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Disciplinary Policy and Procedures

Effective: 8/29/19

I. DISCIPLINARY POLICY

A. Policy Statement

The American Board of Orthodontics ("ABO") may investigate and evaluate any information which, in its judgment, raises substantial questions about an individual's compliance with ABO requirements, policies, or procedures to determine if there are grounds for discipline.

B. Grounds for Discipline

1. Dishonesty or Other Irregular Behavior

a. During an Examination

i. Any individual who engages in, or assists another individual to engage in, cheating or other dishonest or other irregular behavior, or otherwise violates the security of an examination, may be subject to disciplinary action, including denial or revocation of eligibility or certification. Any individual who engages in such improper behavior also may be subject to legal action.

ii. Irregular behavior shall include, but not be limited to (1) misrepresentation of patient records as true and original when they have, in fact, been materially altered; (2) presentation of one or more cases for which the examinee has not personally provided the diagnosis and treatment; (3) submission of false information or a false affidavit; and (4) use of a case that was previously presented to the Board at a Clinical Examination by the same, or another, examinee.

iii. The performance of all individuals taking an examination will be monitored. Examiners, proctors, or test center personnel will notify the ABO of any examinee who appears to give or to receive assistance, or otherwise to engage in dishonest or other irregular behavior, in connection with the examination.

b. After an Examination

i. Any individual who removes or attempts to remove materials from the test center, reproduces, distributes, displays or otherwise misuses a test question or any part of a test question from an examination, furnishes to another individual a suggested answer to a question, or assists another individual to do any of the above, may be subject to disciplinary action, including denial or revocation of eligibility or certification. Any individual who engages in such improper behavior also may be subject to legal action.

c. At Any Time

i. Any individual who is found to be in violation of the American Association of Orthodontists’ Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct or the American Dental Association’s Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct, or who obtains, attempts to obtain, or assists another person to obtain or attempt to obtain, eligibility, certification or certification renewal by deceptive means, including but not limited to submitting or assisting another person to submit to the ABO any application, patient record(s), case presentation, affidavit, or other document which contains a material misstatement of fact or omits to state a material fact, may be subject to disciplinary action, including denial or revocation of eligibility or certification. Any individual who engages in such improper behavior also may be subject to legal action.

2. Fraudulent Credentials

a. Any individual who manufacturers, modifies, reproduces, distributes or uses a fraudulent or otherwise unauthorized ABO certificate or other document; otherwise falsely claims to be certified by the ABO; or assists another individual to do any of the above; may be subject to disciplinary action, including denial or revocation of eligibility or certification. Any individual who engages in such improper behavior also may be subject to legal action.

3. Legal, Regulatory, or Credentialing Action

a. Automatic Revocation The ABO will automatically deny or revoke an individual's eligibility or certification if the ABO learns or determines that the individual is the subject of any of the following:

i. Adjudication by a court that the individual is mentally or physically incompetent.

ii. Conviction of, or pleading no contest to, a felony that is, in the view of the ABO, related to orthodontic practice.

iii. Revocation or suspension of any license to practice dentistry or orthodontics due to behavior that is, in the view of the ABO, related to orthodontic practice.

b. Discretionary Denial, Revocation, or Suspension The ABO may, at its discretion, deny, suspend or revoke an individual's eligibility or certification if the ABO determines that the individual is the subject of any of the following:

i. Conviction of or pleading no contest to a felony regardless of whether the felony relates to orthodontic practice.

ii. Revocation or suspension of any license to practice dentistry or orthodontics regardless of whether the suspension or revocation relates to orthodontic practice.

iii. Placement of a license to practice dentistry or orthodontics on probation or imposition of any other limitation on such license.

iv. Documented evidence of gross incompetence or unethical conduct. The ABO may also, at its discretion, deny or suspend or revoke an individual’s eligibility or certification based on failure to cooperate with any investigation by the ABO.

 

II. DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES

A. If it comes to the attention of the ABO that an individual has engaged (or may have engaged) in any conduct described in Section I.

B. The ABO’s CEO or his/her designee shall notify the ABO’s President and may designate ABO staff members to perform an initial investigation into the matter (“Initial Investigation”). The CEO shall then refer the matter, and provide the findings of the Initial Investigation, to the Policy Committee. B. If any member(s) of the Policy Committee has a personal or professional relationship with the individual(s) under review or has any other conflict of interest, such member(s) shall be replaced with another ABO Director or former ABO Director for the limited purpose of considering and resolving the matter in accordance with this Policy.

C. Within 30 calendar days of receiving the findings of the Initial Investigation, the Policy Committee shall meet by telephone (or, if more convenient, in person) to consider the findings of the Initial Investigation. If the Policy Committee concludes that there is a reasonable basis to conclude there may be grounds for discipline, the Policy Committee shall initiate a formal disciplinary proceeding and direct the ABO’s CEO or his/her designee to issue a written notice to the individual who is the subject of the proceeding about the proceeding (“Notice of Disciplinary Proceeding”) by email (if the ABO has one on file) and U.S. First Class Mail.

D. The Notice of Disciplinary Proceeding shall inform the individual (i) the Policy Committee has initiated a disciplinary proceeding under this Policy; (ii) the nature of the alleged conduct at issue; and (iii) that he/she has the right, within 15 calendar days of the date of the Notice of Disciplinary Proceeding, to submit to the ABO’s CEO a written response to the allegations and/or a request for hearing before the Policy Committee. Any written response or request for hearing shall be directed to the ABO’s CEO and submitted by email (Info@americanboardortho.com) or by fax (314-432-8170). Extensions will be granted at the sole discretion of the Policy Committee. If the individual does not receive the Notice of Disciplinary Proceeding due to a failure to notify the ABO of a change of address, that lack of notice shall not be considered as a basis for reconsideration of any decision in the matter.

E. If the ABO receives an individual’s request for a hearing within 15 calendar days of the date of the Notice of Disciplinary Proceeding, the Policy Committee or its designee shall conduct a hearing by telephone within 60 calendar days of receipt of an individual’s request for a hearing, unless otherwise determined by the Policy Committee. Not less than 15 calendar days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing, the ABO shall notify the individual in writing of the date and time of the hearing. At the hearing, the individual shall be given a reasonable opportunity to discuss, explain and/or refute the alleged conduct and provide any other relevant information. The hearing may be recorded by the ABO. All expenses incurred by the individual in connection with the hearing shall be borne by the individual.

F. Within 60 days after the time has lapsed for the individual to submit a written response and/or request a hearing or, if a hearing was requested, after the hearing, the Policy Committee shall review all of the documentation submitted in connection with the matter, the presentation, if any, by the individual at the hearing, and any other relevant information the Policy Committee, at its discretion, requested or received (“Review Record”) and determine what disciplinary action, if any, is appropriate under the circumstances and document its decision, including the date of its decision.

G. In determining what disciplinary action, if any, is appropriate under the circumstances, the Policy Committee will follow these principles:

1. If the Policy Committee finds that no violation of this Policy occurred, the Committee shall close the matter without disciplinary action.

2. If the Policy Committee finds circumstances requiring automatic revocation, the Committee shall revoke the individual's certification or certification renewal.

3. If the Policy Committee finds that a violation of this Policy occurred but no circumstances exist requiring automatic revocation, the Policy Committee shall determine whether one or more of the following disciplinary actions is appropriate:

a. Require the individual to retake an examination at a time and place and in a format to be determined by the Policy Committee;

b. Require the individual to wait a specified period of time before reapplying to take an ABO examination;

c. Deny, suspend or revoke an individual's certification;

d. Suspend or revoke the individual’s eligibility to apply for certification;

e. Advise the ABO Board of Directors to refer the matter to law enforcement authorities, the State Dental Board and/or such other body, agency or institution as the Board deems appropriate; or

f. Take such other action as the Policy Committee deems appropriate under the particular circumstances.

H. If the Policy Committee decides that disciplinary action is appropriate (“Adverse Decision”), such Adverse Decision is subject to the ABO's Appeal Process of Adverse Decisions. However, unless otherwise ordered by the Policy Committee or the ABO Board of Directors, an appeal (or consideration of an appeal) shall not stay the decision of the Policy Committee.

I. Within 30 calendar days of reaching a decision, the Policy Committee shall notify the individual in writing of its decision and the reasons for that decision (“Notice of Decision”) If the Policy Committee makes an Adverse Decision, the Notice of Decision shall state that the decision is subject to appeal pursuant to the ABO's Appeal Process of Adverse Decisions. The Notice of Decision shall be sent by email (if the ABO has one on file) and U.S. First Class Mail, unless the individual has otherwise instructed the ABO.

J. If the Policy Committee makes an Adverse Decision, the ABO Board of Directors may notify any state licensing authority with which the individual holds a license of that decision and the reasons for that decision.

K. Applications following an Adverse Decision shall be governed by the following principles:

1. An individual whose certification has been denied, suspended or revoked for a specified time period or whose eligibility to apply for certification has been suspended or revoked may reapply to the ABO following expiration of such time period.

2. An individual whose eligibility or certification has been denied, suspended or revoked by the ABO based on a legal, regulatory or credentialing action may reapply to the ABO when the situation underlying the ABO's decision has been remedied.

a. If the decision was based on conviction of or pleading no contest to a felony, the individual may not apply for certification until all sentences have been served and, unless the Policy Committee grants an exception, until all judgments have been satisfied.

b. If the decision was based on revocation of licensure or authorization to practice, although it is not necessary for the license or authorization itself to be restored, the individual may not apply for certification until the situation underlying the licensure or authorization revocation has been remedied.

3. Action on all applications following denial, suspension or revocation - except in such cases where the period of denial, suspension or revocation is specified - shall be at the discretion of the Policy Committee.

 

III. APPEAL PROCESS FOR ADVERSE DECISION

A. An individual who is the subject of an Adverse Decision under Section II may appeal the Adverse Decision by submitting a written request for appeal (“Request for Appeal”) to the ABO’s CEO within 15 calendar days after the date of the Notice of Decision. The Request for Appeal must be accompanied by a check in the amount of $500.00 made payable to the ABO.

B. If a Request for Appeal and the appeal fee is not received by the ABO within 15 calendar days after the date of the Notice of Decision, the Adverse Decision shall constitute the final decision of the ABO on the matter and shall not be subject to appeal absent extraordinary circumstances, as solely determined by the ABO Board of Directors.

C. If the Request for Appeal and appeal fee is timely submitted, the ABO Board of Directors or its designee shall appoint a Review Panel to consider the Request for Appeal within 15 calendar days of receiving the Request for Appeal. No member of the Review Panel shall have (i) served on the Policy Committee that rendered the Adverse Decision or otherwise participated in any prior consideration of the matter; (ii) a personal or professional relationship with individual who is the subject of an Adverse Decision; or (ii) any other conflict of interest.

D. Within 5 calendar days the Review Panel’s appointment, the Review Panel or its designee shall request a statement from the Chair of the Policy Committee that rendered the Adverse Decision and a copy of the Review Record considered by the Policy Committee. Upon receipt of that information, the Review Panel shall determine whether a hearing with the individual who is the subject of the Adverse Decision may be useful in deciding the appeal.

E. If the Review Panel determines that a hearing on the appeal would not be useful, the Review Panel or its designee shall notify the individual of that decision and provide the individual with an opportunity to submit a written statement in support of the appeal (“Written Appeal Statement”) within 15 calendar days after the date of the notice.

F. If the Review Panel determines that a hearing on the appeal may be useful, it shall notify the individual of that decision (“Notice of Hearing”) and the date and time of the hearing, which shall be no less than 20 calendar days and no more than 60 calendar days after the date of the Notice of Hearing. The Notice of Hearing also shall advise the appellant that he or she may: (1) participate in the hearing; (2) be represented or assisted by legal counsel; and (3) submit a Written Appeal Statement within 15 calendar days after the date of the hearing.

G. At least 5 calendar days prior to the hearing, the individual shall notify the ABO’s CEO in writing whether he or she intends to participate in the hearing and, if so, whether he or she will be represented by legal counsel. If the individual will be represented by legal counsel, the legal counsel’s name and contact information should be included in the notification.

H. The hearing shall be conducted by the Review Panel or its designee by telephone unless otherwise determined by the Review Panel, and the hearing may be recorded. In all circumstances, a record of the hearing shall be kept, and a copy of the hearing record shall be made available to the individual upon payment of the cost of reproduction. The Review Panel shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence usually employed in legal proceedings, but it may consider any evidence it deems appropriate. At the hearing, the individual or his/her legal counsel shall be given a reasonable opportunity to discuss, explain and/or refute the alleged conduct and provide any other relevant information. At the conclusion of the hearing, the individual will be provided an opportunity to submit a Written Appeal Statement within 15 calendar days after the date of the hearing. All expenses incurred by the individual in connection with the hearing shall be borne by the individual. If the individual notifies the ABO’s CEO that he/she intends to participate in the hearing but fails to do so, no other opportunity for participation shall be provided.

I. With 60 days after the time has lapsed for the individual to submit a Written Appeal Statement (following a hearing or without a hearing), the Review Panel shall review all of the documentation submitted in connection with the appeal and the presentation, if any, by the individual at the hearing (“Appeal Record”) and determine by majority vote whether to affirm, reverse, or modify the Adverse Decision (“Appeal Decision”). The Review Panel shall document the Appeal Decision and provide a copy of the Appeal Decision to the ABO Board of Directors.

J. Within 15 calendar days after the Review Panel renders the Appeal Decision, the Review Panel or its designee shall notify the individual in writing of the Appeal Decision and the reasons for that decision (“Notice of Appeal Decision”). If the individual does not receive the Notice of Appeal Decision or any other notice from the ABO related to the appeal due to a failure to notify ABO of a change of address, that lack of notice shall not be considered as a basis for reconsideration of any decision in the matter.

K. The decision of the Review Panel shall constitute the final decision of the ABO on the matter and shall not be subject to further appeal absent extraordinary circumstances as solely determined by the ABO Board of Directors.