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Ethics Committee Process & Procedures

ETHICS COMMITTEE OVERVIEW
The Healing Beyond Borders Ethics Committee is a standing committee of the Healing Beyond Borders Board of Directors. The Ethics Committee reviews complaints about any course of study student, Practitioner or Instructor and follows a standard procedure for reviewing and then ruling upon those complaints.  Members are appointed by the Board of Directors, and have expertise in biomedical ethics.

ETHICS COMITTEE STRUCTURE
The Ethics Committee divides into 2 sub-committees when a complaint is received.

  1. The Ethics Review Sub-Committee members who review the issues, and several members become the Investigative Team if needed. 
  2. An Ethics Appeals Sub-Committee of committee members who are not involved in the process, in the event of an appeal.

The following documents are used as criteria to review and investigate formal ethics complaints:  

  1. Healing Beyond Borders Code of Ethics/Standards of Practice for Healing Touch Practitioners
  2. Healing Beyond Borders Statement of Scope of Practice
  3. Healing Beyond Borders Instructor Guidelines
  4. Healing Beyond Borders Professional Development Series Instructor Guidelines

There are two categories of ethics complaints: Ethical complaints dealing with behaviors of individual(s), or administrative complaints dealing with behavior related to advertising or organizational matters. They will be discussed separately.

PROCESS FOR HANDLING ETHICAL COMPLAINTS  

Personal Attempt to Rectify the Situation
Every reasonable attempt should be made to address concerns with the individual(s) involved. If at all possible, this should be accomplished within 30 days of the alleged ethical violation.  If the issue is not resolved or this step is not prudent, proceed to the next step.

Filing a complaint
Complete the Confidential Ethics Complaint Form as soon as possible following the attempt to address concerns (see # 1) and mail it to the Healing Beyond Borders’ Office marked “confidential” addressed to:

Ethics Committee Chair
Healing Beyond Borders
445 Union Blvd, Suite 105
Lakewood, CO 80228
Office: 303-989-7982
Fax: 303-980-8683


Confidentiality
A copy of the original complaint will be given to the Ethics Committee. Complaints are kept confidential and are shared on a need to know basis with legal counsel and ethics consulting agencies, if necessary. The Healing Beyond Borders, Educating and Certifying the Healing Touch® Board of Directors is only notified that a complaint has come in, and then receives a confidential summary at the final disposition for review and approval. 

A copy of the original complaint may be given to the person named in the complaint at the discretion of the committee.  In situations where the Committee believes or receives information that the identity of the person filing the complaint needs to be kept confidential, the person named in the complaint will be notified in writing about the substance and nature of the complaint without revealing the filer’s name. 

Acknowledgement of the Complaint
The Ethics Chair or designated Ethics Committee member acknowledges receipt of complaint within seven (7) days of receipt.

Review of the Complaint
The Ethics Review Sub-Committee reviews the complaint and within thirty (30) days forwards it, plus possible violations identified by the Ethics Review Sub-Committee, to the person named in the complaint.  The Sub-Committee may also request additional information and clarification. 

Public Safety
The HTI Healing Touch Certification credential of the person named in the complaint may be placed under immediate temporary suspension for actions alleged that would constitute a felony in the state in which they occurred, any level of assault or sexual offense, or any action for which a state professional license could be revoked.   In the case of a Professional Development Instructor without HTI Healing Touch Certification Credentials, person named in the complaint may be placed under immediate temporary loss of participation and loss of continuing education in the Professional Development Series.

Named Person Response
The person named in the complaint has fourteen (14) days to respond with additional information and clarification. 

Investigation
The Ethics Review Sub-Committee reviews the written response from the person named in the complaint.  If necessary, the Ethics Chair or designated Ethics Committee member initiates the Investigating Team (IT) from the Ethics Review Sub-Committee to substantiate, expand or clarify details of the complaint and the response. The role of this group is to investigate the facts of the complaint.  The IT will endeavor to complete the investigation within thirty (30) days, but it is understood that a complex situation may require additional time.  No formal charges are made until all the facts are substantiated. 

Findings
If an IT is utilized, it forwards the investigation of facts to the Ethics Review Sub-Committee.  The Ethics Review Sub-Committee reviews and accepts the information or requests the IT to obtain additional information.

The Ethics Review Sub-Committee will then consider the original complaint, the IT’s investigation of facts, and the responses, if any, of the person named in the complaint in determining the disposition of the complaint.

No Charges 
If the Ethics Review Sub-Committee determines that no charge will be made, a letter of resolution is sent by certified mail to the person filing the complaint, and the person named in the complaint, stating that since no ethical standards were violated, no charges will be applied.

Charges Found
If it is determined that a charge will be made, the Ethics Review Sub-Committee draws up the charges, identifying the action and what ethical standards have been violated.   A letter of formal charges is sent by certified mail to the person named in the complaint and to the person filing the complaint as soon as possible after the decision. 

Response from Person Charged
If the person being charged believes that the charge(s) do/does not fit the facts of the situation, he or she has fourteen (14) days to refute or provide additional information in a written response to the Chair of the Ethics Committee, or to the designated Ethics Committee member.

Consideration and Corrective Action
The Ethics Review Sub-Committee will consider the original complaint, the investigation of facts, and any new information in the responses of the person named in the complaint when determining the disposition of the complaint.

If the Ethics Review Sub-Committee finds that the person named in the complaint has committed a violation, and fits the charges, a corrective action is determined.

Types of Corrective Action
Corrective Action can include requiring any of the following actions, but is not limited to: 

  • Letter of reprimand for the file
  • Remedial continuing education program
  • Peer support/supervision
  • Supervision of teaching for instructors
  • Personal counseling or therapy at own expense
  • Suspension of Healing Beyond Borders credentials for a period not to exceed 2 years
  • In the case of a Professional Development instructor without Healing Beyond Borders Credentials, suspension of participation and CE in the Professional Development series.
  • Revocation of Healing Beyond Borders credentials
  • In the case of a Professional Development Instructor without Healing Beyond Border Credentials, revocation of participation and CE in the Professional Development Series.
  • Notification to state licensing board
  • Legal action 
  • If suspension for a given amount of time is chosen as corrective action, the Ethics Review Sub-Committee will make a decision at the end of the time of suspension about whether to revoke or reinstate the person's Healing Beyond Borders credentials.

Conclusion
At the conclusion of the deliberation on a case, the Ethics Review Sub- Committee will submit a summary of the facts, charges, decision and corrective action, if any, to the Healing Beyond Borders, Educating and Certifying the Healing Touch® Board of Directors for review and approval. Names will be withheld. The Board can accept the decision as is, or can return parts of it to the Ethics Committee for reconsideration which will then be returned to the Healing Beyond Borders’ Board for final approval.

Notification of Decision
The person named in the complaint will be notified in writing by certified letter from the Ethics Review Sub-Committee decision as soon as possible after a decision is reached.   

Corrective Action Follow Through
The person named in the complaint is responsible for successfully carrying out the corrective action as stipulated. The corrective action will be completed within a reasonable time, as determined by the Ethics Review Sub-Committee members. 

All corrective action will be reviewed by the Ethics Review Sub-Committee and either be determined to be successfully met, or in need of further remediation. There may be a time table required for the corrective action to be successfully completed in stages. Remediation may require substantiation by professional expertise, depending on the required action. Failure to comply will result in revocation of Healing Beyond Borders Certification.

Appeal Process
The person named in the complaint may appeal the Ethics Committee decision to the Ethics Appeals Sub-Committee named by the Ethics Chairperson or designated Ethics Committee member.

The appeal must be made within fourteen (14) days from postmark of the decision letter and sent in writing to the Ethics Committee Chair or designated Ethics Committee member.

Ethics Committee Chair
Healing Beyond Borders, Educating and Certifying the Healing Touch®
445 Union Blvd, Suite 105
Lakewood, CO 80228
303-989-7982


Grounds for Appeal
Grounds for appeal are either that the HTI Ethics Committee Process and Procedures were not followed, or that there is significant new information about the facts of a case that could make a material difference in the decision.  No other grounds for appeal will be considered.

Members of the Ethics Appeals Subcommittee
The Ethics Appeals Sub-Committee members will not have been involved in the original decision or investigation of the case.

The Ethics Appeals Sub-Committee will have up to 90 days to review the case and determine the appeal outcome. At the conclusion of an appeal process, the Ethics Appeal Sub-Committee will submit a summary of its findings and recommendations, including charges, and remedies to the HTI Board of Directors for review and approval.

On deciding whether to accept decisions about appeals, the Board will review the summary to be sure that the Ethics Committee Process and Procedures were followed, and whether there is significant new information about the facts of a situation that could make a material difference in the decision of a case. The Board can accept and approve the decision as is, or can return parts of it to the Ethics Appeals Sub-Committee for reconsideration which will then be returned to the Healing Beyond Borders Board for final approval. 

Notification of Appeal Decision
When this is approved, the Ethics Committee Chair or designated Ethics Committee member will notify the person named in the complaint of the decision in writing as soon as possible by certified letter.

After the appeal date has expired, the case will be reported to the entire Ethics Committee so that all members of the Ethics Committee are informed in the event that a similar situation arises.

PROCESS FOR HANDLING ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINTS

The Ethics Committee Chair or designated Ethics Committee member will receive administrative complaints. 

Administrative complaints follow the same format and principles that are used for investigating ethical complaints.  The Healing Beyond Borders, Educating and Certifying the Healing Touch® Executive Director may be consulted by the Ethics Committee Chair as needed when handling Administrative Complaints.

Examples of administrative complaints include and are not limited to: misusing Healing Beyond Borders, Educating and Certifying the Healing Touch® logo, credentials, materials, or privileges of membership.

Approved: 7/1997
Revised: 7/2010
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