Arizona lawmaker wants to get rid of hidden regulatory board discipline after ABC15 investigation

A state senator has introduced a bill that would require Arizona health boards to post all actions on public websites, reversing a years-long practice of hiding a significant portion of that information.

In the past, state law prohibited boards from posting non-disciplinary actions on their websites.

But lawmakers repealed that law for the dental board last year after an ABC15 investigation exposed 70 percent of board actions were essentially hidden from the public. Some of the actions included significant issues.

ABC15 INVESTIGATES ARIZONA’S DENTAL DANGERS

Health Committee Chair Sen. Nancy Barto introduced SB1443, making good on a promise to ABC15 to expand the 2015 law to more boards.

In addition to requiring health boards to publicly post all actions taken against health professionals, the bill would also require boards to post an audio or video recording of every meeting.

ABC15 has spent months investigating Arizona’s Dental Board. The station’s review of board discipline revealed some troubling details.

From 2010 through 2014, dental board records show there were 282 non-disciplinary actions compared to just 120 disciplinary.

Among the 282 non-disciplinary files, ABC15 discovered:
• Dentists accused or indicted of fraud
• Dentists who extracted the wrong teeth
• Dentists with issues involving prescriptions, drugs and alcohol
• Dentists with multiple malpractice reports

ABC15 also obtained an letter written by the dental board to dental professionals that said it’s “good news” that the vast majority of board actions are hidden from the public and are eventually destroyed.

The investigation also found the Dental Board has allowed dentists to continue practicing despite patient deaths, extreme disciplinary records, criminal histories, drug problems and sex offenses.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at dbiscobing@abc15.com.

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