Arizona Health Care Professional DUI

A celebration at a bar with friends may sound like a great night out but it can quickly spiral into an extremely stressful and exhausting experience if you get slapped with a drunk driving arrest because you made a poor decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence. Driving while under the influence can lead to some serious repercussions such as fines, license suspensions and even jail time. For medical professionals, however, the repercussions could cost you your career.

Many health care professionals believe that a DUI will not affect their medical license because it relates to conduct outside of their professional practice, but the reality is that their licensing Board does care about what happens when you are a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional ‘off-duty.’

All health care professionals are required to report any drunk driving charge to their Board within ten (10) business days after the date of the charge. By being proactive, you can mitigate the collateral damage caused by a misdemeanor DUI conviction. The notification must be a written report and it must paint the incident and the medical professional’s background in the best possible light. Once the Board has received this written report, they are required to open an investigation which will include an in-person interview with a trained investigator for the Board’s investigation department.

Holding a health care license exposes you to an increased risk of negative collateral consequences in comparison to the other drivers on the road, however if you are a licensed medical professional and charged with a DUI, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to minimize any potential disciplinary action from the Board. Disciplinary sanctions may be imposed against you if you are convicted the penalties may fine, community service, probation or even a suspension or loss of your medical license.

If you are a medical professional charged with a DUI, it is essential that you hire an experienced attorney who can help you understand your case, your rights, and help you protect your future and your medical career.

Terminated for Accessing Confidential Electronic Health Records

Image by Pablo Ruiz Muzquiz

Three employees at the University Medical Center in Tucson were terminated for accessing the electronic health records (“EHR”) of a number of victims of last weekend’s shooting.  Nearly all hospitals employ electronic surveillance software that tracks which employees are accessing specific patient information.  This software is designed to make certain that only those giving direct care to the patient have access to the record.

All hospitals employ privacy policies that prohibit this behavior, however, it is inevitable that high profile patients will have their EHR viewed by hospital employees that are not directly giving them care.  Not only are these employees in violation of hospital policy, but they are also likely violating federal privacy laws that establish regulations for the use and disclosure of protected health information.

It is important that all health professionals in Arizona understand that viewing prohibited EHR will likely lead to termination and possibly discipline from their licensing board.  So, be careful and make certain you are only accessing records that you are authorized to view.

If you have a question about being terminated from a health care organization contact Arizona Attorney Robert Chelle.

Advertisement Restrictions for Arizona Health Professionals

Under Arizona law an advertisement for health care services by a health care professional that includes their name must identify the title and type of license they hold.  Arizona recognizes the following as health professionals (this list does not include all health professionals):

  • Acupuncturists
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Behavioral Health Professionals
  • Chiropractors
  • Dentists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Optometrists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Radiologic Technologists
  • Veterinarians

An advertisement under this particular section of Arizona law includes (A.R.S. 32-3213):

“billboards, brochures, pamphlets, radio and television scripts, electronic media, printed telephone directories, telephone and direct mail solicitations and any other means of promotion intended to directly or indirectly induce any person to enter into an agreement for services with the health professional.”

Any health professional that violates this advertisement restriction will have committed an act of unprofessional conduct and will be subject to discipline from their respective governing board.  So, be careful when advertising and make certain that you identify the title and type of license or certification that you hold.

If you have a question about whether a health professional advertisement violates Arizona law contact Attorney Robert Chelle.