I’m a doctor and I was just accused of a crime that I don’t think is related to patient care or safety… What do I do?

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If you’re a licensed Medical Doctor in the State of Arizona, the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners requires you, under certain circumstances, to report the accusation of any crimes that the Medical Board has determined to affect patient safety.  You should note that if you’re a Doctor of Osteopathy, you are governed by a different professional licensing board, and the reporting requirements still apply, but the way that the reporting is handled is slightly different.


A.R.S. § 32-3208 specifically states that a health professional who has been charged with a misdemeanor involving conduct that may affect patient safety or a felony after receiving or renewing a license or certificate must notify the health professional’s regulatory board in writing within ten (10) working days after the charge is filed.  Additionally, A.R.S. § 32-1401 requires the reporting of any felony or misdemeanor involving “moral turpitude” because the Medical Board has determined that an act of moral turpitude is a de facto act of “unprofessional conduct.”


It is important to note that the mandatory reporting is triggered not by a conviction, but simply the charge or accusation.  Put another way, if you are charged with a crime that the Medical Board has determined to affect patient safety or has deemed to be a crime of moral turpitude, you MUST report the accusation, or charged crime, within ten (10) days of the accusation.


To add to the confusion, there are many offenses (reportable misdemeanors) that don’t, on their face, appear to be related to patient care or involve moral turpitude that the Medical Board still requires you to report.  (Visit: https://azmd.gov/regulation/regulation for more information.)  For instance, both misdemeanor assault, as well as misdemeanor driving under the influence, are required to be reported to the Medical Board within ten (10) days of the charges being filed.


If you’re confused, you’re not alone.


If you are an M.D., D.O., or any other licensed medical or healthcare professional that’s been accused of a crime (or an event deemed to affect patient safety), it is imperative that you contact a lawyer who is experienced in dealing with the professional licensing boards in the State of Arizona.  The attorneys at Gallagher & Kennedy have a wealth of experience in assisting medical and healthcare professionals with Board reporting as well as guiding you through any subsequent Board investigation. Consult with a criminal law attorney at Gallagher & Kennedy (602) 510-9999.

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