Arizona Medical Board is responsible for responding to any complaints against a physician. A complaint can be filed by:

  • Patients
  • A patient’s medical power of attorney
  • Other medical professionals
  • A healthcare facility
  • Any person that suspects a practitioner is not complying with a stand of care

The Medical Board is required to investigate each complaint, and an investigator is assigned to the case. As a medical provider, you must submit a response to the complaint, speak with the investigator during an interview, and, if needed, appear before the Arizona Medical Board. A report is filed with the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) after any disciplinary action is taken against a medical practitioner, with these records staying with a practitioner throughout their career.

What Leads to a License Suspension by the Medical Board?

As previously mentioned, the Medical Board must respond to any complaint against a medical professional. Some of the reasons that complaints are filed include:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Fraud
  • The inappropriate dispensing of drugs
  • Sexual harassment or engaging in sexual conduct with a patient within six months of the last medical consultation
  • Mental health concerns
  • Behavioral issues
  • Clinical outcomes that deviate from the standard of care
  • Discrimination 
  • Insurance fraud
  • Making false or fraudulent statements

Misconduct by a medical practitioner can be intentional or unintentional. A suspension can be issued against a practitioner’s license while being prosecuted for an alleged crime or if there is a prior conviction against the professional. 

Conducting an Investigation

The Medical Board must thoroughly investigate the allegations before any action is taken. When a medical practitioner receives notice of investigation, they must respond within an allotted time to the notice. Failure to respond can result in the Medical Board filing a contempt order against the practitioner as they begin immediate action against a practitioner’s license. 

Failure to respond is often viewed as an admission of guilt, so it is imperative to provide the requested information. This information may include:

  • Employment files 
  • Medical records for patients
  • Any criminal records

The Medical Board may also interview any individuals associated with the complaint.

Summary Suspension by the Arizona Medical Board

Medical practitioners will likely continue to practice until the Medical Board determines disciplinary action. However, if they feel the public’s health and safety could suffer due to a physician’s actions, a practice restriction can be recommended by the Board to limit the medical practitioner’s ability until a thorough investigation can be completed. If the practitioner refuses a practice restriction, then the Medical Board will likely issue a summary suspension until a formal investigation takes place.

A medical practitioner has the right to a full evidentiary hearing which will be referred to the office of administrative hearings within 60 days of its issuance. 

Failure to Complete Probation or Rehabilitation

The Medical Board may choose probation or rehabilitation as an alternative to suspension. These mandates, or board orders allow a medical practitioner to address less severe offenses by issuing mandates such as continuing medical education courses, the completion of rehabilitation programs, or whatever mandate the Medical Board feels is necessary to educate the practitioner. Failure to comply with the mandates of the Medical Board can lead to a license suspension for a specified period of time until the Board’s requirements are fulfilled.

Hearings and Suspensions

A practitioner’s license can be suspended for up to 12 months without a formal hearing. A suspension for a longer term requires that a hearing take place. You have the right to request a hearing if you do not agree with the Medical Board’s decision, but the request must be made within the appropriate time frame. 

There is the possibility that a hearing can end in favor of a practitioner, reducing the suspension or another less severe course of action being taken. However, there is also the consideration that the hearing may not end as favorably. Always rely on an Arizona medical license defense lawyer to build and argue your case before the Medical Board or before an administrative law judge if you reject the disciplinary actions suggested by the Board. 

Depending on the length of your suspension, you may be required to reapply for a professional license. The suspension and reapplication may obligate a practitioner to take additional steps, such as completing specific course work or practicing with a temporary license, to obtain their licensure again. 

Trusted Arizona Medical License Defense Attorney

Many practitioners place their trust in the Medical Board, believing it will make the best decision for their medical career, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Your ability to practice successfully can be limited by the Medical Board’s findings, possibly ending a career that you have dedicated decades to building. Your trust should be placed in an Arizona professional license defense attorney with a proven record of protecting medical professionals from possible disciplinary actions such as license suspension.

Being accused of a license violation should never be taken lightly. A free consultation with the Stewart Law Group allows our team to determine how we can help you and begin to develop a legal strategy to protect your career. The Stewart Law Group values your reputation as a medical practitioner and fights aggressively to protect your personal and professional reputation from a medical license suspension.