Story by Associated Press and Laura Palmisano

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An oversight agency report says the Arizona Medical Board put patients at risk by failing to properly conduct background investigations on doctors applying for licenses.

The report from the independent Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens' Aide released Wednesday concluded the board's executive director told staff to skip normal background investigations to streamline the process in violation of the law.

The report substantiated 19 of 20 allegations brought by current and former employees.

Dennis Wells, the Arizona state ombudsman, said the report focused on the board's executive director Lisa Wynn and deputy director Amanda Diehl.

"It’s our finding that they as executive director and co-executive director of the agency were the two individuals that were responsible for the loosening of the licensure requirements,” Wells said.

The board issued a statement to The Arizona Republic saying it already made changes to address the concerns.

Arizona state Sen. Nancy Barto urged the board to rehire workers who were "summarily fired" after complaining about the practices.

The Ombudsman report recommended that all physician licenses issued since September 2011 be reviewed by the state auditor.

Read report here.