The Arizona Revised Statutes have been updated to include the revised sections from the 55th Legislature, 2nd Regular Session. Please note that the next update of this compilation will not take place until after the conclusion of the 56th Legislature, 1st Regular Session, which convenes in January 2023.
This online version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is primarily maintained for legislative drafting purposes and reflects the version of law that is effective on January 1st of the year following the most recent legislative session. The official version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is published by Thomson Reuters.
32-852.01. Investigations; duty to report; unprofessional conduct hearing; decision of board; appeal
A. The board on its own motion may investigate any evidence that appears to show that a podiatrist is or may be guilty of a violation of section 32-852. Any podiatrist or the Arizona podiatry association shall, or any other person may, report to the board any information the podiatrist, association or person may have that appears to show that a podiatrist is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct or is or may be guilty of practice without regard for the safety and welfare of the public. A podiatrist conducting a medical examination pursuant to section 23-1026 is not subject to a complaint of unprofessional conduct based on a disagreement with the findings and opinions expressed by the podiatrist as a result of the examination. Any podiatrist, association, health care institution or other person that reports or provides information to the board in good faith is not subject to civil liability and the name of the reporter shall not be disclosed unless the information is essential to the investigative proceedings conducted pursuant to this section. It is an act of unprofessional conduct for any podiatrist to fail to report as required by this subsection. 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 podiatrist to practice in that health care institution are denied, revoked, suspended or limited because of actions by the podiatrist that appear to show that the podiatrist 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 podiatry, 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 podiatrist under investigation resigns or if a podiatrist 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 section 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.
B. Based on information received pursuant to subsection A of this section, the board may order a summary suspension of a license pending formal proceedings for license revocation or other disciplinary action if the board finds that the protection of the public health or safety requires emergency action. The board shall 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.
C. If the board finds after completing its investigation that the information provided pursuant to subsection A of this section is not of sufficient seriousness to merit direct action against the license of the podiatrist, 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.
D. If the board finds after completing its investigation that the information is or may be true, the board may request an informal hearing with the licensee. If the licensee refuses the invitation or accepts the invitation and the results of the hearing indicate suspension or revocation of the license might be in order, the board shall issue a complaint and conduct a formal hearing pursuant to title 41, chapter 6, article 10. If the board finds at the informal hearing that the information provided under subsection A of this section is true but is not of sufficient seriousness to merit suspension or revocation of the license, it may take one or more of the following actions:
1. File a letter of concern.
2. Issue a decree of censure.
3. Fix a period and terms of probation best adapted to protect the public health and safety and rehabilitate the licensee. If a licensee fails to comply with the terms of probation the board may file a complaint and hold a formal hearing pursuant to this section.
4. Impose a civil penalty of not more than two thousand dollars for each violation. The board shall deposit, pursuant to sections 35-146 and 35-147, all monies collected pursuant to this paragraph in the state general fund.
5. 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.
E. If the board believes that the charge is or may be true, the board shall serve on the licensee a summons and complaint that fully states the conduct or inability concerned and the time and place of the hearing. The board shall schedule the hearing not less than thirty days after the date of the summons and complaint.
F. The board may require that the licensee under investigation undergo any mental and physical examination and may conduct any investigation, including the taking of depositions, necessary to fully inform itself with respect to the complaint.
G. If the licensee wishes to be present at the hearing in person or by representation, or both, the licensee shall file with the board a written and verified answer to the charges within twenty days after service of the summons and complaint. A licensee who complies with this subsection may be present at the hearing with any witnesses of the licensee's choice.
H. The board may issue subpoenas for any witnesses, documents and other evidence it may need and for any witnesses, documents and other evidence the licensee may request. The superior court may hold a person who refuses to obey a subpoena in contempt of court.
I. Service of the summons and complaint shall be as provided for service of the summons and complaint in civil cases.
J. Service of subpoenas for witnesses shall be as provided by law for the service of subpoenas generally.
K. The board may administer the oath to all witnesses, shall keep a written transcript of all oral testimony submitted at the hearing and shall keep the original or a copy of all other evidence submitted. The board shall make copies of the transcript available to the licensee at that person's expense and without charge to the court in which the appeal may be taken. At all hearings the board may waive the technical rules of evidence.
L. A licensee who, after a hearing held pursuant to this section, is found to be guilty of a violation of section 32-852 or this section is subject to censure, probation as provided in this section, suspension of a license or revocation of a license, or any combination of these, for a period of time or permanently and under any conditions the board deems appropriate for the protection of the public health and safety and just in the circumstances. The board may file a letter of concern if it finds that the violation is not of sufficient seriousness to merit censure, probation or suspension or revocation of a license. The board may also 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.
M. Patient records, including clinical records, medical reports, laboratory statements and reports, any file, film, 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 procedure outlined in this chapter are not available to the public.
N. Except as provided in section 41-1092.08, subsection H, final decisions of the board are subject to judicial review pursuant to title 12, chapter 7, article 6.
O. This section and any other law relating to a privileged communication do not apply to investigations or proceedings conducted pursuant to this chapter. The board and its employees, agents and representatives shall keep in confidence the names of any patients whose records are reviewed during the course of investigations and proceedings pursuant to this chapter.
P. If the board acts to modify any podiatrist's prescription writing privileges, it shall immediately notify the state board of pharmacy of the modification.
Q. A letter of concern is a public document and may be used in future disciplinary actions against a podiatrist.