Disciplinary Policy and Procedures

I. DISCIPLINARY POLICY

The American Board of Orthodontics ("ABO") shall investigate and evaluate any information which, in its judgment, raises substantial questions about an individual's compliance with ABO requirements, policies, or procedures. Such information may, at the ABO's sole discretion, be referred to an outside body for further investigation and action.

 

A. 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, and/or submission of a false affidavit indicating personal care by the examinee; and (3) use of a case that previously has been presented to the Board at a Clinical Exam 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, or reproduces, distributes, displays or otherwise misuses a test question or any part of a test question from an examination, who furnishes to another individual a suggested answer to a question, or who 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 Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics of the American Association of Orthodontics or of the Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct of the American Dental Association, 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 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 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.

 

v. The ABO may also, at its discretion, deny or suspend or revoke an individual’s eligibility if failure to cooperate with any investigation by the ABO.

 

 II. DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES

A. The Legal Committee shall meet by telephone (or, if more convenient, in person) to consider the information gathered by the staff. If the Legal Committee concludes that there is a reasonable basis to believe that there are grounds for discipline, staff shall issue a written notice to the individual under consideration about the allegations and about possible disciplinary actions which may be taken by the ABO. The notice shall inform the individual that he or she has the right, within 15 days, to submit a written response to the allegations and/or to request a hearing before the Legal Committee. The hearing shall be by telephone except as otherwise determined by the Committee.

 

B. If it comes to the attention of the ABO that any individual has engaged in any conduct described in Section I, the Executive Secretary shall notify the President and shall cause the staff to make reasonable efforts to determine the facts of the matter.

 

C. The President shall appoint a Legal Committee to consider the relevant information. The Committee shall consist of three current ABO Directors and one former director – none of whom has a personal or professional relationship with the individual under review or who otherwise has a conflict of interest.

 

D. If the individual does not receive any notice or notices from ABO related to the disciplinary proceedings 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.

 

E. Not less than 15 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 attempt to refute the relevant allegations. All expenses incurred by the individual in connection with the matter shall be borne by the individual.

 

F. The Legal Committee shall review all of the documentation submitted concerning the matter, and the presentation, if any, by the individual at the hearing. The Legal Committee also may, at its discretion, request or receive, and review, additional information. The foregoing shall constitute the Review Record.

 

G. Based on its review of the Review Record, the Legal Committee shall, determine what disciplinary action, if any, is appropriate under the circumstances. It may conclude that there has been no violation of this Policy and that no action should, therefore, be taken.

H. If the Review Record demonstrates circumstances requiring automatic revocation, the Legal Committee shall revoke the individual's certification or certification renewal.

 

I. If the Review Record does not demonstrate circumstances requiring automatic revocation, the Legal Committee shall determine whether one or more of the following disciplinary actions is appropriate:

 

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

 

2. Refuse to release the score of the individual;

 

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

 

4. Deny or revoke an individual's certification;

 

5. Suspend or revoke the individuals eligibility to sit for future examinations;

 

6. Advise the ABO Board of Directors to refer the matter to law enforcement authorities, the State Dental Board, or such other institution as the Panel deems appropriate; or

 

7. Take a combination of any of the above actions or such other action that the Legal Committee may deem appropriate in the particular circumstances.

 

J.   Notwithstanding, the foregoing, the Legal Committee may take action prior to a hearing if it determines that the alleged conduct poses an imminent threat to patients or others.

 

K.   The ABO shall within 30 days after the Legal Committee has reached a decision notify the ABO board and the individual in writing of that decision and the reasons therefor.

 

L. Disciplinary actions are subject to appeal to the Review Panel pursuant to the ABO's Appeal Process for Adverse Decisions. However, unless otherwise ordered by the Legal Committee or the Board of Directors, an appeal shall not stay the decision of the Panel.

 

M.  If an adverse disciplinary decision has been reached, the ABO may notify any state licensing authority with which the individual holds a license of such decision and the reasons therefor.

 

N. Applications following disciplinary action shall be governed by the following policies:

 

1. An individual whose certification has been suspended or revoked for a specified time period or who has been barred from applying for certification for a specified time period, may reapply to the ABO following expiration of such time period.

 

2. An individual whose eligibility or certification has been denied 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. 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 Legal Committee grants an exception, until all judgments have been satisfied. 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 or revocation - except in such cases where the period of revocation is specified - shall be at the discretion of the Legal Committee.