Arizona Department of Health Services

Health and Wellness for All Arizonans
Division of Licensing Services

Special Licensing Complaints FAQs

WHAT KIND OF COMPLAINTS CAN BE FILED?
Complaints should focus on licensure and fitness of the licensee to practice.  Anyone with knowledge or concerns about an audiologist, hearing aid dispenser, speech-language pathologist, midwife or about any person who is providing speech and hearing products or services in Arizona, may file a complaint.
CAN I FILE MY COMPLAINT ANONYMOUSLY?
You may file a complaint anonymously; however, if you do so, it is vital to provide as much specific information as possible in the complaint.  Providing us with your name and information will allow our investigative staff to contact you for additional information which may be necessary to resolve your complaint.  Note: All written complaints are public records and are open to the public for inspection per A.R.S. § 39-121.01.  Any confidential information (i.e., names or other identifiable information of a patient) given in the complaint will be redacted (blacked out) before being made available to the public.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY WRITTEN COMPLAINT IS RECEIVED?
The complaint will be reviewed to verify that the statements indicate a potential violation of the Arizona Revised Statute and/or Arizona Administrative Code.  If our review of your complaint indicates a potential violation, you will be notified by letter acknowledging that your complaint has been received and a case has been opened.  Should your complaint not indicate a potential violation of law or rules, we will notify you that the complaint is not within our jurisdiction and may refer you to more appropriate agencies for assistance.
WHAT'S NEXT IF MY COMPLAINT BECOMES AN OPEN CASE?
When a case is opened, complaints are prioritized and assigned for investigation.  The purpose of the investigation is to determine if each allegation is substantiated; unsubstantiated, or unable to be substantiated.  Information and/or documentation will be collected that is relevant to the complaint.   We send a certified letter detailing the allegations of the complaint to the licensee. The name of the complainant is not shared with the facility so confidentiality is protected.  The respondent has 15 days to provide a detailed written response to the allegations.  Once that response has been received, it will be reviewed.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHILE MY COMPLAINT IS BEING INVESTIGATED?
The disposition of the matter may take several months.  Please understand that the Department can only take formal action if it finds sufficient basis in its investigation that the licensee violated State laws or regulations.  If the Department determines that formal action is required, the matter is referred to the office of the Attorney General.  In that case, formal charges may be filed against the licensee and the licensee will be given an opportunity to defend himself or herself.  This process can take a considerable period of time.  We will notify you of the status of your complaint at the appropriate milestones, until final action is taken.
WHAT KINDS OF ACTION MAY BE TAKEN?
After the investigation is complete, a report of the findings will be forwarded to the program for appropriate action.  If the Office of Special Licensing is able to prove a violation of regulations, a statement of deficiencies is written indicating the specific violated state or federal laws.  The licensee will have to respond with a Plan of Correction to assure that problems are corrected.  If problems are not corrected, the licensee is subject to certain sanctions.  Disciplinary action, when warranted, ranges from letters of concern to probationary or practice limitations to revocation of license.  In general, the Department has very limited jurisdiction over fees charged by professionals.  In cases of fee disputes, the Department may refer the complaint to the Attorney General’s Complaint Unit.  If you are seeking monetary or other types of restitution, you should consider consulting an attorney or filing a case in Small Claims court.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CASE CONCLUDES?
When final determinations are made and the case is closed, the public files on the cited persons or agencies will not contain the name of complainants.  The definitions for each determination are as follows:   Substantiated – means there was enough evidence at the time of the investigation to show that a violation of the rules occurred.  Unable to Substantiate – means that although a violation of the rules may have occurred, there was not enough evidence at the time of the investigation to prove whether or not the violation did occur.  Unsubstantiated – means there was not enough evidence at the time of the investigation to show that the violation did occur.

You may contact the office at any time regarding the status of your complaint.  Until a final determination has been made and the case is closed, the Department is not permitted to disclose information regarding the matter. You will be notified of the findings in writing when a final determination has been made, unless you have submitted the complaint anonymously.

If you require some assistance in filling out a complaint form, please contact the Office of Special Licensing at (602) 364-2079 and ask to speak with a licensing surveyor or a team lead.