Dedicated Arizona Medical License Defense Attorneys
As a doctor or other healthcare professional in Arizona, the essential key to career success isn’t your brain, hands, or bedside manner – but your healthcare license. You can’t legally practice without it. Unfortunately, if someone files a complaint against you with the Arizona Medical Board, or you have a criminal arrest or conviction, your license and career may be in serious jeopardy.
Just as it can be devastating to see patients who’ve relied on “Dr. Google” when they should have taken their medical concerns to a medical professional straight away, it’s upsetting for lawyers to see doctors attempt to handle complaint investigations or potential disciplinary actions on their own. An experienced medical license defense attorney in Phoenix can help you avoid unnecessary complications and obtain a better outcome.
The Stewart Law Group’s team of medical license defense lawyers has the experience, knowledge, and skills to help physicians protect both their license and reputation. We know how to navigate the process efficiently, establish a strong defense and help you understand and enforce your rights.
We defend physicians facing a range of disciplinary actions, including allegations of:
- Substandard Quality of Care
- Professional Misconduct
- Over or Under-prescribing
- Boundary Violations
- Substance Abuse
- Inadequate Maintenance of Patient Charts & Records
- Criminal Arrests, Charges or Convictions
- Sexual Misconduct
- Failure to Abide by Mandatory Reporting Requirements
If you receive a Notice of Investigation from the Arizona Medical Board or learn that someone has filed a complaint against you, contact a knowledgeable medical license defense lawyer near you immediately. Your ability to continue practicing medicine may depend upon it.
Types of Medical Licenses We Defend in Arizona
All healthcare workers deserve quality representation in the face of license revocation. We serve medical professionals at all levels and from all areas of healthcare.
Our professional license defense practice regularly takes on the following healthcare license cases:
- Physician assistants
- Dental hygienists
- Physical therapists
- Physical therapy assistants
- Respiratory care practitioners
When your career and reputation are called into question, you need an experienced medical license defense attorney acting in your best interests.
Why You Need Strong Legal Representation For Your Healthcare License Defense
Organizations such as the Arizona State Board of Nursing and the Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy do not view complaints lightly. Don’t assume that they’ll throw out ‘minor’ complaints. Sometimes, issues that initially seem frivolous reveal a greater pattern of unprofessional conduct. As such, state-sanctioned departments and boards cannot afford to set aside any complaint, no matter how small.
How the Stewart Law Group Can Help
We get it: you’re dealing with a variety of difficult emotions as you consider the possibility of losing your license. You’re shocked, anxious, and angry. Don’t let these feelings cloud your judgment as you strive to keep your license.
Right now, you need patient counsel and proactive representation. You’ll receive exactly that when you work with Scott Stewart and the team here at the Stewart Law Group. An Arizona-based firm, we understand the legal complexities of license defense. We’ll guide you through this difficult process and help you retain your license, no matter how impossible that may seem. We’re happy to help every step of the way, from responding to your initial complaint to appearing at a hearing.
Potential Arizona Medical Board Disciplinary Actions
The Arizona Medical Board has the solemn duty of examining every complaint filed against physicians falling under their jurisdiction. If the Board finds a doctor has violated the Arizona Medical Practice Act, it may recommend a variety of disciplinary and non-disciplinary actions, including:
- Issuing an Advisory Letter
- Issuing a Letter of Reprimand
- Decree of Censure
- Public Warning
- License Denial (applicants for licensure in Arizona, only)
- Revocation of the medical license.
If the Medical Board recommends a severe sanction, such as a 12-month suspension or revocation of the medical license, there will be a full evidentiary hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings to ensure that such an extreme sanction is justified.
Medical License Attorneys in Your Corner During a Medical Board Investigation
If you receive a notice of complaint, contact an experienced Arizona medical license defense lawyer near you as soon as possible. A medical license defense attorney well-versed in Medical Board proceedings can help you draft an accurate, reasonable response that presents your story in the most favorable light.
The legal team at Stewart Law Group understands the intricacies involved in defending a medical license, and we’re skilled at fighting for the best possible outcome for physicians under investigation. No matter if the allegations concern misconduct, a crime, an ethics violation, or any other Medical Act violation, we can conduct a thorough investigation, determine the best course of action, and help you mount a strong defense. If the circumstances demand it, we can also vigorously negotiate with the Board to find a resolution agreeable to everyone.
How the License Investigation Process Works
The investigation process varies somewhat from one healthcare professional to the next. Most, however, follow the same general pattern.
Following complaint submission, your occupation’s state board will assign an investigator to your case. This person will use subpoena power to access a variety of documents. These could include medical records, police reports, or employee files.
As the board investigates your case, your attorney will launch a parallel investigation and attempt to gain access to similar documents. Additionally, your Arizona medical license defense attorney will consult with you and witnesses to record an alternate side of the story.
After supplying a Notice of Complaint, the board may also send a questionnaire. This document may feature questions that seem irrelevant to your case. Answer these queries under supervision from your attorney. Likewise, your attorney should be present for any requested investigative interviews.
Following a thorough investigation, the board’s appointed surveyor will release results in an official summary. Investigative reports are often one-sided. Unfortunately, this document will play a critical role in determining your case’s outcome. The board will most likely discuss the report during a regular meeting. At this time, your attorney may present a compelling argument opposing the report’s findings.
Depending on the case, the board may offer a settlement agreement. You may be encouraged to voluntarily surrender your license. This approach may initially seem favorable compared to permanent revocation, but it’s not always in your best interest.
If you reject the disciplinary action selected by the board, you can present your case before an administrative law judge. As with the board meeting, your lawyer should represent you at this hearing. The administrative law judge may make recommendations based on evidence presented at your hearing, but the board still enjoys final authority for your case.
What Happens If You Lose Your Hearing?
If you lose your disciplinary hearing, you could suffer a variety of consequences. Examples include:
- Denial of certification
- License suspension
- License revocation
- Denial of license reinstatement
- Decree of censure
- Civil penalty
The board may frame the loss of your license as temporary, but it could easily spell the end of your healthcare career. Arizona employers typically avoid hiring applicants with adverse board records. Currently, boards post the disciplinary measures online, where it is easily accessible by prospective employers.
Even a career change may not improve your prospects following board-based disciplinary action. Employers in other industries thoroughly research your background. They may view the presence of an official disciplinary action review on your professional record as cause for concern.
Reapplying For Your Professional Medical License
License suspension periods vary from one healthcare profession to the next. The severity of the transgression may also determine how long you wait for reinstatement. Depending on how long you go without your license, you may be forced to apply again — much like a new professional. Unfortunately, unlike a healthcare worker new to the field, several additional obstacles will stand in your way. You may be asked to complete special coursework or practice with a temporary license.
As re-application eligibility approaches, work with a trusted attorney to craft a compelling submission. Your Arizona medical license defense lawyer can help you avoid roadblocks in the application process — and get you licensed as quickly as possible.
The Future of Disciplinary Action in Arizona
Currently, state law prohibits Arizona healthcare boards from posting actions taken against medical professionals online. For wrongfully accused healthcare workers, this law may be the only barrier protecting them from professional ruin, especially following non-disciplinary actions. That may change soon.
Following a 2017 ABC15 investigation, Senator Nancy Barto attempted to reverse a 2010 provision allowing concealment of non-disciplinary measures. Governor Doug Ducey vetoed Barto’s bill, but it enjoyed strong legislative support. In the future, a similar bill could easily pass. This would leave employees at greater risk of professional ruin after suffering so-called non-disciplinary action from one-sided state boards.
When your reputation and hard-fought career are at stake, you deserve nothing short of exceptional representation. The team at Stewart Law Group provides the comprehensive, personalized legal support needed to bring your case to a prompt and satisfactory close. Call us today at (602) 548-3400 to learn more about our license defense services — and how we can safeguard your medical career.
Physician’s Health Program
Persons concerned about a physicians’ ability to practice medicine safely due to substance abuse chemical dependency, or medical, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health disorders may report the physician to Arizona’s Physician’s Health Program (PHP). The PHP protects the public health and safety through the education, intervention, post-treatment monitoring and support for physicians and physician assistants.
If the Board determines that your particular challenge makes you unsafe to practice medicine, you may be asked to participate in a monitoring agreement. The applicable agreement depends on your specific situation. Monitoring may last for as little as six months or as long as five years. Some agreements are confidential; others are not. You can read more about these agreements here.
Physicians considering entering the PHP should speak with a knowledgeable attorney, such as those at Stewart Law Group, as soon as possible to review your options and potential consequences to your medical license.
Contact Our Arizona Medical Board Defense Attorneys, Fighting for Your Interests
At Stewart Law Group, we understand the stress and frustration of being under investigation by the Medical Board. Not only is your career at stake, but your reputation too. That’s why we fight hard to get our clients’ licensing issues resolved as efficiently and favorably as possible. It’s our goal to reach an outcome that minimizes disruption to your practice as well as protects your reputation.
Our legal team has a successful track record in defending Arizona physicians. We have a talent for evaluating the best course of action and making the system work to your advantage, no matter the phase of the proceeding. You’ll find that we navigate you through the process with honesty and compassion and ensure that you fully understand your rights and options every step of the way.
Check out what Nikki had to say about us on Google:
“My attorney Jennifer Mihalovich was incredibly helpful. Her team was quick to reply to any issues, knowledgeable, and caring during a very difficult time for me. I highly recommend Jennifer and Stewart Law Group. They provided professional service combined with warmth and genuine care.” Nikki Y., Sept 2019, Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐