- In order to be processed by the American College of Healthcare Executives, a complaint must be filed in writing to the ACHE Ethics Committee within three years of the date of discovery of the alleged violation. The committee has the responsibility to look into incidents brought to its attention regardless of the informality of the information, provided the information can be documented or supported or may be a matter of public record. The three-year period within which a complaint must be filed shall temporarily cease to run during intervals when the accused affiliate is in inactive status or when the accused is not an ACHE affiliate.
- The committee chairman with the assistance of the appropriate staff initially will determine whether the complaint is an ethical conflict that falls within the purview of the Ethics Committee and is potentially a violation of the Code of Ethics. If it is not, no action will be taken on the complaint and the committee chairman may communicate this determination to the complainant. If it is, the committee chairman may determine the appropriate course of action from the following three options:
- Initiation of a grievance proceeding before the Ethics Committee;
- Referral for investigation, after which the chairman will choose between Options 1 and 3; or
- Communication by the chairman to the respondent, orally or in writing, counseling the respondent that, if the allegations are true, the allegations would constitute inappropriate behavior and the respondent should be mindful of the ACHE Code of Ethics. This option would be used only for complaints that do not, in the judgment of the chairman, allege a material breach of the Code of Ethics.
- If a grievance proceeding
- Specifics of the complaint will be sent to the respondent by certified mail or courier service. In such mailing, committee staff will inform the respondent that the grievance proceeding has been initiated and the respondent may respond directly to the Ethics Committee; the respondent also will be asked to cooperate with the ACHE staff or their designees investigating the complaint.
- ACHE staff shall contact the appropriate Regent if such contact will further the investigation.
- Upon completion of the investigation, the ACHE staff shall present a report in writing to the Ethics Committee. Absent unusual circumstances, the ACHE staff is expected to have the report completed and provide it to the committee within 60 days.
- Upon the committee's receipt of the report, the committee shall review it and determine if the grievance procedure should continue. If the committee so determines, it shall schedule a hearing, which the respondent may attend at his or her option and at which the respondent may be represented by counsel. The hearing may be conducted by means of a telephone conference or other means determined by the committee. The respondent may submit written material in lieu of attendance at the hearing or as a supplement to hearing testimony, according to a schedule determined by the Ethics Committee.
- The Committee shall make its written recommendation to the Board of Governors as to what action shall be taken and the reasons therefore. The Board of Governor's shall make a decision, and a copy of the Board of Governor's decision will be mailed to the respondent by certified mail or courier service. In such mailing, the respondent will be notified that, within 30 days after the mail date of the Board of Governor's recommended decision, the respondent may file a written appeal of the decision with the Board of Governors.
- If an appeal to the Board of Governors is filed timely, the ACHE Chairman shall appoint an ad hoc committee consisting of three Fellows to consider the appeal. The ad hoc committee shall notify the respondent of the deadline for the submission of any written material supporting the appeal. The ad hoc committee shall have the power to affirm the decision of the Board of Governor's or to impose lesser, but not greater, discipline.
- The decision of the ad hoc committee shall be delivered to the respondent. The decision of the ad hoc committee is final.
- At each level of the grievance proceeding, the Board of Governors, ACHE staff or their designees may notify or contact the complainant relating to the grievance proceeding; provided, however, that the complainant shall be notified as to whether the complaint was reviewed by the Ethics Committee and whether ACHE has taken final action with respect to the complaint.
- No individual shall participate in these grievance proceedings on behalf of ACHE if he or she is in direct economic competition with the respondent or otherwise has a conflict of interest in the matter, unless such conflict is disclosed to and waived in writing by the respondent.
- All information obtained, reviewed, discussed and otherwise used or developed in a grievance proceeding that is not otherwise publicly known, publicly available, or part of the public domain is considered to be privileged and strictly confidential information of ACHE, and is not to be disclosed to anyone outside of the grievance proceeding except as required for the investigation, as determined by the Board of Governors or as required by law; provided, however, that an individual's membership status is not confidential and may be made available to the public upon request.
The following are possible
outcomes of grievance procedures:
- Determination that the grievance complaint is invalid.
Dismissal of the grievance complaint.
Consultation: an educational communication with the respondent.
Censure: a stern reprimand based on the outcome of the grievance procedure which does not suspend or terminate membership.
Suspension of membership, which may be for a specified minimum period of time or may be contingent on specified criteria.
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