What is the Arkansas Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (ABESPA)?
The Arkansas Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (ABESPA) was created by the Arkansas Legislature to safeguard the public’s health, safety, and welfare. ABESPA is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of speech-language pathology and audiology practice.
Individuals who seek the provisions of speech-language pathology and audiology services are entitled to receive quality care. In pursuit of that goal the Board’s mission is to assure a process is provided by which consumers may file complaints against licensees or persons practicing speech-language pathology or audiology without a license.
Who can/should file a complaint?
A complaint should be filed by anyone who believes that an individual has acted illegally, irresponsibly, or unprofessionally in providing care to a client. The most effective complaints are those that contain verifiable, firsthand information. The Board cannot act on anonymous complaints. To that end all complaints must include a signature.
What types of complaints does ABESPA handle?
- Violations of the Code of Ethics
- Violations of the Rules and Regulations
- Violation of the Practice Act
- Unlicensed Practice
What types of complaints are outside of ABESPA’s jurisdiction?
- Fee or billing disputes
- Personal conflicts
- Persons not licensed by our Board
How do I file a complaint?
A complaint must be submitted in writing and signed before it can be processed. Individuals who file complaints are notified in writing of the status of their complaint throughout the process.
When submitting a complaint, a statement should be provided in the individuals own words, which explains the nature of their complaint. Provide as much detail as possible as well as any copies of documents, such as patient records, photographs, contracts, correspondence, etc. that can be used as evidence. Original copies should not be provided. Dates, times, and the type of service received should be included when possible. It is not necessary to cite sections of the law that have allegedly been violated.
How are complaints processed?
Notification of the receipt of the complaint will be mailed to the complainant. While confidential and not public record, the board must disclose information to the licensee regarding the complaint. Licensees who are named in the complaint are given 30 days to respond to any accusations.
Complaints are reviewed by board members at the next regularly scheduled meeting. The board may dispose of the complaint informally through correspondence or conference or may forward the complaint to an investigation officer.
If forwarded to an investigator, that investigator may contact the complainant during the course of the investigation.
Are licensees required to report unprofessional conduct by colleagues?
The ABESPA Code of Ethics mandates that the licensee is responsible for reporting alleged misrepresentation or violation of the act or rules to the Board.