GERVASE LAW FIRM, PLLC - Accessible and Professional Legal Services
ARIZONANURSELAWYERS.COM INFORMATION

 The laws, rules and guidelines change frequently.  Call or email Lisa Gervase to ensure that the laws and rules linked on this site are current.

 Arizona Nursing Laws - Click here

 Arizona Nursing Rules - Click here
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ARIZONA NURSES - READ THIS BEFORE YOU PROCEED WITH A COMPLAINT FROM THE ARIZONA STATE BOARD OF NURSING:
 
1.  If a complaint is filed against you, you'll receive a letter, with a "Questionnaire" to complete and return to the assigned Investigator (sometimes called "Nurse Practice Consultant).  Do NOT say or write anything without competent legal advice.
 
2.  Obtain a copy of the complaint filed against you, so you have some idea of what's going on.
 
3.  After conferring with a competent attorney, carefully write a complete, accurate, thorough response (the "Questionnaire").
 
4.  Anything and everything that you put down on the Questionnaire can and will be used against you.  Every employer or school may receive a subpoena from the assigned investigator.  Every person, regardless of their first-hand knowledge of the allegations in the complaint, may be interviewed by the investigator.
 
5.  Your attorney should gather all documents, witness statements, and any other evidence to prove the accurate facts.  Unfortunately, this information may be lost over time, so it's important to gather it soon.
 
6.  The assigned investigator may not gather accurate, complete and objective facts that help you. Potential witnesses may tell the investigator what they think the investigator wants to hear because "they are the investigator for the Nursing Board" that also regulates the witness.  
 
7.  Once you, alone or with the help of a competent lawyer, provide the written response (Questionnaire), you wait for the investigator to complete the investigation.  Could take months.  Then, you'll be contacted to be interviewed.
 
8.  You and/or your attorney should review the investigative file before any investigative interview.  Also, obtain the investigator's report ("Investigative Report" or "I.R") at least 10 days before the board meeting at which the board is first considering your case.
 
9.  Consult a competent attorney about your rights and duties about the Investigative Interview.  Whether you submit to an Investigative Interview or not, your case will be presented to the Board at one of its regular public meetings.  The Board can:
a.  Dismiss the complaint,
b.  Issue a non-disciplinary Letter of Concern,
c.  Send the case to hearing,
d.  Offer (NOT force) you a Consent Agreement for some type of discipline.  In this situation, after the Board meeting, you'll receive a draft agreement in the mail to review.  Have your attorney help you with this to make sure the facts are accurate and complete, the cited laws and rules are accurate, and the offered disciplinary action is reasonable and workable.
e.  Issue an Interim Order for some type of exam or evaluation.  
 
10.  If accurate, complete, objective facts show that you violated the Nursing laws or rules, you may be facing disciplinary action.  If it's a first-time minor incident, the complaint may be dismissed.  Or, the Board may issue a non-disciplinary "Letter of Concern".  Yeah!  Case over.  Or, you may be facing discipline, such as:
a.  Fine, Decree of Censure (Reprimand), Probation of some sort, Suspension, Revocation. 
b.  If you agree with the factual findings and with the sections of the law and/or rules the Board says you violated, consider negotiating a settlement, called a "Consent Agreement".  You would be well-advised to have a competent attorney advise you about this.
c.  Beware:  a "Voluntary Surrender" is serious discipline.  It sounds nice, but it has the same effect as a Revocation.
 
11.  If you don't agree with the alleged facts and violations, you have the right to a formal hearing before an independent law judge (Administrative Law Judge -"ALJ"- at the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings).  You would be well-advised to have a competent attorney represent you at this point, if you didn't hire someone at the beginning.
 
12. Once your case has been sent to the Board's hearing department, you may receive a letter asking you to accept a Consent Agreement.  If you previously were offered a Consent Agreement, it'll be the same one again.  The latter may say that if the hearing is scheduled, and then the case settles, requiring the hearing to be 'vacated', that you may be charged  for the cost of setting the hearing.  Talk with your lawyer about whether the Board has authority to charge you his.  

13.  It may take months or a year or more for you to receive a "Complaint and Notice of Hearing".  But, don't delay.  Start preparing your defense, including getting a copy of the I.R., which you'll finally have access to (because your case was sent to hearing).  And, get a copy of the case file.  Gather evidence/witnesses on your behalf.  You'll have a full and fair opportunity to defend yourself and challenge the Board's evidence at a hearing.
 
14.  You're case may settle favorably before hearing.  If not, about 30 days after the hearing, the ALJ send his/her report with Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and a Recommendation, to the Board.  The Board can accept, reject, or modify each of the sections of the ALJ's report, with some caveats.  Usually, Boards accept the ALJ's report and recommendation.
 
15.  NONE of this can substitute for legal advice from a knowledgeable and competent attorney.  Good luck!
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LAWYERS:
 
Representing nurse practitioners, nurses, certified nursing assistants, and applicants before the Nursing Board is in the area of law called "licensing, regulatory, administrative law".  Hire someone what has experience and competence in this area, and with this Board.
 
Lisa Gervase
480-515-4801
 
D. Jay Ryan 
623-937-3737
 
--------------------------------------------------------------IMPACTS OF A NURSING BOARD INVESTIGATION AND DISCIPLINARY ACTION TO CONSIDER AND DISCUSS WITH YOUR LAWYER:
 
1. The Board investigator (or "Nurse Practice Consultant") may subpoena your personal medical and pharmacy records.  There are practical steps your lawyer can take to help with this.
 
2.   Disciplinary action being reported to the National Practitioner Data Base.  All discipline is public and is reported.  Other state licensing agencies and prospective employers access this information and the "on-line verification" on the Board's web site.
 
3.   Disciplinary action being reported to the US Dept of HHS OIG for possible placement on the exclusionary list.  There is language your lawyer can negotiate in your Board order to lessen the chance of you being placed on the exclusionary list.  Your lawyer also can help with the "mitigation" letter to the OIG, the appeal process, and the list removal process.
 
4.   Disciplinary action may cause insurance companies to terminate a nurse's liability insurance, or a nurse practitioner's contract with insurers.  Discipline also may cause facilities to terminate a nurse practitioner's privileges.  Hire an attorney to properly appeal these possible/actual terminations.

5.     The "domino effect" of disciplinary action on other licenses, license applications, employment.  Your lawyer can advise you about these likely impacts and how best to handle them.  

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"RAT RULE" - Nurse charged with crime?

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor involving conduct that may affect patient safety, or a felony, you must notify the board in writing within ten working days after the charge is filed.  The board will conduct an investigation, and your application could be denied or license could be disciplined. 

For help with reporting, or for a list of reportable misdemeanors, call our office - Lisa Gervase (480) 515-4801.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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