The following procedures shall govern any disciplinary proceedings of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (“ASSH” or “Hand Society”) conducted to consider alleged violations of Article III, Section 5 of the ASSH Bylaws.
Investigation and Hearing
- The Complaint and Initiation of Proceedings
- Complaints against members may only be submitted by a member and must be submitted within a reasonable period of time after the occurrence of the alleged act. Complaints shall be submitted in writing to the ASSH Executive Director and signed by the complaining party. Complaints must include: (i) an authorization by the complainant(s) to forward the complaint to the involved member and/or any third parties that Council deems relevant; (ii) a description of the alleged violation; and (iii) specific references to the activities or conduct supporting the complaint.
- Upon receipt, the Executive Director shall refer the complaint to the President. In consultation with the Executive Director and legal counsel, the President shall review the complaint to determine whether it is appropriate for formal consideration by an ad-hoc committee appointed by the President (“Disciplinary Committee”). If the President determines that the complaint does not warrant such consideration, he or she shall so notify the complaining party and the Executive Director, and the matter will be closed.
- If the matter is referred to the Disciplinary Committee, it shall determine whether the complaint warrants a full investigation. If the Committee determines that the complaint does not warrant a full investigation, the Chair shall so notify the complaining party and the Executive Director, and the matter shall be closed. If the Committee determines that the complaint does warrant a full investigation, the Chair shall notify the affected member that a complaint has been filed, that an investigation will be conducted, and that the member shall be advised of the results. The notice shall be sent by overnight, registered, or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the affected member at the address listed for the member in the Hand Society’s records. The Chair shall further notify the President and the Executive Director that an investigation is in process.
- In conducting the investigation, the Disciplinary Committee may obtain the assistance of ASSH Staff and consult with ASSH legal counsel whenever in its judgment such consultation is necessary or appropriate, subject to approval by the Executive Director. In addition, the Committee may contact the complaining party, the affected party, and other relevant parties to obtain additional information, as necessary.
- The Disciplinary Committee may, but need not, conduct a hearing as part of its investigation; provided, however, that no adverse action shall be taken against an affected member without having first afforded him or her the opportunity for a hearing before the Disciplinary Committee.
- If the Disciplinary Committee determines that a hearing is not warranted, the Chair shall notify the affected member (by overnight, registered, or certified mail, return receipt requested), the complaining party, the President, and the Executive Director, and the matter shall be closed. The Disciplinary Committee also may refer the complaint to a state or county medical society, a state licensing body or to another medical professional society.
- If the Disciplinary Committee determines that a hearing is warranted, the Chair shall notify the affected party in writing, by overnight, registered, or certified mail, return receipt requested, of the time and place of the hearing, which hearing shall be held no less than thirty (30) days after the date of such notice.
- During the hearing, the affected member shall have full access to the evidence against him or her, and shall have the right to: (i) appear at such hearing in person, with legal counsel if desired; (ii) rebut the information produced by the Committee; (iii) present witnesses; and (iv) submit pertinent evidence.
- An affected member who fails to attend a hearing shall be deemed to have waived his or her right to appear.
- The Disciplinary Committee may have legal counsel present at any such hearing to advise on issues of procedure and, under appropriate circumstances, to present the Committee’s position on a disciplinary matter.
- A hearing may be postponed, recessed, or reconvened for good cause in the sole discretion of the Disciplinary Committee.
- Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the Disciplinary Committee shall convene in closed session (other than legal counsel and staff as appropriate) to determine whether the affected member has engaged in conduct for which disciplinary action should be taken.
- If the Committee determines that disciplinary action should not be taken, the matter shall be closed.
- If the Committee determines, by a two-thirds vote of the Committee members present, that the affected member has engaged in activity in violation of Article III, Section 5 of the ASSH Bylaws, the Committee shall recommend to Council that disciplinary action be taken against the affected member. Such recommendation shall be in writing and shall set forth the Committee’s findings and recommended disciplinary action.
- The affected member shall be provided with a copy of the Committee’s recommendation and shall have the right to have Council review the Committee’s recommendation.
- The Chair of the Disciplinary Committee shall notify the following individuals of the Committee’s recommendation: the affected member (by overnight, registered, or certified mail, return receipt requested), the complaining party, the President, and the Executive Director. Further, the Chair shall notify the affected member of the procedures for requesting Council review.
- If no written request for review is received by ASSH within thirty (30) days after the Disciplinary Committee notifies the member of its recommendation and the member’s right to a review, the decision shall be final and implemented by the Council.
- A. If a request for Council review is submitted, Council, in a timely fashion, shall review the findings and recommendations of the Disciplinary Committee based only on the evidence upon which the recommendation was based.
- B. The affected member shall be given at least thirty (30) days’ notice of the time and place of the meeting at which Council will consider the request. The affected member shall have the right to appear before Council in person and/or be represented by counsel to present reasons why the Disciplinary Committee’s recommendation should not be accepted.
- C. Council may have legal counsel present at any such hearing to advise on issues of procedure and represent the Hand Society’s interests in the disciplinary matter.
- D. Upon the conclusion of its review, Council shall affirm, overturn, or modify the recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee. The action of Council shall be final.
Forms of Discipline
- E. The President shall notify the following individuals of Council’s decision: the affected member (by overnight, registered, or certified mail, return receipt requested), the complaining party, the Executive Director, and others as appropriate.
- The disciplinary measures which may be imposed upon a member may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
- Private: a written letter of censure advising the affected member that he or she has been found guilty of the conduct and/or the violation or violations charged, expressing appropriate concern and warning of the potential for more severe sanctions if a future violation occurs.
- Public: a written letter of censure similar in form to (i) above, which may, but need not, be published in summary form or otherwise by ASSH.
- Suspension. The member shall lose all rights of membership for the period imposed by ASSH, up to three (3) years. The fact of the member’s suspension may, but need not, be published by ASSH.
- Expulsion. The member shall lose all rights of membership in ASSH. After a period of five (5) years, the member may reapply for membership. The fact of the member’s expulsion may, but need not, be published by ASSH.