American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology: Further Consideration and Appeal Procedures

Policies and Procedures Related to Certification Appeals

Initial Determination

If a Program Director Does Not Recommend the Applicant for Certification

If a program director does not recommend the applicant for certification, the program director must sign the application and state the reason(s) for the negative recommendation in Section 20 of the application. In addition, the program director may send a letter explaining the reason(s) for the negative recommendation and supporting documents to the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC). When appropriate, this information may be shared with the applicant.

The applicant may request that the CFCC accept and approve the application in spite of the program director's negative recommendation. In this case, the applicant must submit the signed application, a letter of explanation, and compelling documents to support his/her claim that the CFCC should approve the application in spite of the negative recommendation of the program director. This information may be shared with the program director.

An Initial Determination Team of the CFCC, composed of 4 members of the Council, will review the file within 45 days of receipt. The Team will reach a decision based on a preponderance or greater weight of evidence. The chair of the CFCC will inform the applicant in an Initial Determination letter of the Council's decision within 15 days of the decision having been rendered.

If the Clinical Fellowship Supervisor Does Not Recommend Approval of the Clinical Fellowship

If the clinical fellowship supervisor does not recommend approval of the clinical fellowship experience, he/she must so indicate in Section 8 of the Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form and must sign the Report and Rating Form in Section 9. This information must be shared with the clinical fellow who may choose whether or not to submit the experience for purposes of certification.

The clinical fellow may complete an entirely new clinical fellowship and/or request an Initial Determination review by a Team of the CFCC. To request such a review by the CFCC, the clinical fellow must submit to the CFCC (a) a signed and completed Clinical Fellowship Report and Rating Form, (b) the supervisor's rationale for the negative recommendation, and (c) a letter of explanation, as well as compelling supporting documentation, to show why the clinical fellowship should be approved. The CFCC may share this information with the supervisor to solicit any additional information the supervisor wishes to provide. Within 45 days of the receipt of the request for Initial Determination, the CFCC will review all information to determine if the clinical fellowship will be approved. The chair of the CFCC shall write an Initial Determination letter to inform the applicant of the Council's decision within 15 days of the Initial Determination decision. Based on the outcome of the decision, the clinical fellow may complete a fellowship as prescribed by the Council or may request Further Consideration.

Request for Further Consideration

When the CFCC votes to deny certification, the notification will include the justification for the decision and will inform the applicant of the opportunity to (a) request a Further Consideration review of the decision by the CFCC and (b) subsequently, appeal the decision. Further Consideration is the mechanism whereby the applicant may present written documentary evidence of compliance with the relevant standards as specified in the Initial Determination letter. By exercising this prerogative, the applicant asks the CFCC to reevaluate its decision to deny certification. If the applicant does not request Further Consideration within the stipulated time period, the applicant cannot make a further appeal.

If the applicant chooses to request a Further Consideration review, the applicant shall write to the CFCC within 45 days of the date of the Initial Determination letter from the CFCC. Along with the letter, the applicant must submit additional pertinent materials as evidence to show compliance with all certification standards. If the applicant does not exercise the Further Consideration option, the CFCC's decision to deny certification is final and cannot be appealed. Within 60 days of receipt of the request for Further Consideration and any additional documentation, the full CFCC shall review the applicant's file and reach a decision. The chair of the CFCC shall notify the applicant within 15 days of the decision by return-receipt-requested mail of the Council's decision. If the CFCC votes again to deny certification, the applicant has the option to (a) correct the deficiencies as specified in the decision letter within a specified time period or (b) 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, the individual may appeal the decision after completion of the Further Consideration process. If he/she chooses to exercise the right of appeal, the candidate must submit a notice of intent to appeal—within 60 days of the date of the certified, return-receipt-requested notice of the Council's Further Consideration review decision—to the Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Audiology or the Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Speech-Language Pathology (as appropriate) and the CFCC.

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 a CFCC decision to deny certification 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 and the applicant within 7 days of the appointment of the Appeal Panel, and any written statement further explaining the certification decision. 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 Council.

Appointment of an Appeal Panel

National Office staff shall maintain a list of potential Appeal Panel members. This list shall include the most recent 20 eligible members who have completed service on the CFCC. The list shall be reviewed and modified, as appropriate, on an annual basis by the chair of the Council and the Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Audiology or the Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Speech-Language Pathology. 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 5 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 determining the willingness of these persons to serve, the vice president shall transmit the names to the appellant and the Council chair, any one of whom may challenge any of the potential panelists for due cause (e.g., conflict of interest, bias, etc.). After considering such challenges, the Vice President for Standards and Ethics shall appoint 3 members of the Appeal Panel and shall designate one of them as chair.

The appellant and the chair of the Council shall be informed of the Panel appointments. Appointment of the Panel shall be completed within 30 days of receipt of the applicant's appeal.

Appeal Hearing

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 appellant and the chair of the Council 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 appellant may inform the Panel chair in writing that he or 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 appellant 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 appellant shall be heard first, and then the CFCC shall be heard. Finally, the appellant shall be afforded the opportunity for rebuttal.

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 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 may 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 Vice President for Standards and Ethics, and the CFCC. If the 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 reconsider its previous decision 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 Vice President for Standards and Ethics within 15 days of the reconsidered decision. Reconsidered decisions are final and no further appeals 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.

  1. Applicant submits appeal within 60 days of the CFCC decision letter.
  2. Appeal Panel is appointed within 30 days of receipt of appeal.
  3. 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.
  4. Appeal Hearing (or meeting to consider written appeal) occurs within 60 days of the appointment of the Appeal Panel.
  5. Appeal Panel transmits final decision and the basis for the decision within 15 days of the Appeal Hearing or Appeal Panel meeting.
  6. If decision is remanded, 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 representatives and other fees, shall be the 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.

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