Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology: Certification Disclosure Appeals
Policies and Procedures Related to Certification Disclosure Appeals
If the CFCC Denies Certification Based on Disclosure of Criminal Offenses or Disciplinary Action by Regulatory Bodies
If the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC) denies certification to an applicant—based on a recommendation of the CFCC Disclosure Subcommittee to deny certification and upon review of all certified documentation related to a required disclosure by the applicant, the applicant may request that the CFCC reconsider its decision in accordance with the procedures described below.
Request for Further Consideration
When the CFCC votes to deny certification based on a disclosure, and the individual would otherwise meet the certification requirements, notification includes justification for the decision and informs the applicant of the opportunity to (a) request a Further Consideration review of the decision by the CFCC and (b) subsequently, appeal the decision. By exercising this prerogative, the applicant asks the CFCC to reevaluate its decision to deny certification.
If the applicant chooses to request a Further Consideration review, the applicant must submit written documentation within 30 days from the date of notification to justify why certification should not be denied. The applicant may submit additional documented evidence at this time about a serious conviction or disciplinary action to include an explanation of events regarding the incident, copies of official documents related to the action, and any additional information deemed necessary. If the applicant does not exercise the Further Consideration option within this time frame, the CFCC's decision to deny certification is final and cannot be appealed.
Within 60 days of receipt of a request for Further Consideration and any additional documentation, the full CFCC shall review the applicant's file and reach a decision. Within 15 days, the chair of the CFCC shall notify the applicant of the decision by certified, return-receipt-requested mail. If the CFCC votes again to deny certification, the applicant has the option to notify the CFCC chair of the applicant's intent to appeal the decision, in accordance with the procedures outlined below.
Filing an Appeal
If the decision is not favorable to the candidate, and the individual would otherwise meet the certification requirements, the individual may appeal the decision after completion of the Further Consideration process. To exercise this right, the individual shall submit to the chair of the CFCC a notice of intent to appeal within 60 days of the date of the Further Consideration decision letter.
The appeal should include a full written explanation of the grounds for appeal. The explanation should not introduce evidentiary matters not included in the record before the CFCC at the time of its decision.
Scope and Basis for Appeal
An appeal of the CFCC Further Consideration decision shall be on the Council's record. All written material that the CFCC considered in reaching its decision constitutes the record. An applicant's appeal shall not introduce evidentiary matters not included in the record before the CFCC.
The CFCC shall provide complete copies of the record made before the Council to the Appeal Panel as described below. The chair of the CFCC also may choose to submit a written statement further explaining the Council's certification decision. This statement shall not introduce evidentiary matters not included in the record before the CFCC and shall be provided to the applicant as well as to the Appeal Panel.
Appointment of an Appeal Panel
National Office staff shall maintain a list of potential Appeal Panel members. This list, maintained by the CFCC ex officio, shall include the 20 eligible members who have most recently completed service on the Council. The list shall be reviewed and modified, as appropriate, on an annual basis by the chair of the Disclosure Subcommittee and the Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Speech-Language Pathology and the Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Audiology. All members of the Ad Hoc Appeal Panel shall be selected from that list.
To consider a specific appeal, the ASHA Vice President for Standards and Ethics from the professional area in which the applicant is seeking certification shall select at least five persons as potential members of an Ad Hoc Appeal Panel, none of whom shall have had a relationship with the appellant or with the certification process leading to the decision being appealed. After it has been determined that these persons are willing to serve, their names shall be transmitted to the appellant and the chair of the CFCC, each of whom may challenge any of the potential panelists for due cause, such as a conflict of interest or bias. After considering such challenges, the Vice President for Standards and Ethics shall appoint three members of the Ad Hoc Appeal Panel: one (named by the ASHA Director of Ethics) shall be a current member of the ASHA Board of Ethics; one shall be designated by the Vice President to serve as Panel chair.
The appellant and the chair of the CFCC shall be informed of the Panel appointments. Appointment of the Panel shall be completed within 30 days of receipt of the appellant's appeal.
A. The Panel chair shall schedule a hearing on the appeal to occur within 60 days of receipt of the appeal and shall notify the applicant and the chair of the CFCC of the time and place thereof. Each shall have the right to appear in person or by designated representative and to present a statement or argument or, as an alternative, to present a statement or argument via telephone conference.
In addition, the applicant may inform the Panel chair in writing that he/she chooses to have the appeal considered on the basis of written documents only, without a hearing. If this option is chosen, the Panel will hold a meeting within 60 days of receipt of the appeal to consider the written record and reach a decision. Only the Panel's legal advisor and the ASHA staff member assigned to maintain a record of the Panel's decision may be present during this process.
B. The applicant shall be entitled to be represented by counsel at the hearing. Counsel for ASHA may be present to advise the Panel concerning the conduct of the hearing. The CFCC chair (or designee selected from the CFCC Executive Committee) also will be present and shall be entitled to the assistance of a resource person at the hearing. That person, at the Panel's discretion, may be called to provide information and, in this case, shall be subject to questioning like any other presenter.
C. No additional persons, other than the ASHA staff member assigned to record the proceedings, shall be present at the hearing.
D. Following introductory remarks by the Panel chair, the applicant shall be heard first, then the CFCC. Finally, the applicant shall be afforded the opportunity for rebuttal. (See attached Script for Appeals Hearing.)
E. After the hearing, the Panel shall meet in closed session, with only the Panel's legal advisor and assigned staff member present, to consider its decision, which shall be by majority vote of the Panel.
Panel Decision and Report
The function of the Appeal Panel shall be to review the record and to determine whether the Council followed required procedures, properly applied the standards, and based its decision on evidence that was in the record before it when it made its decision. The Appeal Panel shall determine whether or not there was probative evidence before the CFCC that would justify its decision.
The Appeal Panel may either (a) affirm the Council's decision that was appealed or (b) remand the case to the CFCC for reconsideration in light of the Appeal Panel's findings regarding procedural violations or substantive errors in the Council's decision. The Appeal Panel will make recommendations for appropriate action and disposition in a manner consistent with the findings of the Panel.
The report of the Appeal Panel will state its decision and basis for it. The Panel will transmit its report within 15 days of its decision to the appellant, the appropriate Vice President for Standards and Ethics, and the CFCC. If the Appeal Panel upholds the decision of the Council, that decision becomes final as of the date of the letter informing the appellant of the Panel's decision.
When a decision is remanded, the Council shall implement the decision of the Appeal Panel no later than at its next regularly scheduled meeting, giving due weight to the findings and recommendations of the Appeal Panel. The Council may afford the appellant the opportunity to make further written submission to the Council. The results will be transmitted to the appellant and to the appropriate Vice President for Standards and Ethics within 15 days of the reconsidered decision. Reconsideration decisions are final and no further appeal process is available.
Summary of Time Lines
The following summarizes the time lines in the appeal process, beginning from the date an appealable decision is transmitted from the CFCC.
- Applicant submits appeal within 60 days of the CFCC decision letter.
- Appeal Panel is appointed within 30 days of receipt of appeal.
- CFCC forwards to the Appeal Panel and applicant, within 7 days of the appointment of the Appeal Panel, a copy of the record made before the CFCC and any written statement further explaining the certification decision.
- Appeal Hearing (or meeting to consider written appeal) occurs within 60 days of the appointment of the Appeal Panel.
- Appeal Panel transmits final decision and its basis within 15 days of the Appeal Hearing or Appeal Panel meeting.
- If decision is remanded, the CFCC considers its previous decision no later than its next regularly scheduled meeting and transmits results of reconsideration to applicant within 15 days of that meeting.
Cost of Appeals
All costs incurred by the applicant in connection with the appeal including, but not limited to, travel and lodging of the applicant's representative and other fees shall be applicant's sole responsibility. All costs associated with the members of the Appeal Panel shall be divided between the applicant and ASHA. Administrative costs of the appeals process itself will be assumed by ASHA.