An adverse decision may occur at any one of a number of required steps in the AVMA ECFVG certification program. The described appeal steps below apply only to those decisions that are made by the ECFVG. Adverse decisions by the ECFVG may include, but are not necessarily limited to: (i) determination that proof of graduation is not adequate; (ii) determination that a candidate did not abide by rules of procedure during the examination; (iii) determination that any examination score is inadequate; (iv) determination regarding testing accommodation and (v) dismissal of candidate from the program.
In the event of an adverse decision by the ECFVG, the ECFVG shall advise the affected person, in writing, of the grounds therefore and of the procedure for appeal. An affected person may appeal the Commission's adverse decision on the following grounds only-that the ECFVG has ruled erroneously by: (i) disregarding the established AVMA criteria for certification of ECFVG candidates; (ii) failing to follow its stated procedures; or (iii) failing to consider relevant evidence and documentation presented. Appeals may only be submitted and processed through the ECFVG. Any attempt to appeal or lobby through other AVMA avenues will be considered void and shall not extend the time in which to file an appeal.
If an ECFVG candidate applies to retake a failed examination while an appeal is pending, any examination fees paid will not be refunded, even if the appeal is successful and the candidate does not retake the examination. If a candidate files an appeal regarding a failed section(s) of the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE; ECFVG Step 4) and the appeal is unsuccessful, the time during which the appeal was pending will not count against the prescribed period in which the candidate must pass failed sections of the CPE.
An affected person desiring to appeal the Commission's adverse decision must first file a PETITION FOR RECONSIDERATION as outlined in paragraph 1 below.
- Petition for reconsideration—An affected person may petition the ECFVG to reconsider its decision by filing with the ECFVG a complete and adequate written petition for reconsideration which shall include a statement of the grounds for reconsideration and documentation, if any, in support of the petition in accordance with the following requirements:
- Candidates wishing to file a petition for reconsideration of an adverse outcome related to the Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE) must first request & receive feedback for the candidate’s performance on that examination. Feedback must be requested within 14 days of the notification of the adverse decision. The petition for reconsideration of the CPE adverse decision must then be received in the AVMA ECFVG office within 21 days after the date that feedback was sent. Petitions submitted without a request for feedback within 14 days of the notification of the CPE decision will not be considered by the ECFVG. All other petitions for reconsideration must be received in the AVMA ECFVG office within 30 days of the postmark date on which the ECFVG announced its adverse decision (Petition for Reconsideration form). Petitions may be submitted to the AVMA ECFVG office as follows: via US or Express Mail to 1931 N. Meacham Rd, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL, 60173-4360, USA; via E-mail to ECFVG@avma.org; or via fax 847-285-5732.
- The petition for reconsideration will be immediately forwarded to the ECFVG Appeals Subcommittee, which has the authority to decide whether to affirm, modify, or reverse the adverse decision. Decisions of the ECFVG Appeals Subcommittee have the same force and effect as decisions made by the full ECFVG.
- Within 35 business days of receiving the petition for reconsideration, the ECFVG Appeals Subcommittee must reach a decision as to whether to affirm, modify, or reverse the adverse decision.
- The ECFVG reserves the right to seek additional information during review of a petition for reconsideration from:
- The initial source of the adverse action (eg, test administrators)
- The candidate
- Other outside experts
- The affected person may, at the sole discretion of the ECFVG or ECFVG Appeals Subcommittee, be invited to participate in any meeting and/or teleconference at which the ECFVG or ECFVG Appeals Subcommittee decides whether to affirm, modify, or reverse the adverse decision.
- The ECFVG shall notify the affected person in writing via E-mail and/org certified mail (return receipt requested) or other traceable delivery method (eg, FedEx or UPS) of its decision to affirm, modify, or reverse its adverse decision.
- In the event that the affected person is not satisfied with the ECFVG decision regarding his or her petition for reconsideration, the affected person may appeal the decision further by submitting a PETITION FOR REVIEW as outlined in paragraph 2 below.
- Petition for Review—The affected person may petition for a review of the ECFVG's adverse decision and subsequent determination on his or her petition for reconsideration by first submitting written notification of intent to file a written petition for review (see paragraph 2a below) followed by submitting a full and adequate written petition for review (see paragraph 2b below) in accordance with the following requirements:
- Written Notification: The affected person shall notify the ECFVG in writing that he or she intends to file a petition for review. Such written notification must be received in the AVMA ECFVG (via US or Express Mail to 1931 N. Meacham Rd, Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL, 60173-4360, USA; via E-mail to ECFVG@avma.org; or via fax 847-285-5732), within 15 days after the postmark date (or date of the E-mail) of the ECFVG's notification letter to the affected person regarding its reconsideration decision.
- Written Petition for Review: The affected person must then file a complete and adequate written petition for review of the ECFVG's adverse decision, which shall include: (i) a statement of the grounds for review; (ii) documentation, if any, in support of the petition; and (iii) a request for a hearing and all applicable fees (refer to paragraph 2e below regarding hearing costs and procedures) if a hearing is desired by the affected person (Petition for Review form). Such written petition for review and any applicable fees must be received in the AVMA ECFVG office (via US or Express Mail, E-mail or fax to the addresses/numbers noted in paragraph 2a above) no later than 45 days after the postmark date (or date of the E-mail) of the ECFVG's notification letter to the affected person regarding its reconsideration decision. The ECFVG office shall promptly forward the petition for review to the Chair of the AVMA Council on Education ("COE Chair"), who shall, within 12 business days of receipt, determine, in his or her sole discretion, whether the petition for review is adequate under these procedures. If the petition for review is adequate, the petitioner shall be so notified. If the petition for review is deficient for any reason, the COE Chair will notify the petitioner of the deficiencies, and the petitioner shall have 15 days in which to correct those deficiencies. If the deficiencies are not corrected within 15 days as determined by the COE Chair in his or her sole discretion, the adverse decision will be considered final and no further appeal is available.
- ECFVG's Response: The COE Chair shall forward to the ECFVG a copy of the complete and adequate petition for review. The ECFVG may file a written response to the petition for review with the COE Chair within 25 business days of receipt. This response may include a statement of the basis for the adverse decision, documentation, if any, in support of the adverse decision; and a request for a hearing, if a hearing is desired by the ECFVG (refer to paragraph 2e below regarding hearing costs and procedures).
- Review Panel: Within 25 business days after receiving a complete and adequate written petition for review, the Chair of the AVMA Council on Education shall appoint a Review Panel composed of three members of the AVMA Council on Education ("COE"), none of whom shall be, or have been within the past six (6) years, members of the ECFVG or have any other conflict of interest. The COE Chair shall designate the Chair of the Review Panel from among the three persons chosen to sit on the Review Panel.
- Optional Hearing: If the petition for review contains a request for a hearing, or if the ECFVG requests a hearing, and if appropriate fees are submitted, the Review Panel shall hold a hearing at a mutually convenient time and place within 60 days after receiving the complete and adequate written petition for review. The hearing shall comprise the affected person, the three members of the Review Panel, and the Chair of the ECFVG or his or her designee. If the Chair of the Review Panel so requests, the AVMA staff consultant to the ECFVG and/or legal counsel for the Review Panel may also attend the hearing to provide guidance on procedural issues. If a mutually convenient location cannot be agreed upon by the parties, the Chair of the Review Panel shall determine the location of the hearing in his or her sole discretion. The hearing will proceed according to the following procedures:
- AVMA staff to the ECFVG will schedule and organize the hearing and provide reasonable notice (no less than 10 business days) of the time and place of the hearing to the Review Panel, the affected person, and the Chair of the ECFVG by certified mail (return receipt requested) or other traceable delivery method (eg, FedEx or UPS).
- The procedures and conduct of the hearing will be determined by the Chair of the Review Panel, in his or her sole discretion, including but not limited to the admission and order of presentation of evidence and/or testimony, the length of testimony and/or cross-examination, and the length of any argumentation and opening or closing remarks.
- Subject to clause 2e(ii) above, the affected person and the Chair of the ECFVG shall, at the hearing, have the right to present witnesses and to submit any evidence pertinent to the case not previously submitted. However, all new evidence to be presented shall be in written form and distributed to the Review Panel and other participants for receipt at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing.
- Neither the ECFVG nor the affected person shall be represented by legal counsel at the hearing. The Review Panel may, at the request of the Review Panel Chair, have legal counsel present to advise it in matters of procedure.
- At the discretion of the Review Panel Chair or upon the advance written request of either the affected person or ECFVG, a transcript of the hearing shall be made. The cost of such transcript shall be borne by the party requesting it.
- Reasonable expenses for meeting arrangements in accordance with AVMA travel policy, including but not limited to travel, meals, and lodging for the Review Panel and other participants, shall be borne by the party requesting the hearing. The party requesting the hearing shall pay a deposit of $5,000.00 (US) to cover expenses associated with the hearing. The $5,000.00 deposit must be in the form of a cashier's check or money order only, made payable to the AVMA, and must be submitted, via certified mail (return receipt requested) or other traceable delivery method (eg, FedEx or UPS), at the same time the written petition for review and request for a hearing are submitted. Following the hearing, any additional expenses exceeding the $5,000 deposit shall be paid by the party who requested the hearing within 30 days of receipt of an invoice from the AVMA. Any surplus of the deposit shall be returned within 30 days of the hearing date to the party who requested the hearing.
- Review Panel Recommendations: After review and consideration of the ECFVG's adverse decision, the affected person's petition for review, and the relevant evidence presented at the hearing, if any, the Review Panel shall within 12 business days of the close of the hearing, or in the event no hearing is requested within 25 business days after receipt of the affected person's complete and adequate written petition for review, issue a written report of recommendations, which may include affirming, modifying, or reversing the ECFVG's adverse decision, and the reasons therefore. The Review Panel shall provide copies of its written report via E-mail and/or certified mail (return receipt requested) or other traceable delivery method (eg, FedEx or UPS) to the Chair of the ECFVG, the affected person, and the COE Chair. In the event that the Review Panel recommends reversal of or modifications to the ECFVG's adverse decision, the ECFVG shall accord substantial deference to the Review Panel's recommendations in deciding whether to reverse or modify its adverse decision.
- ECFVG Written Opinion: Within 25 business days of receipt of the Review Panel's report, the ECFVG shall issue a written opinion stating, to the extent applicable: (i) whether and to what extent it shall abide by the Review Panel's recommendation(s); (ii) how its opinion accords substantial deference to the Review Panel's recommendation(s); and (iii) the bases of its opinion. The ECFVG shall provide copies of its opinion to the Review Panel and to the affected person via E-mail and/or certified mail (return receipt requested) or other traceable delivery method (eg, FedEx or UPS).
- Rehearing—If a hearing was held in connection with a petition for review, the affected person or the ECFVG may file a written petition for rehearing no later than 30 days after the postmark date of the written opinion of the ECVFG. Such written petition for rehearing may be filed only on the basis of new evidence that could not, with reasonable diligence, have been discovered and produced at the original hearing. The decision to grant a petition for rehearing is made by the Chair of the Review Panel, in his or her sole discretion, and his or her decision is final. The procedure for a rehearing shall be the same as that described in paragraph 2e above. No more than one petition for rehearing may be filed by any party in a case. If the ECFVG files a petition for rehearing, it shall also provide a copy of its petition for rehearing to the affected person. If a hearing was not requested by either party at the time the petition for review was initially submitted, neither the affected person nor the ECFVG can request a rehearing.