from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No.
LC2014-000547-001 DT The Honorable Crane McClennen, Judge
Chester & Shein PC, Scottsdale By Mark D. Chester Counsel
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Michael
Raine Counsel for Defendant/Appellee
Presiding Judge Kent E. Cattani delivered the opinion of the
Court, in which Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop and Judge Rick A.
Williams  joined.
Michael Wassef, a licensed dentist, appeals the superior
court's ruling affirming the Arizona State Board of
Dental Examiners (the "Board")'s order
suspending his license to practice dentistry in Arizona.
Wassef asserts that he was denied due process because he was
not given a hearing before being ordered to undergo an
inpatient substance abuse evaluation, and that his failure to
comply with that order did not establish a basis for
suspending his license. For reasons that follow, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Wassef has a history of opioid addiction, and he participated
in a monitored treatment program from 2002 through 2007.
In March 2014, a pharmacist contacted the Board with concerns
about Wassef s prescription-writing practices. In response to
the pharmacist's report, the Board reviewed Wassef's
pharmacy management profile and subpoenaed records from his
employer. The Board learned that from 2008 to 2014, Wassef
had received prescriptions for controlled substances in
increasing amounts. The prescriptions included hydrocodone, a
controlled substance that Wassef had abused in the past. The
Board also learned that Wassef had prescribed large amounts
of the muscle relaxant Soma for his wife, his assistant, and
his assistant's daughter, even though they were not
patients of record and even though Soma is not typically
prescribed for dental patients. Over a two-year period,
Wassef wrote these individuals, collectively, forty-four Soma
The Board asked Wassef to undergo a urinalysis and meet with
Dr. Michael Sucher, the medical director of the Board's
monitored aftercare treatment program, for a preliminary
substance abuse screening assessment, to be followed by
further evaluation if deemed necessary based on the
assessment. Wassef submitted to the urinalysis and tested
positive for Soma and Tramadol, medications for which he had
prescriptions. He refused, however, to meet with Dr.
On March 19, 2014, the Board determined that there was a
"real and significant" risk that Wassef had
relapsed in his addiction, and, pursuant to its authority
under A.R.S. § 32-1207(B)(6), issued an order ("the
Interim Order") directing Wassef to obtain an inpatient
substance abuse evaluation within fourteen days at one of
three approved facilities that have significant experience
and expertise in evaluating and treating professionals with
substance abuse/addiction issues. Wassef did not comply with
the Interim Order, declining to be admitted for inpatient
assessment and asserting that an outpatient evaluation at an
addiction treatment facility should be acceptable. The Board
thus determined that emergency action was required based on
public health, safety, and welfare concerns and suspended
Wassef's license, stating it would lift the suspension if
Wassef complied with the Interim Order.
The Board then filed a Complaint and Notice of Hearing
alleging that Wassef's refusal to comply with the Interim
Order constituted unprofessional conduct that jeopardized the
health and safety of the public in violation of A.R.S. §
32-1201.01(14),  and that Wassef s license should be
suspended. After an evidentiary hearing, an
administrative law judge ("ALJ") ruled that the
Board had failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence
that Wassef was unsafe to practice and recommended that the
Board reinstate his license.
The Board rejected or modified several portions of the
ALJ's recommendation and ordered that Wassef s license
remain suspended until he complied with the Interim Order.
See A.R.S. § 41-1092.08(B) (authorizing the
agency head, executive director, commission, or board to
"review the [ALJ's] decision and accept, reject or
modify it"). The Board subsequently denied Wassef s
request for a rehearing, and he filed a complaint for
judicial review in the superior court. See A.R.S.
§ 12-904(A). The superior court affirmed the Board's
decision, and Wassef timely appealed.
This court stayed the Board's suspension order pending
disposition of this appeal. We have jurisdiction under A.R.S.
§ 12-913. See Svendsen v. Ariz. Dep't ...