State report card

The report card for each state contains the scores it received when we evaluated it for how well it protects patients against sexually abusive doctors. The overall rating is the average of the score the state received in each category. In states with two medical boards, one for osteopathic physicians and the other for medical doctors, the overall rating is based on an average of each board’s scores.

Click on the boxes below to read how Arizona did on each category — and how we calculated the score for the categories.


State rating (out of 100)

  • Duty-to-report laws: 52
    Are colleagues and institutions that are aware of potential physician misconduct required to notify regulators? More...
    To break the code of silence that can shield abusive doctors, the best states have laws requiring all physicians and health care institutions to notify regulators of potential violations. To assess these laws, the AJC used five measures. Top grades went to states where a broad range of health care facilities, not only hospitals, are required to notify regulators of alleged physician misconduct; where there is a deadline of no more than 30 days for making those reports; where penalties for failing to report are clear and significant; where doctors are required to report fellow practitioners; and where courts or law enforcement agencies must notify regulators when a doctor is criminally convicted.
  • Board composition: 65
    Are consumer members included to balance physicians’ tendency to identify with their colleagues? More...
    A blueprint developed by The Federation of State Medical Boards recognized the importance of having independent public members on physician-dominated medical regulatory agencies. To assess the composition of disciplinary agencies, the AJC used three measures, with the most weight given to consumer representation. Top grades went to states where public members make up at least 40 percent of the board; where those members represent consumers and where neither they nor their family members have professional or financial ties to health care; and where women hold at least 40 percent of the board seats.
    • Is the public well represented?: 40 of 50
      The 12-member medical board has eight physicians and four public members, two of whom are nurses. The seven-member osteopathic board has five physicians and two public members.
  • Criminal acts: 60
    Are medical regulators and law enforcement made aware of doctors’ criminal conduct? More...
    The medical profession has long recognized the power imbalance between doctors and patients. But only in recent years have states enacted three key laws to try to protect vulnerable patients from dangerous doctors. The AJC considered two of these laws the most important. Top grades went to states where physicians must undergo criminal background checks, with fingerprints, at initial license application and periodically; and where doctor-patient sexual contact has been made a criminal offense in recognition that patients cannot give meaningful consent. In addition, the AJC also rated states on whether medical boards that learn of allegations of criminal conduct must alert law enforcement.

More from Arizona

Highlighted case

Dr. Richard Lewis

In 2009, Lewis was indicted on 61 sex-related offenses involving 19 patients. He agreed to voluntarily suspend his practice.

He struck a plea deal in 2012 admitting guilt to 18 counts of aggravated assault, but these were not sex-related charges, so he did not have to register as a sex offender. For each count he got supervised probation, though he had to serve a year in jail.

The only board action shown on the Arizona Medical Board’s website was the 2012 revocation of his license. Efforts to reach Lewis for comment have been unsuccessful.

Researching a doctor

  • Accurate records of sexual abuse accusations against doctors are not always easily accessible. In Arizona, the Arizona Medical Board and the Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners in Medicine and Surgery regulate medical professionals. Though each board issues its own decisions and has its own website, all actions are kept in one searchable database. Please note that license search results typically include all public disciplinary actions, not just those involving sexual misconduct, and can sometimes include vague language. Also, some states deal with some disciplinary issues privately; private board orders are not included.

Complaint process

The Arizona Medical Board will not investigate anonymous complaints. But the board said if confidentiality is requested, it will not give the physician any identifying information on the person filing a complaint. The Board of Osteopathic Examiners said it will accept anonymous complaints if the alleged misconduct can be verified.

Where to file a complaint


“[He] felt his wife imposed undue financial expectations upon him, and that his efforts to meet those expectations in the form of working harder and harder were never properly acknowledged.”

— Board summary of a doctor’s explanation for why he had had two patients perform oral sex on him.

Key fact

Physicians whose licenses are revoked by any other jurisdiction may not be licensed in Arizona.

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