PHOENIX - In a letter sent today, Governor Doug Ducey called on the Board of Dental Examiners (Board) to adopt a new, innovative partnership with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to increase accountability, protect public safety and ensure prompt and thorough investigations of all complaints. State law allows for the board to “contract with other state or federal agencies as required to carry out the purposes of this chapter.” Under the new organizational structure the Board would contract with ADHS for executive director services. While the Board will continue to operate independently, it will receive the benefits of ADHS’s health expertise and experience in occupational licensing.
“It’s clear to me the Board of Dental Examiners would benefit from experienced leadership in matters of public health,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “With the executive director position currently vacant, the Board has an opportunity restore the public’s confidence in the Board’s abilities, to strengthen public safety, and better serve Arizonans by leveraging state government resources.”
This directive follows media reports that the Board did not take action following multiple warnings about a dentist’s credentials dating back to 2014. On July 9, 2018, the Governor demanded records and answers for the Board’s inaction. On July 12, 2018, the dentist was arrested and charged with three felonies, including fraud and forgery. The Board held an emergency meeting on July 16, 2018, and voted to re-investigate the dentist’s credentials and freeze his anesthesia permit, and the executive director of the Board submitted a retirement notice. Following reports that the dentist continues to advertise for anesthesia services, and continues to practice dentistry, on August 1, 2018, the Governor called on the Board’s to take any and all action up to and including revoking the dentist’s license to protect the public.
The Board operates independently and consists of 11 members, including six dentists, two dental hygienists and three public members. Each member is appointed to serve a term of four years, with staggered appointment dates. ADHS is responsible for leading Arizona’s public health system including responding to disease outbreaks, licensing health and childcare facilities, operating the Arizona State Hospital and improving the overall health and wellness of all Arizonans.
Text of the governor’s letter can be viewed below.
View a PDF of Governor Ducey’s letter HERE.
August 2, 2018
Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners
1740 W Adams Suite 2470
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Dear Board Members:
As board members, one of your most critical functions is the selection and management of staff, consultants and/or other state or federal agencies to help carry out the mission of the board. I write today regarding your plan to discuss the board’s executive director position, per your posted meeting agenda for August 3, 2018.
With the information that came to light recently, there is no time to waste in bringing strong leadership to manage the day-to-day licensing and oversight functions while leveraging other resources available in state government. Likewise, as I have tasked all state agencies with developing innovative ways to decrease costs and streamline processes, it is time to adopt a new model to assist the board.
Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 32-1207(B)(5) provides the board opportunity to “contract with other state or federal agencies as required to carry out the purposes of this chapter.” Under this authority, and with innovation in mind, I am calling on the board to enter into an interagency services agreement with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to fulfill the duties required of the executive director role and any other assistance necessary to ensure prompt and thorough investigations of all complaints. This innovative partnership will immediately provide the board with the many benefits associated with the department’s professional and administrative staff, health expertise, and experience in occupational licensing.
To be clear, I am not suggesting any staff currently employed by the board to be removed or terminated, just that ADHS fulfill the duties of overseeing the staff and serving the board as previously completed by the executive director.
Although the board “may” employ an executive director under A.R.S. § 32-1205; it is not required to do so and can take the opportunity now that the position is vacant to implement a solution that leverages the enterprise that is state government which will strengthen public safety and serve your regulated community.
ADHS director, Dr. Cara Christ, will be your initial point of contact to develop the agreement.
Douglas A. Ducey
State of Arizona