Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology: Certification Disclosure Appeals
Policies and Procedures Related to Certification Disclosure Appeals
The policies and procedures related to certification disclosure listed below are effective for applications received by ASHA on or after March 15, 2016. View the previous policy and procedures [PDF], effective for applications received by ASHA before March 15, 2016.
After initial review of the application, the Disclosure Committee, a committee of the Council for Clinical Certification in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CFCC), may request additional documentation from the applicant prior to rendering its decision.
If the Disclosure Committee of the CFCC denies certification to an applicant upon review of all certified documentation related to a required disclosure concerning criminal offenses or disciplinary actions by regulatory bodies, the applicant may request that the full CFCC reconsider that decision in accordance with the procedures described below.
Request for Further Consideration
When the Disclosure Committee votes to deny certification based on a disclosure, and the individual would otherwise meet the certification requirements, the applicant will be notified of the decision by certified, restricted, return-receipt-requested mail. After receipt of the decision, the applicant has the opportunity to request a Further Consideration review of the decision by the full CFCC. By exercising this prerogative, the applicant asks the full CFCC to reevaluate the Disclosure Committee’s decision to deny certification. This request must include additional evidence regarding the applicant’s disclosure and current fitness to practice.
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 should request Further Consideration only if there is additional or new substantive information for the CFCC to consider. If the applicant does not exercise the Further Consideration option within this time frame, the Disclosure Committee’s decision to deny certification is final and cannot be appealed.
The full CFCC shall review the applicant’s request for Further Consideration at the next scheduled in-person meeting. The Chair of the CFCC shall notify the applicant within 15 days of the decision by certified, restricted, return-receipt-requested mail.
Limited Grounds for Filing a Certification Disclosure Appeal
If the Further Consideration decision is not favorable to the applicant, and the applicant would otherwise meet the certification requirements, the individual may appeal the decision within 60 days of the date of the decision letter. The appeal explanation shall not introduce evidentiary matters not included in the record before the CFCC at the time of its decision. To exercise this right, the applicant shall submit a notice of appeal to the Director of Certification. The appeal should include a full written explanation of the appeal, which are limited to:
- The CFCC did not follow its own procedures.
- The CFCC did not apply the proper standard.
- The CFCC's decision is not supported by any evidence in the record.
The Director of Certification shall evaluate the request for appeal to ensure it meets the above requirements and does not introduce new evidence. If the explanation for the appeal meets one of the three requirements described above, an Appeal Panel will be convened and will consider the case as described below.
An appeal shall be based on the CFCC’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, which will not be considered by the Appeal Panel. The Appeal Panel will not substitute its judgment for the judgment of the CFCC.
The CFCC shall provide complete copies of the record made before the CFCC to the Appeal Panel as described below. The Chair of the CFCC or his/her designee may also choose to submit a written statement further explaining the CFCC'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
The function of the Appeal Panel shall be to review the record and determine whether the CFCC followed required procedures, properly applied the standards, and based its decision on evidence that was presented in the record when making its decision. The Appeal Panel shall determine whether or not there was any evidence before the CFCC that would justify its decision.
ASHA National Office staff shall maintain a list of potential Appeal Panel members. This list, maintained by the CFCC ex officio, shall include volunteers who have completed service on the CFCC in the last 5 years and current Board of Ethics members. The list shall be reviewed and updated on an annual basis by the Chair of the Disclosure Committee, the Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Speech-Language Pathology, and the Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Audiology. The former CFCC members of the Appeal Panel appointed by the appropriate Vice President shall be selected from that list of eligible members.
The ASHA Vice President for Standards and Ethics from the professional area in which the applicant is seeking certification shall select at least five (5) persons as potential members of an Appeal Panel, none of whom shall have had a relationship with the applicant 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 in writing to the applicant and the Chair of the CFCC, each of whom may have 7 days to challenge any of the potential panelists for due cause, such as a conflict of interest. Any challenge(s) must be received in writing to the National Office staff within 10 days of the date of the written transmittal of the 5 names.
After considering such challenges, the Vice President for Standards and Ethics shall appoint two (2) members of the Appeal Panel. A third member of the appeal panel shall be a current member of the ASHA Board of Ethics, as selected by the ASHA Director of Ethics. The Vice President will select the Panel chair.
The applicant and the Chair of the CFCC shall be informed of the Panel appointments. Appointment of the Panel shall be completed within 45 days of receipt of the applicant's appeal.
- The Appeal Panel chair shall schedule a teleconference hearing on the appeal to occur within 60 days of appointment of the Appeal Panel and shall notify the applicant and the Chair of the CFCC of the day and time thereof. Each individual, or their designated representative, shall have the right to participate and to present a statement or argument and respond to questions from the Appeal Panel members. The individuals or their representatives are not permitted to ask each other questions.
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 telephone conference within 60 days of the appointment of an Appeal Panel to consider the written record and reach a decision. Only the Panel's legal advisor and the ASHA staff member assigned to take notes for the Panel’s usage in reaching their decision may participate in this process.
- The applicant shall be entitled to be represented by counsel at the hearing. Counsel for ASHA may participate to advise the Panel concerning the conduct of the hearing. The CFCC chair, or designee selected from the CFCC Executive Committee,will participate and shall be entitled to the assistance of a legal advisor and/or resource person, including ASHA staff. The resource person, at the Panel's discretion, may be called to provide information and, if that occurs, shall be subject to questioning like any other presenter.
- No additional persons, other than the ASHA staff member assigned to take notes throughout the proceedings, shall participate at the hearing without permission of the Panel chair.
- 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 and a closing statement.
- Before the hearing is concluded, the Panel may ask additional questions of the applicant or CFCC.
- After the hearing, the Panel shall deliberate in closed session, with only the Panel's legal advisor and assigned resource person participating, to consider its decision. The decision shall be by a majority vote of the Panel.
Panel Decision and Report
The Appeal Panel will not substitute its judgment for the judgment of the CFCC. 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 CFCC’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 applicant, the appropriate Vice President for Standards and Ethics, and the CFCC. If the Appeal Panel upholds the decision of the CFCC, that decision becomes final as of the date of the letter informing the applicant of the Panel's decision.
When a decision is remanded, the CFCC 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 applicant the opportunity to make further written submissions to the Council. The results will be transmitted to the applicant 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 for further consideration.
- If the request for appeal meets the requirements, an Appeal Panel is appointed within 30 days of receipt of appeal.
- Within 14 days of the appointment of the Appeal Panel, the CFCC forwards a copy of the record made before the CFCC and any written statement further explaining the certification decision to the Appeal Panel and applicant.
- Appeal Hearing (or meeting to consider written appeal) occurs by telephone conference 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 their appeal shall be the applicant's sole responsibility. Administrative
costs of the appeals process itself will be assumed by ASHA.
Unless otherwise stated by the CFCC, all applicants must wait until one (1) year after their application for certification is closed before re-applying for certification.