What is the Louisiana Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (LBESPA)?
The Louisiana Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (LBESPA) was created by the Louisiana Legislature to safeguard the public's health, safety, and welfare. It is one of the professional boards within the Department of Health and Hospitals. LBESPA 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/or audiology services are entitled to receive quality care. That is why the Boards's mission is to assure pursuing this goal, a process is provided by which consumers may file complaints against licensees or persons practicing speech-language pathology or audiology without a license.
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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 firsthand, verifiable information. The Board cannot act on anonymous complaints. Therefore all complaints must include a signature.
What Types of Complaints Does LBESPA Handle?
Complaints under the jurisdiction of LBESPA include:
- Violation of the Code of Ethics
- Violation of the LBESPA Rules and Regulations
- Violation of the Practice Act
What Types of Complaints are outside of LBESPA's Jurisdiction?
LBESPA does not investigate fee or billing disputes, or personality conflicts. LBESPA does not have jurisdiction over persons who are licensed by other boards or those exempt under R.S.37:2653 of the Practice Act. These types of complaints will be referred to the appropriate agency, and the complainant will be notified.
How do I File a Complaint?
A complaint must first 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 through out the process.
When submitting a complaint, a statement should be provided in the individual's own words, which explains the nature of the complaint. As much detail as possible should be stated, as well as copies of any documents, such as patient records, photographs, contracts, correspondence, etc., that can be used as evidence. Original copies should not be mailed. Dates, times, and the type of service received should be included whenever possible. It is not necessary to cite sections of the law that have been violated.
How are Complaints Processed?
Notification of the receipt of the complaint will be mailed within (10) days of its arrival. 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 written complaint to a complaint investigation officer (CIO).
If forwarded to a CIO, the investigator may contact the complainant during the course of the investigation. While confidential and are not public record, they must be disclosed to the licensee at some point during the administrative process.
- Referral to the Attorney General.
- If the CIO, recommends a formal disciplinary hearing and the board accepts the recommendation, the complaint is forwarded to the Attorney General who represents the State in the matter.
- Consent Orders
- The CIO or the Attorney General may resolve a complaint through a consent order entered into by the licensee, the complainant and the board. If the order contains any agreement by the licensee to some remedial course of action, the agreement must be signed by the complainant, the licensee, and the board, and it becomes a matter of public record.
- Formal Disciplinary Hearing
- The licensee is notified 30 days in advance by certified mail of a disciplinary hearing along with a formal statement of the charges. The letter of notice and the hearing, are governed by the Administrative Procedure Act (R.S.49:955).
- The licensee is advised of the right to be represented by legal counsel and that a court reporter will be present to make an accurate recording of all testimony. The burden of proof in a disciplinary hearing rests upon the Attorney General who brings the charges before the Board.
- Final decisions are matters of public record, and copies are available upon requests. The complainant is always mailed a copy of LBESPA's final decision. The hearing process can take up to a year from the filing of the complaint to the date of the formal disciplinary hearing.
- Disciplinary Options: The following options are available to LBESPA:
- Revocation of license
- Suspension of license
- Restriction of license
- The Board will notify the professional community within 30 days of any disciplinary action, including the disciplined licensee's name, location, offense and sanction imposed. A notice of disciplinary action will also be published in the Board's newsletter.
Are Licensees Required to Report Unprofessional Conduct by Colleagues?
The LBESPA Code of Ethics mandates the licensee shall be responsible for reporting alleged misrepresentation or violation of the act or the rules to the Board.
Should Unlicensed Practice be Reported to LBESPA?
Yes. If there is evidence that a person is practicing without a license, LBESPA should be notified in writing. The Board will investigate the allegations and, if sufficient evidence is found, will refer the matter to the local District Attorney for prosecution.