1.1. Review of Credentials, Applicants, Candidates, Registrants and Other Individuals
1.1.1. AAVR conducts a certification program; however, AAVR does not express an opinion on competence or warrant the job performance of anyone. AAVR examinations and their content are the property of AAVR. AAVR examinations are available only to those persons who desire in good faith to become certified by meeting AAVR requirements and successfully completing AAVR examinations. AAVR examinations and their content are not available to any other individual, and may not be used by anyone for any other purpose. In applying for certification or recertification, an applicant or registrant agrees that:
(A) The individual complies and will comply with all AAVR rules and standards in place now and in the future and bears the burden for showing and maintaining compliance at all times.
(B) The examinations, certificates, cards, logos, patches and emblems of AAVR, the name American Association of Veterinary Radiology AAVR®, Registered Veterinary Medical Sonographer , RVMS and abbreviations relating thereto are all the exclusive property of AAVR, and may not be used in any way without the express written consent of AAVR; registrants are permitted to use AAVR property only in accordance with AAVR rules. AAVR does not recognize or authorize theterm “Registry-eligible” as it pertains to AAVR.
(C) The individual shall immediately relinquish, refrain from using and correct at the individual's expense any outdated or other inaccurate use of any AAVR certificate, card, logo, patch, emblem, and AAVR name and other designations and abbreviations (such as those mentioned in Section 2.6.1 (B) above) in case of suspension, limitation, revocation, failure to meet AAVR requirements, or as otherwise requested by AAVR.
(D) If the individual refuses to relinquish immediately, refrain from using and correct at his or her expense any misuse or misleading use of any of the above items when requested, the individual agrees that AAVR shall beentitled to obtain injunctive relief, damages costs and attorney's fees incurred in obtaining any such or other relief.
1.1.2. Eligibility for Certification or Recertification
(A) No individual is eligible to apply for certification or recertification unless incompliance with all AAVR rules and standards. AAVR may deny, revoke, suspend, or otherwise act upon certification or recertification, or eligibility toapply or sit for AAVR examinations, where an individual is not in compliance with AAVR rules and standards.
(B) The individual must truthfully complete and sign an application in the form provided by AAVR and shall provide additional information as requested. The individual must notify AAVR of any change of address, telephone number, and any other facts bearing on eligibility, certification, continued certification or recertification within thirty (30) days of such an occurrence. All documents, communications or other information provided to AAVR are the property of AAVR and will not be returned.
(C) Applicants for initial certification, registrants, and applicants for recertificationare required to notify AAVR immediately of any conviction, guilty plea, or nolo contendere plea or any disciplinary action taken by a state licensing board, state or Federal agency, or national professional association related to the public health or the provision of diagnostic medical sonography or vascular technology services.
(D) An individual may request a pre-application interpretation of AAVR eligibility rules pertaining to criminal matters upon submission of a completed form provided by AAVR for this purpose, compliance with AAVR rules posted on the AAVR website and/or available in print, and payment of a nonrefundable review fee. AAVR may grant, deny or hold in abeyance a determination on such request.
(E) In order to apply for AAVR certification or recertification or to maintain current certification, applicants, candidates and registrants agree that they waive all claims against and will hold harmless AAVR, its staff, volunteersand agents, which arise out of or relate to AAVR' assessment and communication concerning certification and recertification application review,examination administration, certification and recertification decisions, the furnishing or inspection of documents, records and other information, and/orAAVR investigation and review of eligibility or alleged violations of AAVR standards (Section 2.6.4).
1.1.3. Score Reports
AAVR is concerned with reporting only valid scores. On rare occasions, misconduct or circumstances beyond the individual's control may render a scoreinvalid. If doubts are raised about a score because of these or other circumstances,
AAVR Disciplinary Policies Administration
AAVR expects all individuals to cooperate in any AAVR investigation. AAVR reserves the right to cancel any exam score if, in the sole opinion of AAVR, there is adequate reason to question its validity. AAVR in its discretion will (i) offer the individual an opportunity to retake the examination again at no additional fee; (ii) offer the individual an opportunity to retake the examination again in ordinary course,including payment of all fees; or (iii) proceed as described in Section 2.6.4, Review of Applicants and Certificants, below. For administrative exam irregularities (not processed under Section 2.6.4. of these Policies), the Executive Director, on advice from the Director of Testing, will review the matter and decide whether to cancel the exam scores, and whether the candidate may be offered a retest (i) at AAVRexpense, or (ii) at the candidate's expense.
1.1.4. Review of Applicants and Certificants 18.104.22.168 Grounds for Discipline
The following may provide grounds for sanction:
(A) Engaging in fraud, misrepresentation, deception, or concealment of a materialfact in connection with obtaining or renewing AAVR certification on one's own behalf or that of another;
(B) Having been convicted of, plead guilty to, or plead nolo contendere to a misdemeanor or felony related to the public health or the provision ofdiagnostic medical sonography services ;
(C) Having had disciplinary action taken by a state licensing board, state orfederal agency, or national professional association on grounds that related to the public health or the provision of diagnostic medical sonography services; and
(D) Failure to cooperate with AAVR concerning investigations of alleged grounds for discipline under Section 22.214.171.124, including the collection ofrelevant information.
Violations may result in one or more of the following sanctions:
(A) Revocation, meaning the permanent loss of certification;
(B) Suspension, meaning the loss of certification for a specified period, afterwhich the individual may be required to apply for reinstatement;
(C) Probation, meaning that continued certification is subject to fulfillment ofspecified conditions, including, without limitation, reexamination, educational requirements, monitoring, supervision, counseling, participation in the impaired provider process, reports to AAVR, and/or other appropriateconditions;
(D) Censure, meaning a formal expression of disapproval that is publicly announced; (E) Reprimand, meaning a formal expression of disapproval addressed to the individual, but which is not publicly announced; and (F) Ineligibility for Certification, meaning that the individual is barred from becoming certified, either indefinitely or for a specific period.
126.96.36.199 Initial Investigation and Action
(A) Investigation. Upon the receipt of information indicating that an individual applicant or a certificant ("subject") may be subject to discipline for violations of Section 188.8.131.52, AAVR staff shall investigate the allegations and to reportits findings and recommendations to the AAVR council. In conducting its investigation, the staff shall send a letter to the subject requesting his or her response to the allegations.
(B) AAVR council. The AAVR council shall oversee the certification process and consist of three members: the Chair of the Board, the Chair ofthe Certification process, and a third person appointed by the Chair of theBoard.
(C) Action. After reviewing the staff's findings and recommendations, the AAVR council shall determine whether to: (i) dismiss the complaint due to insufficient evidence concerning grounds for discipline under Section 184.108.40.206, the matter being insufficiently serious, or for other appropriate reasons; or (ii) agree with staff findings and recommendations; or (iii) make alternative disciplinary recommendations.
(D) Charging Letter. If disciplinary action is recommended, the subject shall besent a letter that sets forth the alleged facts and grounds for discipline under Section 220.127.116.11. The letter shall inform the subject of his or her right torequest a hearing within 30 days of receiving the letter. Pursuant to Section18.104.22.168, the AAVR council also may include a proposed settlement agreement with the charging letter.
(A) Notice of Hearing. If a subject requests a hearing, AAVR staff shall arrangea meeting of a AAVR council and send a hearing notice to the subject. The notice shall state the time and place of the hearing. Hearings will either beheld telephonically or in-person at a time and place determined by AAVR.
(B) Hearing Panel Composition. The Chair of the Board shall appoint a Hearing Panel consisting of three AAVR members. Those appointed shall not have any prior involvement in the case, nor shall they have any personal or professional conflicts of interest with regard to the subject.
(C) Subject's Representation and Expenses. The subject may be represented atthe hearing by his or her legal counsel. The subject shall be solely responsible for all of his or her own expenses related to the hearing.
(D) Evidence. The Hearing Panel may consider any evidence which it deems appropriate and relevant.
(E) Standard of Proof. The Hearing Panel shall sanction a subject only when there is clear and convincing evidence of grounds for sanction under Section 22.214.171.124.
(F) Procedure When No Hearing Requested. If the subject did not respond to the charging letter, the Hearing Panel shall review the matter, but is not required to conduct an in-person hearing.
(G) Hearing Panel Decision. The Hearing Panel shall render its decision bymajority vote and shall issue a written opinion within 30 days of the hearing. The opinion shall describe its findings of fact, application of Section 126.96.36.199's standards to the facts, any sanctions imposed on the subject, and requirements for reinstatement.
(A) Request for Appeal. A subject must make a request for an appeal in writing within 30 days following receipt of the decision of the Hearing Panel. If no appeal is made, the matter is considered final upon issuance of the Hearing Panel's opinion.
(B) Appeal Panel Composition. The Chair of the Board shall appoint three Board members to serve as the Appeal Panel. Those appointed shall not have any prior involvement in the case, nor shall they have any personal or professionalconflicts of interest with regard to the subject.
(C) Time in Which Appeal Must Be Decided. The appeal normally shall be shall be heard within 120 days of the appeal request, unless the Appeal Panel determines that cause exists for extending that time limit.
(D) Appeal Procedure. The appeal shall consist of a review of the written record developed by the Hearing Panel and any additional materials submitted by the subject. The appeal shall not consist of an in-person hearing.
(E) Standard of Review. The Appeal Panel may overturn or modify the Hearing Panel's decision only if it determines by majority vote that the Hearing Panel's decision was arbitrary and capricious. Otherwise, it must affirm the Hearing Panel's decision.
(F) Appeal Panel Decision. The Appeal Panel shall issue a written opinion within 30 days that sets forth the basis for its decision. Upon the issuance of the opinion, the matter is considered final.
If permitted under a subject's sanctions, the subject may request reinstatement. The subject must submit a written request that sets forth the grounds which the subject believes justifies reinstatement. In its discretion, the staff may request additiona linformation and documentation concerning the grounds for reinstatement. The subject's request shall be considered generally in accordance with Sections 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206. Requests for reinstatement will be heard before the Disciplinary Reinstatement Panel. Reinstatement hearings may be held in-person ortelephonically. If the subject's request for reinstatement is granted, the individualshall apply as a first-time applicant.
Informal dispositions may be made of any contested case by settlement or by another method agreed upon by the subject and the AAVR council, without prejudice to the AAVR's ability to institute disciplinary proceedings based upon the same or related material if circumstances so warrant.
All notifications referred to in these procedures shall be in writing and shall be by certified, return receipt mail or commercial delivery service that tracks delivery.
1.1.5. Non-Disciplinary Appeals Policy
AAVR initial staff decisions denying applications based on ineligibility to take an examination or recertification, and disruptive examination conditions, may be appealed to AAVR council. The grounds for appeal to the AAVR council are only those statedabove. An appeal to the AAVR council must be made in writing and received byAAVR within 30 days of (i) the date on which AAVR mailed the notice denying eligibility to take the examination or recertification; or (ii) the date on which a disruptive examination condition occurred. The written appeal must identify the precise factual basis, applicable rules or examination conditions which are the basis for the appeal. The AAVR council shall be composed of two or more AAVR registrants who have at least 5 years previous experience in ultrasound and/or testing. Upon receipt of an appeal, the Chair shall appoint qualified registrants to serve on an Appeal Panel. If an Appeal Panel is appointed, the Appeal Panel members shall serve on the Appeal Panel for one year. An Appeal Panel may hear more than one appeal and more than one Appeal Panel may be convened in the discretion of the Chair. The Appeal Panel shall review the written appeal and all supporting documentation. The Appeal Panel shall reasonably attempt to decide any appeal of an eligibility denial prior to the examination date for which the applicant originally applied. In the discretion of the Appeal Panel, if additional information is necessary, the Appeal Panel may schedule a telephone conference and/or request additional documentation from the individual requesting the appeal or any other individuals who may have knowledge of facts relevant to the appeal. The Appeal Panel shall by majority vote make one of the following recommendations: 1. To reverse the decision denying eligibility to take the examination or recertification; 2. To affirm the decision denying eligibility to take the examination or recertification; or3. If the Appeal Panel finds that examination conditions may have impaired the validity of an examination score, that the candidate be given a retest at no charge to thecandidate. The recommendation of the Appeal Panel, along with all documentation relating to the appeal, shall be submitted to the AAVR council for a final vote on the appeal. The council shall review the appeal and the Appeal Panel's recommendation and shall render a decision on the appeal by majority vote of the council members. The decision of the AAVR council shall be final.
AAVR shall make available to the public by electronic and/or print means a list with appropriate definitions or explanation of: (a) AAVR Directory of Registrants; (b) Persons Currently Under AAVR Sanction; and (c) Persons No Longer Certified.