Health Professionals

Arizona Board of Physician Assistants Complaint – Findings

The Arizona Regulatory Board of Physician Assistants (“Board”) administers all investigations and complaints regarding licensed physician assistants (“PA”) in Arizona. The Board imposes disciplinary action if they determine that a violation has occurred. The Board has issued a document titled Adjudication Process that illustrates the complaint process. An investigation by the Board is initiated when; 1) a complaint is filed, 2) the professional self-reports, and 3) when an organization is required by law to report a possible violation to the Board. The Board’s investigation/adjudication process can be broken down into four stages:

1. Findings
2. Recommendation
3. Processing
4. Adjudication

This post will examine the first stage of the complaint process; Findings. A general time-line for the findings stage is as follows:

1. A complaint is filed.
2. The Board determines if they have jurisdiction.
3. If so, a Lead Investigator is assigned.
4. The Lead investigator contacts the complainant, the PA and the supervising physician.
5. A response is requested from the PA (generally 30 days to respond).
6. Quality of care cases are given medical review by a medical consultant.
7. If the medical consultant cannot substantiate the claims the Chief Medical Consultant forwards the case to the Executive Director for dismissal.
8. When the medical consultant finds the PA did not meet the standard of care, the PA receives the report and is given another opportunity to respond to the specific findings of the medical consultant.
9. Non-quality of care cases follow the same procedures, however, no medical review is given.

Prior to responding to the complaint it is imperative that the PA seek legal counsel. Submitting a well-reasoned, persuasive response can sometimes be the difference between having the complaint dismissed versus being found to have committed an act of unprofessional conduct. The next stage in the Arizona Regulatory Board of Physician Assistants complaint process is Recommendation.

If you have a question about an Arizona Regulatory Board of Physician Assistants complaint contact Attorney Robert Chelle.