The stated mission of Arizona Professional Licensing Boards is to protect and promote the welfare of the people of Arizona. The Boards do this by ensuring each professional who holds a license under the laws in Arizona is able to practice safely and promote health. Therefore, the Boards have the authority to discipline the license and practice of any licensee that comes in contact with Arizona. After a complaint is filed a Board will initiate an investigation into the allegations made. After an investigation the Board will review the matter at a Board Meeting.
Laws to Protect the Public
If the Board feels discipline is necessary they may vote to offer the licensee a Decree of Censure (“DOC”). So, what is a Decree of Censure and what are the possible repercussions it could have on a professional’s career? Each Arizona Licensing Board has their own different disciplinary options; however, most of them have very similar options, including:
- Letter of Concern
- Non-Disciplinary Order for Continuing Education
- Civil Penalty
- Decree of Censure
- Voluntary Surrender
Generally, a Decree is the lowest level of formal discipline. It carries no fines or probationary requirements. The Decree of Censure contains a Findings of Fact which summarize the events that lead to the Board deciding to discipline the licensee. The licensee must sign the Decree. Once signed, the DOC is posted in the license verification section of each Board’s licensee search. Meaning, if someone were to do a license search for a licensee that received a DOC, the search would show the DOC (many times it is attached as a clickable link).
National Practitioner Database (NPDB) Query
The Decree of Censure is reported to the National Practitioner Database (“NPDB”) and the profession specific license verification service as well. For instance, physicians who receive a decree of censure will have the DOC reported to the NPDB. Any time a NPDB query is initiated by a hospital (for credentialing or privileging purposes) the organization will be able to see the details of the DOC. A DOC generally will not lead to the denial of credentials or privileges, but the provider will usually have to provide a statement discussing the events that lead to the DOC and possibly address a committee to discuss the matter in person. Eligible professions that are reported to the NPDB include:
- Nurse Practitioners
Generally, anyone with prescriptive authority can be reported to the NPDB. Entities that are able to access the NPDB and view the disciplinary history of a provider include:
- Licensing Boards
- Federal Agencies
- Health Plans
- Peer Review Organizations
- Professional Societies
- Quality Improvement Organizations
- Law Enforcement Agencies
- Fraud Enforcement Agencies
A provider that receives a Decree of Censure in Arizona may face professional difficulties. If you would like to discuss options in defending yourself against a licensing board investigation contact Chelle Law. We have represented over 1000 professionals before Arizona licensing boards.