14-02 (CLOSED): A consumer complaint by parents was filed against a member, questioning accuracy and thoroughness of pediatric test results, hearing aid selection and verification, intervention, and follow-up recommendations. The EPC communicated with the respondent for additional information regarding potential noncompliance with the Academy’s COE, and the EPC provided a final decision with educational recommendations. The member appealed the EPC final decision, and the Academy Board of Directors (BOD) accepted the appeal on the grounds that the respondent was placed in an unfair position in recognition of the ongoing legal proceedings. The complainant was notified by the BOD of this decision, and no further action was taken.
14-04 (CLOSED): A member requested an opinion regarding the potential conflicts between the Academy’s COE and contractual requirements of a specific buying group and its contracted members, including those who might be members of the Academy. Because this case did not name a specific member and, given the more global issues of this case and the inability of the EPC to sanction nonmembers of the Academy (including individuals and organizations), the 2016 restructured EPC, with BOD input, closed the case in 2017. The complainant was advised to address concerns to the appropriate legal and regulatory agencies.
15-01 (OPEN): A complaint was filed against a member regarding reported use of ethnically offensive language during testing. The member denied the details of the accusation and has filed suit against the complainant, who had also posted a negative review on social media. The case is still open, pending outcome of legal action filed by the member, with anticipated resolution in 2018.
15-03 (CLOSED): A complaint was filed alleging discriminatory, abusive, demeaning and insulting behavior of a member, noting that the member refused to see patient for testing and hearing aid adjustment because his hearing aids were purchased from an internet company (unknown by the providing office at the time of appointment booking). The complainant subsequently billed the member for travel time to the office, wait time in the office, mileage, and late payment penalty. The complainant also posted derogatory remarks on the web regarding the member. After review of communications and input from the BOD, given the nature of the complaints and the jurisdiction of the EPC, it was determined that the EPC is unable to respond further without resolution with the appropriate local governing board, and the case has been closed.
New Complaint Submission Guidelines
The EPC has developed a formal complaint form to aid Academy Staff and EPC members in obtaining the necessary details to adequately address a complaint.
Ethics Inquiry and Complaint Guidelines
The EPC has developed new guidelines with definitions, procedures, and response timelines for Inquiries and Complaints.
Common inquiries include the following:
- Are inquiries and/or complaints confidential?
- Can the EPC become involved if I suspect a manufacturer or buying group does not appear to be in compliance with the Academy COE?
- Am I bound to report unethical behaviors of other Academy members?
- How should I introduce myself as an audiologist if I have an AuD degree?
- Is it ethical to offer patients incentives for referring other patients to my practice?
- Is it ethical to market services by an audiologist when some of the offices in a practice with multiple offices are staffed by hearing aid specialists exclusively?
- Is it appropriate to limit the hearing aid options in my practice to one manufacturer?
- Can an insurance company dictate my hearing aid options?
- Can members accept an invitation to a manufacturer-sponsored CE event?
- Do we have a responsibility to ensure our AuD students are eligible for ASHA CCCs?
- What is my responsibility in ensuring my AuD students have clinical rotations that meet best practices?
- And more….
For more information about the Ethical Practices Committee, contact the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.