FAQs About Requirement 3 for CE Providers: Instructional Personnel and Planner Disclosure Questions (Required Practice 3.2)
Is it necessary to get a disclosure form from a presenter each and every time the individual presents the same course on multiple dates in multiple locations?
The individual should complete a disclosure form prior to the Provider's confirming that the individual will be the presenter. Prior to each subsequent course offering presentation, the Provider should contact the presenter to determine if she or he has new, relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships since the initial disclosure was completed. If so, the presenter should revise the disclosure form information and the Provider should determine whether the new information disqualifies the individual from presenting the course. Disclosures made to attendees may need to be revised as well.
We have a pool of individuals who create and present courses throughout the year. Must they complete a disclosure form for each course they work on?
All planners and instructional personnel must complete a disclosure form each time he or she participates in the development of a course, so that the Provider can identify financial or nonfinancial relationships that are relevant to that particular course content.
Do members of the program planning committee have to complete a disclosure form at every meeting to plan that same course?
At the initial planning meeting, all program planning committee members must complete a disclosure form. At subsequent meetings, the Provider should ask committee members if they have any new, relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships since initial or subsequent disclosures. The Provider follows its procedure for reviewing those new relationships and determines if the planning committee member can continue to be involved or needs to recuse himself or herself.
Is failure to return or provide disclosure information the same as refusal to disclose?
Yes. Planners or instructional personnel who fail to submit disclosure information cannot be involved in the planning or presentation of the course.
What if a person is asked to speak at the last minute and, on arrival, he or she refuses to disclose relationship information?
All instructional personnel must disclose relationship information to the Provider prior to being accepted to present. Even if arrangements are made within a short time period, the disclosure process must be followed. If the presenter made disclosure information available to the Provider, but then at the course refuses to disclose the necessary information, he or she should not be allowed to present.
Why do speakers have to say they have no relevant financial and no relevant nonfinancial relationships?
This helps the learner distinguish between disclosure information that is missing and circumstances where there is nothing to disclose.
We use CE presentations as a tool for recruiting new employees (free course for 1 or 2 hours in a local market with associated CE). The speaker is typically an employee of our company. What are we required to disclose, given that we obviously benefit from people coming to these courses?
Requirement 3 is all about openness and transparency. It is important to be transparent in marketing the course; the Provider should reveal the intention to interest attendees in employment with the company. Also, it is important to disclose that the speaker is an employee and has a financial and perhaps a nonfinancial relationship with the company. If the course is offered for ASHA CEUs, course content must pertain to the science or practice of the professions of audiology or speech-language pathology and not to marketing the company or promoting employment benefits.
How does a Provider make participants aware of relationships (financial/nonfinancial) prior to the course? Printing becomes cost prohibitive if you have several speakers for an offering. Can we indicate with an * that presenters have a conflict of interest? Or does the disclosure have to be specific?
All presenters must disclose whether they have relevant financial relationship(s) or not and whether they have a relevant nonfinancial relationship(s) or not. So there must be a disclosure for all instructional personnel. Disclosure information at the course can be presented verbally and on slides or handouts. Disclosure information made available to attendees prior to their attending the course should be in a format and delivery mechanism that is easy to locate and access.
The intent of the requirement to have disclosure information available prior to attendees going to the course so they can make an informed decision about their attendance. Potential attendees should not be inconvenienced and have to go several places to search for disclosure information. Ideally, it should be located in the same place with information about the course and course registration. If course promotional information is provided in a printed format, then it makes sense to make disclosure information available in the print format. If course information is available via a web-based format, then disclosure information should be available in that format.
Would an organization that is also an ASHA Approved CE Provider need to disclose a stipend given to an organization's employee who develops and presents a CE course?
Yes. That employee has a financial relationship with the organizatoin, so that needs to be disclosed. The employee likely has a nonfinancial relationship as well, and that needs to be disclosed. The nonfinancial relationship might be an allegiance to that organization or a personal or professional bias toward that organization's products and services.
What constitutes a relevant financial relationship? If, for example, a presenter wrote a book 15 years ago on phonetics and now discusses phonetics, is that relevant?
If the book is still for sale and the presenter receives any financial or nonfinancial benefit and the content of the course pertains to information in the book, it is best to disclose that. If the presenter discloses this situation to the Provider, then the presenter and provider can discuss whether the situation is relevant and needs to be disclosed to learners.
What constitutes "marketing?" Where do you draw the line; does providing a long list of books written by the presenter constitute promoting the presenter's publications?
It's important for providers to work with presenters on their disclosure statements. Providers can model appropriate wording in the language they use to publicize disclosure information prior to the course in promotional materials. In a situation where the presenter has written a number of books on the topic, the disclosure could say: Dr. XYZ is the author of 17 books on XXX topic and receives royalties from the sale of those books.
What has to be disclosed about a nonfinancial relationship?
Planners and instructional personnel should think about the course content they are presenting and then determine if they have any personal, professional, political, institutional, religious, or other relationship(s) that needs to be disclosed. The planners and instructional personnel must disclose all nonfinancial relationships related to course content to the Provider. The Provider will determine through a guided discussion with the planners and instructional personnel if anything they disclosed cannot be resolved through disclosure to the attendees. Nonfinancial relationships must be disclosed during promotional efforts about the course and prior to the beginning of the course. If there are no nonfinancial relationships, this must be disclosed as well.
What are some examples of relevant nonfinancial relationships that planners and instructional personnel should disclose to the ASHA Approved CE Provider?
- Personal: The individual has a personal friendship with someone in the company whose products are discussed in the course; the individual has a family member or friend with a disorder that will be talked about in the course
- Professional: The individual is a member of an association or group that is talked about or referenced in the course; the individual has a professional bias about a way to deliver a particular service; he or she is employed by a company who is the ASHA Approved CE Provider of the course
- Political: The individual has a political bias about a topic (e.g., health care reform) and his or her bias is toward supporting a particular party's position on this issue
- Institutional: The individual is affiliated with an institution or organization (e.g., serves on a committee or board of that organization); the person is a member of that organization or gives money to its causes
- Religious: The individual has a bias based on religious tenets (e.g., a bias toward service delivery at end of life based on religious beliefs).
When is bias relevant?
All of us have biases. In the spirit of being open and transparent, if a presenter has a bias that pertains to the information presented in the course, it should be disclosed. When learners have this information about the presenter, they have a better understanding of the presenter's perspective on the information being presented.
What if the presenter works for the equipment manufacturer? Does this mean we can't have them make presentations?
Employees of companies that sell products or services can be presenters as long as they meet the requirements and follow the Provider's processes for disclosure and appropriate course content. Course content must focus on the science or practice of the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology and not on the marketing or sale of products or services.
Do employee-presenters need to complete a disclosure form, and does the provider have to disclose to participants that the presenter received a stipend?
All planners and presenters, even if they are employees, must go through the disclosure process (filing out a form, CEA reviewing, and resolving conflicts, etc.). Presenter disclosure information must be made prior to the course and at the course. As part of the presenter's disclosure, he or she would disclose receipt of financial compensation for the preparation and presentation of the course and from whom. They should also disclose any other financial or nonfinancial information relevant to the course content.
What would disqualify an individual from course planning or delivery?
Failure to disclose disqualifies someone from being considered as a planner or presenter. Once someone discloses, the Provider determines what steps to take to qualify or disqualify the person. Disqualification might depend on the nature of the course content, the relationship the planners and instructional personnel have to the Provider organization, and the relationships they disclose on their forms. Each situation is different. For example, a Provider might disqualify someone if that individual has a strong relationship with a competitor.
Can we put our conflict of interest policy and speaker disclosure forms on our website instead of handing them out at the course?
The disclosure forms themselves are for the planners and speakers to complete and submit to the Provider. The Provider uses information on the forms to identify relevant financial and nonfinancial relationships that need to be discussed with the planner and speaker. The information on the disclosure forms serves as a basis to craft the disclosure statements about speakers that will appear in the Provider's promotional materials prior to the course and for speaker disclosure at the course. It's probably not appropriate to put copies of forms completed by the planners or instructional personnel on the Provider's public website. But posting disclosure statements of instructional personnel on the website could be appropriate if it's an easy way to communicate that information to potential attendees of the course. The organization's conflict of interest policy can be on its website or handed out on request. A copy of the speaker disclosure form template can be posted there as well for potential speakers and planners to access and complete.