The American Board of Dermatology recognizes a candidate's right of appeal following an adverse action at any stage of the certification process. Within the residency program, trainees must be accorded due process in compliance with provisions established by the parent institution and as stipulated in the Essentials of Accredited Residencies in Graduate Medical Education, (effective July 1, 1992) of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
Any candidate for certification (primary specialty or subspecialty) or maintenance of certification shall be given prompt written notice of any adverse decision by the Board. Such notice shall briefly state the reason for the adverse decision. It shall advise whether or not the candidate has a right to appeal the decision and shall include a copy of this document.
A candidate found to have engaged in cheating or other irregular behavior in connection with an examination may appeal the Board's finding, any consequent invalidation of the candidate's examination and any disbarment from future examinations. Such appeal must be received in the Board office within 30 days of mailing the notification of the finding by the Board.
Request for Appeal
Any physician (a) whose credentials for eligibility to sit for an ABD examination have not been approved, or (b) who has been denied certification for a reason other than receipt of a failing grade on the examination, or (c) whose certification or maintenance of certification has been revoked, or (d) whose application for reinstatement has been denied, shall have a right to appeal the adverse decision by submitting a written request for appeal in compliance with this policy on Review of Adverse Decisions. Such request must contain a concise statement of why the physician believes that the adverse decision was improper, must include any supporting material that the physician wishes to have considered, and must be received in the Office of the Board within 30 days after the date of the Board's notice of an adverse decision. The request may also include a request for a hearing. If a proper request for appeal is not received within 30 days, the adverse decision shall constitute the final decision of the Board
Review by Appeals Committee
Each proper and timely request for appeal will be reviewed by an Appeals Committee consisting of three individuals appointed by the President. No member of the Appeals Committee shall have participated in the adverse decision under review unless that decision was made by the full Board of Directors. The Appeals Committee, after reviewing the request for appeal, shall either (a) affirm, reverse, or modify the adverse decision or (b) grant a hearing if one has been requested and the Committee determines that a hearing might be useful.
If the Appeals Committee determines that a hearing might be useful, it shall schedule a hearing within 60 days after that determination. Not less than 30 days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing, the Appeals Committee shall notify the physician in writing of the date, time, and place of the hearing. The Appeals Committee, at its sole discretion, may determine whether legal counsel for the physician may be present at the hearing and the extent to which such counsel may participate.
The physician's written intent to appear at the hearing must be received in the Office of the Board not later than 14 days before the scheduled date of the hearing. A physician who chooses to appear shall be given the opportunity to make a statement summarizing his/her position. The Appeals Committee shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence usually employed in legal proceedings, but may consider any evidence it deems appropriate. A record of the proceedings shall be kept. A copy of the hearing record shall be made available to the physician upon payment of the cost of reproduction. All expenses incurred by the physician in connection with the hearing shall be borne by the physician.
Following the hearing, the Appeals Committee shall determine whether to affirm, reverse, or modify the adverse decision. The physician shall be promptly notified in writing of the action of the Appeals Committee and the reason for the action. The Committee's action in affirming, reversing, or modifying the adverse decision shall be subject only to ratification by the Board of Directors.
Review by the Board of Directors
The action of the Appeals Committee shall be reviewed no later than the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall ratify the action of the Appeals Committee unless it finds that action to have been arbitrary, unreasonable, or not sustained by the record. The physician shall be promptly notified of the Board's decision. The decision of the Board of Directors shall constitute the final action of the Board on the matter.
Decisions by Residency Program or Program Director
Decisions by a physician's Residency Program, Program Director, or sponsoring institution regarding credit for training or any other matter shall not be appealable to the Board. Any disagreement by a physician with such decisions should be communicated to the Residency Program, Program Director, or sponsoring institution. The Board will not second-guess judgments of these entities. However, the physician may contact the Board to determine what further steps, if any, may be available.
Decisions Based on Failure of a Certifying Examination
Adverse decisions based on a physician's receipt of a failing grade on an ABD examination shall not be appealable. Instead, the physician may, within 30 days after the mailing of the examination results, request rescoring of the examination by hand. Such request must be accompanied by payment of a fee of $35. Upon receipt of a proper and timely request for rescoring, the Board shall have the examination rescored by hand. It shall communicate the rescored results to the physician promptly after receiving those results.