The executive director of Arizona’s dental board will retire following an ABC15 investigation that exposed how the board mismanaged repeated warnings about a dentist who falsified his anesthesia credentials.
Elaine Hugunin’s retirement is effective Tuesday, according to sources.
Pressure had been building on Hugunin for more than a week after ABC15 revealed how she had personally received multiple warnings about Dr. Pankaj Goyal’s anesthesia credentials going back years.
The situation escalated further on Thursday when Goyal was arrested by authorities and charged with two felonies.
Hugunin was not at a special board meeting on Monday evening to deal with Goyal’s anesthesia permit and license.
In her absence, the board decided to re-open the investigation into Goyal's anesthesia permit. Board members also accepted an offer made by Goyal's attorney for the dentist to temporarily forego the use of his 1301 General Anesthesia Permit.
On July 6, ABC15 revealed that Goyal used a series of fake degrees, forged signatures, and false documents to obtain a 1301 General Anesthesia Permit from the dental board, according to multiple people and organizations.
The 1301 permit is the state’s highest level of anesthesia certification and authorizes Goyal to administer general anesthesia or deep sedation by any means.
Hugunin had been the dental board’s executive director since 2009.
She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Goyal's attorney had no comment when asked questions at Monday's board meeting.
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at email@example.com.