Arizona Reporting Statute

The information on this page was last updated by Horty, Springer & Mattern on February 14, 2019.

ARIZONA

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 32-1451. Grounds for disciplinary action; duty to report; immunity; proceedings; board action; notice requirements

A. The board on its own motion may investigate any evidence that appears to show that a doctor of medicine is or may be medically incompetent, is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct or is or may be mentally or physically unable safely to engage in the practice of medicine. On written request of a complainant, the board shall review a complaint that has been administratively closed by the executive director and take any action it deems appropriate. Any person may, and a doctor of medicine, the Arizona medical association, a component county society of that association and any health care institution shall, report to the board any information that appears to show that a doctor of medicine is or may be medically incompetent, is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct or is or may be mentally or physically unable safely to engage in the practice of medicine. The board or the executive director shall notify the doctor as to the content of the complaint as soon as reasonable. Any person or entity that reports or provides information to the board in good faith is not subject to an action for civil damages. If requested, the board shall not disclose the name of a person who supplies information regarding a licensee’s drug or alcohol impairment. It is an act of unprofessional conduct for any doctor of medicine to fail to report as required by this section. The board shall report any health care institution that fails to report as required by this section to that institution’s licensing agency.

B. The chief executive officer, the medical director or the medical chief of staff of a health care institution shall inform the board if the privileges of a doctor to practice in that health care institution are denied, revoked, suspended or limited because of actions by the doctor that appear to show that the doctor is or may be medically incompetent, is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct or is or may be mentally or physically unable to safely engage in the practice of medicine, along with a general statement of the reasons, including patient chart numbers, that led the health care institution to take the action. The chief executive officer, the medical director or the medical chief of staff of a health care institution shall inform the board if a doctor under investigation resigns or if a doctor resigns in lieu of disciplinary action by the health care institution. Notification shall include a general statement of the reasons for the resignation, including patient chart numbers. The board shall inform all appropriate health care institutions in this state as defined in § 36-401 and the Arizona health care cost containment system administration of a resignation, denial, revocation, suspension or limitation, and the general reason for that action, without divulging the name of the reporting health care institution. A person who reports information in good faith pursuant to this subsection is not subject to civil liability.

C. The board or, if delegated by the board, the executive director shall require, at the doctor’s expense, any combination of mental, physical or oral or written medical competency examinations and conduct necessary investigations, including investigational interviews between representatives of the board and the doctor to fully inform itself with respect to any information filed with the board under subsection A of this section. These examinations may include biological fluid testing and other examinations known to detect the presence of alcohol or other drugs. The board or, if delegated by the board, the executive director may require the doctor, at the doctor’s expense, to undergo assessment by a board approved rehabilitative, retraining or assessment program. This subsection does not establish a cause of action against any person, facility or program that conducts an assessment, examination or investigation in good faith pursuant to this subsection.

D. If the board finds, based on the information it receives under subsections A and B of this section, that the public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action, and incorporates a finding to that effect in its order, the board may restrict a license or order a summary suspension of a license pending proceedings for revocation or other action. If the board takes action pursuant to this subsection, it shall also serve the licensee with a written notice that states the charges and that the licensee is entitled to a formal hearing before the board or an administrative law judge within sixty days.

E. If, after completing its investigation, the board finds that the information provided pursuant to subsection A of this section is not of sufficient seriousness to merit disciplinary action against the license of the doctor, the board or a board committee may take any of the following actions:

1. Dismiss if, in the opinion of the board, the information is without merit.

2. Require the licensee to complete designated continuing medical education courses.

3. File an advisory letter. The licensee may file a written response with the board within thirty days after receiving the advisory letter.

F. If the board finds that it can take rehabilitative or disciplinary action without the presence of the doctor at a formal interview, it may enter into a consent agreement with the doctor to limit or restrict the doctor’s practice or to rehabilitate the doctor in order to protect the public and ensure the doctor’s ability to safely engage in the practice of medicine. The board may also require the doctor to successfully complete a board approved rehabilitative, retraining or assessment program at the doctor’s own expense.

G. The board shall not disclose the name of the person who provided information regarding a licensee’s drug or alcohol impairment or the name of the person who files a complaint if that person requests anonymity.

H. If after completing its investigation the board believes that the information is or may be true, it may request a formal interview with the doctor. If the doctor refuses the invitation for a formal interview or accepts and the results indicate that grounds may exist for revocation or suspension of the doctor’s license for more than twelve months, the board shall issue a formal complaint and order that a hearing be held pursuant to title 41, chapter 6, article 10.1 If after completing a formal interview the board finds that the protection of the public requires emergency action, it may order a summary suspension of the license pending formal revocation proceedings or other action authorized by this section.

I. If after completing the formal interview the board finds the information provided under subsection A of this section is not of sufficient seriousness to merit suspension for more than twelve months or revocation of the license, it may take the following actions:

1. Dismiss if, in the opinion of the board, the complaint is without merit.

2. Require the licensee to complete designated continuing medical education courses.

3. File an advisory letter. The licensee may file a written response with the board within thirty days after the licensee receives the advisory letter.

4. Enter into an agreement with the doctor to restrict or limit the doctor’s practice or professional activities or to rehabilitate, retrain or assess the doctor in order to protect the public and ensure the doctor’s ability to safely engage in the practice of medicine. The board may also require the doctor to successfully complete a board approved rehabilitative, retraining or assessment program at the doctor’s own expense pursuant to subsection F of this section.

5. File a letter of reprimand.

6. Issue a decree of censure. A decree of censure is an official action against the doctor’s license and may include a requirement for restitution of fees to a patient resulting from violations of this chapter or rules adopted under this chapter.

7. Fix a period and terms of probation best adapted to protect the public health and safety and rehabilitate or educate the doctor concerned. Probation may include temporary suspension for not to exceed twelve months, restriction of the doctor’s license to practice medicine, a requirement for restitution of fees to a patient or education or rehabilitation at the licensee’s own expense. If a licensee fails to comply with the terms of probation, the board shall serve the licensee with a written notice that states that the licensee is subject to a formal hearing based on the information considered by the board at the formal interview and any other acts or conduct alleged to be in violation of this chapter or rules adopted by the board pursuant to this chapter, including noncompliance with the term of probation, a consent agreement or a stipulated agreement. A licensee shall pay the costs associated with probation monitoring each year during which the licensee is on probation. The board may adjust this amount on an annual basis. The board may allow a licensee to make payments on an installment plan if a financial hardship occurs. A licensee who does not pay these costs within thirty days after the due date prescribed by the board violates the terms of probation.

J. If the board finds that the information provided in subsection A of this section warrants suspension or revocation of a license issued under this chapter, it shall initiate formal proceedings pursuant to title 41, chapter 6, article 10.

K. In a formal interview pursuant to subsection H of this section or in a hearing pursuant to subsection J of this section, the board in addition to any other action may impose a civil penalty in the amount of not less than one thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars for each violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter.

L. An advisory letter is a public document.

M. Any doctor of medicine who after a formal hearing is found by the board to be guilty of unprofessional conduct, to be mentally or physically unable safely to engage in the practice of medicine or to be medically incompetent is subject to censure, probation as provided in this section, suspension of license or revocation of license or any combination of these, including a stay of action, and for a period of time or permanently and under conditions as the board deems appropriate for the protection of the public health and safety and just in the circumstance. The board may charge the costs of formal hearings to the licensee who it finds to be in violation of this chapter.

N. If the board acts to modify any doctor of medicine’s prescription writing privileges, the board shall immediately notify the state board of pharmacy of the modification.

O. If the board, during the course of any investigation, determines that a criminal violation may have occurred involving the delivery of health care, it shall make the evidence of violations available to the appropriate criminal justice agency for its consideration.

P. The board may divide into review committees of not less than three members, including a public member. The committees shall review complaints not dismissed by the executive director and may take the following actions:

1. Dismiss the complaint if a committee determines that the complaint is without merit.

2. Issue an advisory letter. The licensee may file a written response with the board within thirty days after the licensee receives the advisory letter.

3. Conduct a formal interview pursuant to subsection H of this section. This includes initiating formal proceedings pursuant to subsection J of this section and imposing civil penalties pursuant to subsection K of this section.

4. Refer the matter for further review by the full board.

Q. Pursuant to §§ 35-146 and 35-147, the board shall deposit all monies collected from civil penalties paid pursuant to this chapter in the state general fund.

R. Notice of a complaint and hearing is effective by a true copy of it being sent by certified mail to the doctor’s last known address of record in the board’s files. Notice of the complaint and hearing is complete on the date of its deposit in the mail. The board shall begin a formal hearing within one hundred twenty days of that date.

S. A physician who submits an independent medical examination pursuant to an order by a court or pursuant to § 23-1026 is not subject to a complaint for unprofessional conduct unless, in the case of a court-ordered examination, the complaint is made or referred by a court to the board, or in the case of an examination conducted pursuant to § 23-1026, the complaint alleges unprofessional conduct based on some act other than a disagreement with the findings and opinions expressed by the physician as a result of the examination. For the purposes of this subsection, “independent medical examination” means a professional analysis of medical status that is based on a person’s past and present physical, medical and psychiatric history and conducted by a licensee or group of licensees on a contract basis for a court or for a workers’ compensation carrier, self-insured employer or claims processing representative if the examination was conducted pursuant to § 23-1026.

T. The board may accept the surrender of an active license from a person who admits in writing to any of the following:

1. Being unable to safely engage in the practice of medicine.

2. Having committed an act of unprofessional conduct.

3. Having violated this chapter or a board rule.

U. In determining the appropriate disciplinary action under this section, the board shall consider all previous nondisciplinary and disciplinary actions against a licensee.

V. In determining the appropriate action under this section, the board may consider a direct or indirect competitive relationship between the complainant and the respondent as a mitigating factor.

§ 32-1855. Disciplinary action; duty to report; hearing; notice; independent medical examinations; surrender of license

A. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the board on its own motion may investigate any information that appears to show that an osteopathic physician and surgeon is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct or is or may be mentally or physically unable safely to engage in the practice of medicine. A physician who conducts an independent medical examination pursuant to an order by a court or pursuant to § 23-1026 is not subject to a complaint for unprofessional conduct unless, in the case of a court-ordered examination, the complaint is made or referred by a court to the board, or in the case of an examination conducted pursuant to § 23-1026, the complaint alleges unprofessional conduct based on some act other than a disagreement with the findings and opinions expressed by the physician as a result of the examination. Any osteopathic physician or surgeon or the Arizona osteopathic medical association or any health care institution as defined in § 36-401 shall, and any other person may, report to the board any information the physician or surgeon, association, health care institution or other person may have that appears to show that an osteopathic physician and surgeon is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct or is or may be mentally or physically unable safely to engage in the practice of medicine. The board shall notify the doctor about whom information has been received as to the content of the information as soon as reasonable after receiving the information. Any person who reports or provides information to the board in good faith is not subject to civil damages as a result of that action. If requested the board shall not disclose the informant’s name unless it is essential to the disciplinary proceedings conducted pursuant to this section. It is an act of unprofessional conduct for any osteopathic physician or surgeon to fail to report as required by this section. The board shall report any health care institution that fails to report as required by this section to that institution’s licensing agency. A person who reports information in good faith pursuant to this subsection is not subject to civil liability. For the purposes of this subsection, “independent medical examination” means a professional analysis of medical status that is based on a person’s past and present physical, medical and psychiatric history and conducted by a licensee or group of licensees on a contract basis for a court or for a workers’ compensation carrier, self-insured employer or claims processing representative if the examination was conducted pursuant to § 23-1026.

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§32-1855.03 Health care institution duty to report; immunity; patient records; confidentiality

A. A health care institution as defined in section 36-401 or a subscription provider of health care shall report to the board any information it may have that appears to show that an physician may be guilty of unprofessional conduct or may be mentally or physically unable safely to engage in the practice of medicine. A health care institution or subscription provider of health care that provides information to the board in good faith is not subject to an action for civil damages as a result and, if requested, the board shall not disclose its name unless the testimony is essential to the disciplinary proceedings pursuant to §32-1855. The board shall report a health care institution or subscription provider of health care that fails to report as required by this section to the institution’s licensing agency.

B. The chief executive officer, the medical director or the medical chief of staff of a health care institution or subscription provider of health care shall inform the board when the privileges of an physician to practice in the health care institution or subscription provider of health care are denied, revoked, suspended or limited because of actions by the physician that jeopardized patient health and welfare or when the physician resigned during pending proceedings for denial, revocation, suspension or limitation of his privileges. A report to the board pursuant to this subsection shall contain a general statement of the reasons the health care institution or subscription provider of health care took an action to deny, revoke, suspend or limit a physician’s privileges.

C. Hospital records, medical staff records, medical staff review committee records and testimony concerning these records and proceedings related to the creation of these records are confidential and are subject to the same discovery and use in legal actions only as are the original records in the possession and control of hospitals, their medical staff and their medical staff review committees. The board shall use these records and testimony only during the course of investigations and proceedings pursuant to this chapter.

D. Patient records, including clinical records, medical reports, laboratory statements and reports, any file or film, any other report or oral statement relating to diagnostic findings or treatment of patients, any information from which a patient or the patient’s family might be identified or information received and records kept by the board as a result of the investigation made pursuant to this chapter are confidential.

E. Nothing in this chapter or any other provision of law relating to privileged communications between a physician and his patient applies to investigations or proceedings conducted pursuant to this chapter. The board and its employees, agents and representatives shall keep confidential the name of a patient whose records are reviewed during the course of an investigation and proceedings.

§ 32-2934. Grounds for suspension or revocation of license; duty to report; unprofessional conduct hearing; decision of board [Homepathic Physicians]

A. The board on its own motion may investigate any evidence that appears to show that a licensee is or may be medically incompetent, guilty of unprofessional conduct or mentally or physically unable to engage safely in the practice of homeopathic medicine. Any licensee, the Arizona homeopathic and integrative medical association or any health care institution as defined in § 36-401 shall, and any other person may, report to the board any information the person may have that appears to show that a licensee is or may be medically incompetent, guilty of unprofessional conduct or mentally or physically unable to engage safely in the practice of homeopathic medicine. The board shall notify the licensee about whom information is received as to the content of the information within one hundred twenty days after receipt of the information. Any person who reports or provides information to the board in good faith is not subject to an action for civil damages as a result of reporting or providing the information. The board may not open an investigation if identifying information regarding the complainant is not provided to the board. It is an act of unprofessional conduct for any licensee to fail to report as required by this section. Any health care institution that fails to report as required by this section shall be reported by the board to the institution’s licensing agency.

B. If a complainant wishes to have the complainant’s identifying information withheld from the licensee against whom the allegation of unprofessional conduct is being made, the board shall enter into a written agreement with the complainant stating that the complainant’s identifying information will not be provided to the licensee against whom the allegation of unprofessional conduct is being made to the extent consistent with the administrative appeals process. The board shall post this policy on the board’s website where a person would submit a complaint online.

C. A health care institution shall inform the board if the privileges of a licensee to practice in the health care institution are denied, revoked, suspended or limited because of actions by the licensee that jeopardized patient health and welfare or if the licensee resigns during pending proceedings for revocation, suspension or limitation of privileges. A report to the board pursuant to this subsection shall contain a general statement of the reasons the health care institution denied or took action to revoke, suspend or limit a licensee’s privileges.

D. The board may conduct investigations necessary to fully inform itself with respect to any evidence filed with the board under subsection A of this section. As part of this investigation, the board may require the licensee under investigation to be interviewed by board representatives or, at the licensee’s expense, to undergo any combination of mental, physical, oral or written medical competency examinations.

E. If the information gathered under subsections A and C of this section indicates that the protection of public health requires that the board take emergency action, it may order the summary suspension of a license pending the outcome of a formal disciplinary hearing pursuant to title 41, chapter 6, article 10.1 The board shall serve the suspended licensee with a written notice of the specific charges and the time and place of the formal hearing. The board shall hold this hearing within sixty days after the suspension unless the board for good reason shown by the licensee grants an extension on the hearing date.

F. If, after completing its investigation, the board finds that the information provided pursuant to subsection A of this section is not of sufficient seriousness to merit direct action against the license, it may take any of the following actions:

1. Dismiss if, in the opinion of the board, the information is without merit.

2. File a letter of concern.

3. Issue a nondisciplinary order requiring the licensee to complete a prescribed number of hours of continuing education in an area or areas prescribed by the board to provide the licensee with the necessary understanding of current developments, skills, procedures or treatment.

G. If after completing its initial investigation under subsection A of this section the board determines that rehabilitative or disciplinary action can be taken without the presence of the licensee at an informal interview, the board and the licensee may enter into a stipulated agreement to limit or restrict the licensee’s practice or to rehabilitate the licensee, protect the public and ensure the licensee’s ability to safely engage in the practice of homeopathic medicine.

H. If after completing its investigation the board believes that this information is or may be true, the board may request an informal interview with the licensee. If the licensee refuses the invitation or accepts the invitation and the results of the interview indicate that suspension or revocation of the license may be in order, the board shall issue a formal complaint and conduct a formal hearing pursuant to title 41, chapter 6, article 10. If after completing the informal interview the board finds that the information provided under subsection A of this section is not of sufficient seriousness to merit suspension or revocation of the license, it may take the following actions:

1. Dismiss if, in the opinion of the board, the information is without merit.

2. File a letter of concern.

3. Issue a decree of censure. A decree of censure constitutes an official action against the license and may include a requirement for restitution of fees to a patient resulting from violations of this chapter or board rules.

4. Fix a period and terms of probation best adapted to protect the public health and safety and rehabilitate or educate the licensee. The probation, if deemed necessary, may include temporary suspension of the license for not to exceed twelve months, restriction of the license to practice homeopathic medicine or a requirement for restitution of fees to a patient resulting from violations of this chapter or board rules. If a licensee fails to comply with the terms of probation, the board may file a summons, complaint and notice of hearing pursuant to title 41, chapter 6, article 10 based on the information considered by the board at the informal interview and any other acts or conduct alleged to be in violation of this chapter or board rules.

5. Enter into an agreement with the licensee to restrict or limit the licensee’s practice or medical activities in order to rehabilitate the licensee, protect the public and ensure the licensee’s ability to safely engage in the practice of homeopathic medicine.

6. Issue a nondisciplinary order requiring the licensee to complete a prescribed number of hours of continuing education in an area or areas prescribed by the board to provide the licensee with the necessary understanding of current developments, skills, procedures or treatment.

I. In an informal interview or a formal hearing the board, in addition to any other action that it may take, may impose an administrative penalty in an amount of not less than five hundred dollars but not to exceed two thousand dollars on a licensee who violates this chapter or a board rule. Actions to enforce the collection of these penalties shall be brought in the name of this state by the attorney general or the county attorney in the justice court or the superior court in the county in which the violation occurred. Penalties imposed under this section are in addition to and not in limitation of other penalties imposed pursuant to this chapter.

J. If in the opinion of the board it appears that the allegations concerning a licensee are of a magnitude as to warrant suspension or revocation of the license, the board shall serve on the licensee a summons and a complaint fully setting forth the conduct or inability concerned and setting a date, time and place for a hearing pursuant to title 41, chapter 6, article 10 to be held before the board in not less than sixty days from the date of the notice.

K. A licensee who wishes to be present at the hearing in person or by representation, or both, shall file a verified answer with the board within twenty days after receiving service of the summons and complaint. The licensee may present witnesses at this hearing. A licensee who has been notified of a complaint pursuant to this section shall file with the board a written response not more than twenty days after service of the complaint and the notice of hearing. If the licensee fails to file an answer in writing, it is deemed an admission of the act or acts charged in the complaint and notice of hearing and the board may take disciplinary action pursuant to this chapter without a hearing.

L. The board shall issue subpoenas for witnesses as it may need and for witnesses as the licensee may request. Any person refusing to obey a subpoena shall be certified by the board to the superior court in the county in which service was made, and the court may institute proceedings for contempt of court.

M. Service of the summons and complaint shall be as required in civil cases.

N. Service of subpoenas for witnesses shall be as provided by law for the service of subpoenas generally.

O. A licensee who after a hearing is found to be guilty of unprofessional conduct or is found to be mentally or physically unable to engage safely in the practice of homeopathic medicine is subject to any combination of censure, probation or suspension of license or revocation of the license for a prescribed period of time or permanently and under conditions that the board deems appropriate for the protection of the public health and safety and just in the circumstances.

P. If the board acts to modify any licensee’s prescription writing privileges, it shall immediately notify the Arizona state board of pharmacy of the modification.

Q. Notwithstanding § 32-2906, subsection A, the board shall deposit, pursuant to §§ 35-146 and 35-147, all monies collected from administrative penalties paid pursuant to this section in the state general fund.

R. A letter of concern is a nondisciplinary public document that the board may use in future disciplinary actions.

 

 This substantive policy statement is advisory only. A substantive policy statement does not include internal procedural documents that only affect the internal procedures of the agency and does not impose additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties or include confidential information or rules made in accordance with the Arizona administrative procedure act. If you believe that this substantive policy statement does impose additional requirements or penalties on regulated parties you may petition the agency under Arizona Revised Statutes section 41-1033 for a review of the statement.

ARIZONA MEDICAL BOARD

SUBSTANTIVE POLICY STATEMENT #13

DUTIES OF HOSPITALS AND PHYSICIANS TO REPORT

PEER REVIEW/QUALITY ASSURANCE INFORMATION

The Arizona Medical Board issues this Substantive Policy Statement to notify the public of the Board’s interpretation of A.R.S. § 32-1451, its interrelationship with A.R.S. § 36-445 (Peer Review) et seq., A.R.S. § 36-2401 (Quality Review) et seq. and A.R.S. § 36-2917 and to clarify the reporting requirements to the Arizona Medical Board for physicians and institutions as defined by these statutes.

Statutory Overview:

According to A.R.S. § 32-1451(A):

A doctor of medicine, the Arizona Medical Association, a component county society of that association and any health care institution shall report to the Board “any information that appears to show that a doctor of medicine is or may be medically1 incompetent, is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct2 or is or may be mentally or physically unable safely to engage in the practice of medicine (collectively ‘Reportable Information’).”

According to A.R.S. § 32-1451(B):

The chief executive officer (“CEO”), the medical director and the chief of staff of a health care institution shall report to the Board “if the privileges of a doctor to practice in that health care institution are denied, revoked, suspended or limited because of actions by the doctor that appear to show that a doctor of medicine is or may be medically incompetent, is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct2 or is or may be mentally or physically unable safely to engage in the practice of medicine, along with a general statement of the reasons, including patient chart numbers, that led the health care institution to take action.”

Duty to Report:

The Board recognizes the importance of interpreting A.R.S. § 32-1451, A.R.S. § 36-445 et seq., A.R.S. § 36-2401 et seq. and A.R.S. § 36-2917 consistently to give effect to all of these statutory provisions. The Board further recognizes the importance of Peer Review and Quality Review processes in health care institutions and that prematurely reporting to the Board may have an unintended effect on the Peer Review and Quality Review processes required by law.

The Board interprets A.R.S. § 32-1451(B) to provide that the following constitute Reportable Information that doctors of medicine, hospitals, and outpatient surgical centers are required to promptly report to the Arizona Medical Board:

  • After the CEO, medical director, chief of staff or other medical staff officer has requested that a member of the medical staff refrain from exercising his/her medical staff privileges in lieu of being suspended or having his/her privileges otherwise restricted during an investigation of possible medical incompetence, unprofessional conduct under A.R.S. §32-1401(27), or mental or physical inability to safely engage in the practice of medicine.
  • After a medical staff committee determines that information received by such committee about a doctor of medicine, who is not a member of the medical staff, suggests medical incompetence, unprofessional conduct under A.R.S. 32-1401(27), or that the physician is unable to safely engage in the practice of medicine.
  • Whenever a hospital, outpatient surgical center or medical staff committee has, following a brief assessment, information that appears to be credible and shows that a doctor of medicine is or may be unable safely to practice medicine because of substance abuse or other physical or mental impairment.

The Board interprets A.R.S. § 32-1451(A) to require other health care entities and individual allopathic physicians to report Reportable Information promptly:

  • A doctor of medicine, the Arizona Medical Association, a component county society of that association and any health care institution shall report to the Board, any information that appears to be credible and shows that a doctor of medicine is or may be medically incompetent, is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct or is or may be mentally or physically unable safely to engage in the practice of medicine.
  • After the chair of the Quality Review Committee, the CEO, medical director, chief of staff or any other medical staff officer has requested that a doctor of medicine refrain from practice pending an investigation for medical incompetence, unprofessional conduct under A.R.S. 32-1401(27), or mental or physical inability to safely engage in the practice of medicine.
  • After the health care entity terminates or otherwise limits the ability of a doctor of medicine to practice in or for the health care entity for medical incompetence, unprofessional conduct under A.R.S. 32-1401(27), or mental or physical inability to safely engage in the practice of medicine.
  • Whenever a health care entity, medical director or any other officer of such health care entity has, following a brief assessment, information that appears to be credible and shows that a doctor of medicine is or may be unable safely to practice medicine because of substance abuse or other physical or mental impairment.

The Board does not interpret A.R.S. § 32-1451 to require a health care institution or doctor of medicine to report information obtained about a doctor of medicine during and for the purposes of the Peer Review or Quality Review processes, unless action is taken as outlined above. The Board understands that to require such reporting would greatly impair the smooth functioning of the Peer Review and Quality Assurance processes and, thus, such a requirement would be inconsistent with A.R.S. § 36-445 et seq., A.R.S. § 36-2401 et seq. and A.R.S. § 36-2917.

The Board interprets A.R.S. 32-1451(B) to require, at the least, that a health care institution’s Medical Director or designee report to the Arizona Medical Board promptly after a medical staff committee recommends to the governing board of the institution that a doctor of medicine have his or her membership or privileges revoked, suspended or limited even if the doctor of medicine has the right to request a fair hearing to challenge the recommendation.

Nothing in this Substantive Policy statement precludes a person or entity from submitting information to the Board before a peer review process begins, or earlier in a peer review process than circumstances described herein occur. A.R.S. §32-1451(A) states “[a]ny person or entity that reports or provides information to the board in good faith is not subject to an action for civil damages. If requested, the board shall not disclose the name of a person who supplies information regarding a licensee’s drug or alcohol impairment.”

The Board does not interpret A.R.S. §32-1451 to require duplicative reports to be filed describing the same information by different persons or entities. If one person or entity with a duty to report information to the Board makes a report describing such information, the Board will not require a second person or entity with a duty to report to file a duplicative report describing the same information. However, the health care institution’s Medical Director is responsible for ensuring a report has been made under A.R.S. §32-1451(B).

Summary:

This Substantive Policy Statement is issued by the Arizona Medical Board to clarify the duty of doctors of medicine as well as any health care institution to promptly report to the Board as required by statute any information that appears to show that a doctor of medicine is or may be medically incompetent, is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct1 is or may be unable to safely engage in the practice of medicine because of substance abuse or other physical or mental impairment.

1See A.R.S. § 32-1401(18)

2See A.R.S. § 32-1401(27)

1See A.R.S. 32-1401(27)