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 of 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.

 

III. APPEAL PROCESS FOR ADVERSE DECISION

A. An adverse decision of a Legal Committee may be appealed to the Review Panel as set forth below. Appeal of an adverse decision by a Legal Committee must be accompanied by a check in the amount of $500.00 made payable to the ABO.

 

B. An individual who has received notice of an adverse decision by a Legal Committee may appeal the decision to the Review Panel by filing a written Request for Appeal within 15 days after the date of the notice of decision. The decision to grant an Appeal is at the sole discretion of the Review Panel.

 

C. If a Request for Appeal is not received by the ABO within 15 days after the notice of the adverse 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 determined solely by the Review Panel, the Executive Committee or the Board of Directors.

 

D. A properly filed Request for Appeal from an adverse decision by a Legal Committee shall be considered by the Review Panel.

 

E. If the Review Panel determines that the appeal should not be heard, the decision of the Review Panel shall be the final decision of the ABO absent extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Board of Directors. The $500 appeal fee shall be refunded.

 

F. If the Review Panel determines that the Appeal should be heard, the Appeal will be heard by the Review Panel no later than 60 calendar days after receipt of the Request for the Appeal.

 

G. Any member of the Review Panel who participated in prior consideration of the Adverse Decision, or who has a personal or professional relationship with the appellant or otherwise has a conflict of interest, shall not participate in deliberations regarding, or vote on, the matter. If one or more members of the Review Panel is disqualified from acting on a specific appeal pursuant to this subparagraph, the President shall appoint a sitting member of the Board of Directors who does not have a conflict of interest and is not otherwise disqualified to sit on the Review Panel in place of the disqualified member.

 

H. The Review Panel will determine whether a hearing by the appellant may be useful to resolve the issues before it. The Panel shall consider the Appeal Record, the Request for Final Appeal, any information submitted in writing by the appellant, and any information presented by the appellant at a hearing (if a hearing is granted). The Panel also shall receive and review a statement from the Chair of the Legal Committee that took the adverse disciplinary action. The foregoing shall constitute the Final Appeal Record.

 

I. If the Review Panel determines that a hearing on the Final Appeal is not necessary, ABO staff shall notify the appellant (1) of that decision and (2) that the appellant may submit a written statement relating to the matter for the Panel's consideration. Such statement must be submitted no later than 15 calendar days after the date of the notice. The Review Panel shall review the Final Appeal Record and any statement timely submitted by the appellant, and shall determine by majority vote of those members voting, whether to affirm, reverse, or modify the Adverse Decision. If the appellant's statement contains new factual information that was unavailable to the Legal Committee, the matter may be referred back to the Legal Committee for reconsideration. The appellant shall be notified in writing of the decision, including the reasons therefor, within 30 days after the Review Panel reaches its decision.

 

J. If the Review Panel determines that a hearing on the Final Appeal may be useful, it shall set a hearing no later than 60 days after its decision to hold a hearing The Chair of the Legal Committee that took the action shall present the view of the Legal Committee, but shall not participate in deliberations regarding, or vote on, the matter. The hearing will be by telephone unless otherwise determined by the Review Panel.

 

K. 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 or appeal of any decision in the matter.

 

L. Not less than 15 days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing, the ABO shall notify the appellant in writing of the date and time of the hearing. The Notice of Hearing also shall advise the appellant that he or she:

 

1. may participate in the hearing

 

2. may be assisted by legal counsel; and

 

3. may submit a written statement relating to the matter for the Review Panel’s consideration.

 

M. All expenses of the appellant in connection with an appeal shall be borne by the appellant.

 

N. The appellant's written statement of intent to participate in a hearing, stating whether it will be with or without legal counsel, and the appellant's written statement must be received by the ABO no later than 5 days before the scheduled date of the hearing. If counsel will be present, he/she must be identified in the statement. If the Review Panel determines that the appeal raised a question of policy that should be determined by the Board of Directors, it will refer to the Board.

 

O. An appellant who chooses to participate in a hearing shall be given the opportunity to make a statement summarizing his or her position, or to have legal counsel make such a statement. The Review Panel shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence usually employed in legal proceedings, but may consider any evidence it deems appropriate. If the appellant's written or oral statement contains new factual information that was unavailable to the Legal Committee, the Review Panel may refer the matter back to the Legal Committee for reconsideration.

 

P. A record of the proceedings shall be kept. A copy of the hearing record shall be made available to the appellant upon payment by appellant of the cost of reproduction. All expenses incurred by the appellant in connection with the hearing shall be borne by the appellant. If the appellant requests to participate in the hearing, but fails to do so no other opportunity for participation shall be provided.

 

Q. Following the hearing, the Review Panel shall determine by majority vote of those members voting whether to affirm, reverse, or modify the Decision of the Legal Committee. The appellant shall be notified in writing of the decision, including the reasons therefor, within 30 days after the Final Appeal Committee reaches it decision.

 

R. All final decisions of the Review Panel, including the reasons therefor shall be reported to the Board of Directors.

 

S. 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 determined by the Board of Directors or the Executive Committee.