The job of the Arizona Occupational Therapy Board (located in Phoenix, AZ) is to protect and promote the medical welfare of the people of Arizona. They do this by ensuring each professional who holds a license as a occupational therapist in Arizona is able to practice safely and promote health. This means the Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners has the authority to discipline the license and practice of any occupational therapist that comes in contact with Arizona. Chelle Law’s Arizona Occupational Therapy Board Attorney has represented over 1000 health care professionals before the Board and have the professional licensing defense experience needed to defend the rights of occupational therapists with Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners healthcare litigation matters. Our office and defense attorney assists:
- Occupational Therapists
- Occupational Therapist Assistants
Arizona Occupational Therapy License Complaint
Who can file a complaint against a occupational therapist? Patients, Health Care Facilities, occupational therapists, other health care professionals, among others can contact the Board and allege legal violations. When the Arizona Occupational Therapy Board receives a complaint the Board initiates an investigation into the complaint (if the Board has jurisdiction and the Complaint isn’t dismissed) and a case is opened. After this happens, the occupational therapist receives notice and the Board assigns an investigator to the case. Please note, having an attorney during this step can be crucial and can protect your rights. This is because a occupational therapist must submit a response, interview with the investigator while also possibly appearing at a AZ Occupational Therapy Board Meeting. Our office can assist occupational therapists with interpreting Arizona law.
Occupational Therapist Board Application Denial Assistance
Applicants to the Arizona Occupational Therapy Board who have a criminal history from years ago (like a DUI) or previous case discipline by the Arizona Occupational Therapy Board (or any other Occupational Therapy 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 Arizona Occupational Therapy Board after receiving contact of an investigation.
Reporting a Misdemeanor to the Board
Occupational Therapists who currently hold a valid license with the Arizona Occupational Therapy Board or pending applicants must notify the Board of any criminal charge that may affect patient safety within ten (10) business days (like a DUI). Occupational therapists should learn what crimes an individual must report and the potential discipline that can come with it that could effect your practice of occupational therapy.
Occupational Therapist Administrative Appeal and Hearing
Any professional occupational therapist licensee may request a legal appeal of an Arizona Occupational Therapy Board disciplinary action 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 occupational therapist’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 makes the decision to either accept, reject or modify the ALJ’s decision. If an individuals feels there has been a mistake they can request a rehearing.
Occupational Therapist Practice Disciplinary Actions
Occupational Therapists who hold a license or certification in Arizona can face license actions by the AZ Occupational Therapist Board for any investigatory matters. If the Board determines formal licensing 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 Occupational Therapy Practice Act and Arizona law. Thus, at an Arizona Occupational Therapy Board Meeting (see old Minutes and Agendas) the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation, thus, a defense attorney may be needed. The Board can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome or vote to offer the occupational therapist formal discipline.
Examples of Disciplinary Actions include:
- CASE DISMISSAL: The Board may dismiss a case if they determine there was not a violation of Arizona law.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern that the occupational therapist’s conduct was not ideal; however, the conduct does not necessarily violate Arizona law. (Not uncommon for a first time DUI)
- NON-DISCIPLINARY ORDER: The Board will require a prescribed number of hours of continuing education that provides the necessary understanding of current developments, skills, procedures or treatment.
- DECREE OF CENSURE: A decree of censure is the lowest level of formal discipline. There are no probationary requirements.
- CIVIL PENALTY: This is similar to a Decree of Censure. The difference is a occupational therapist can receive a fine (up to $2000 per violation).
- PROBATION: Probation is offered through a Consent Agreement. The Consent Agreement requires the occupational therapist to do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Or alternatively, refrain from doing things (unsupervised care, using alcohol, etc.).
- SUSPENSION: A suspension stops the occupational therapist from practicing as a occupational therapist for a period of time until the Board lifts the suspension.
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a occupational therapist‘s license the occupational therapist will be unable to provide care for a minimum amount of time. After the period the occupational therapist will have to reapply for their license after the five year period has ended. If the occupational therapist reapplies for licensure the nurse must must demonstrate that the grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions, medical issues) has been rectified.
- VOLUNTARY SURRENDER: The occupational therapist voluntarily gives up their license. The benefit of a voluntary surrender is that the Board is usually willing to reduce the amount of time until a occupational therapist can reapply (between 2 to 3 years).
Contact Our Health Care Licensing Investigation Lawyer
If you’re interested in learning more about our license defense lawyer services (located in Phoenix) and how to protect your rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Occupational Therapist Attorney reach out to us today.