Registry for Autism Service Providers - Complaint Resolution Process Who this process is for? This is the formal complaint process established for parents or guardians of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders under six years of age who are paying for the services of a professional on the Registry of Autism Service Providers for the Autism Funding Under Age 6 Program (RASP) using their autism treatment funds. Your right to make a complaint You have a right to make a complaint if and when you are dissatisfied with the service being provided and/or have concerns regarding the professional conduct of a service provider. ACT – Autism Community Training, under its contract with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, has agreed to collaborate with MCFD to administer a formal complaint process for those service providers who do not belong to professional regulatory bodies. ACT – Autism Community Training will only accept formal complaints when the complaint is about a professional on the RASP who is NOT a member of a professional governing college. ACT can only accept formal complaints about Speech Language Pathologists and Behaviour Consultants who are not Registered Psychologists or Board Certified Behaviour Analysts. Complaints about service providers who belong to professional regulatory bodies should be directed to their member association. These service providers include: Registered Psychologists, Board Certified Behaviour Analysts, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists. These organizations have fully developed complaint processes which are available on their websites or by telephoning their offices. For contact information please see the list at the end of this article. Why is ACT Involved in a Complaint Process? The Ministry of Children and Family Development, owner of the Registry of Autism Service Providers, has asked ACT to administer a complaint process to ensure that parents or guardians who experience difficulties with the conduct of service providers have a place to have their concerns reviewed. ACT – Autism Community Training is not a regulatory body however there is not yet a professional regulatory association for Behaviour Consultants or Speech Language Pathologists in BC. In the absence of these bodies, we have agreed to accept complaints from parents and guardians regarding the service provided by professionals on the RASP who do not belong to a regulatory body or governing college. It is important to note that while there is no regulatory body for Behaviour Consultants in BC there are guidelines for behavior analysts who have become Board Certified Behavior Analysts. When signing the Registry of Autism Service Provider Application form (CF0901 (06/08) all Behaviour Consultants, whether they are certified or not, commit to having “a thorough understanding of the Conduct Guidelines published on the BACB website http://www.bacb.com/consum_frame.html). It is ACT’s intention to utilize these guidelines as a framework to address complaints related to the practice of behaviour consultants. Speech Language Pathologists in BC do not currently have a regulatory body to govern their practice but their national organization has a code of conduct which ACT will utilize as a framework to address complaints for this group http://www.caslpa.ca/PDF/code%20of%20ethics.pdf . A Fair Process ACT – Autism Community Training is committed to work with families and service providers in an effort to facilitate a satisfactory resolution using a fair process. This means that when ACT receives your complaint we will discuss your complaint with you, the service provider you are complaining about and others who may have relevant information regarding your complaint. When you have a complaint: 1. Please attempt to resolve your complaint directly with the service provider and/or supervisor, where applicable. (See How to Avoid Having to Make A Formal Complaint -Steps to Resolving a Concern Directly with a Service Provider A Guide for Parents.) If your efforts to resolve your concern informally are not successful, consider filing a formal complaint. 2. Determine to whom you file your complaint noting that ACT can accept complaints regarding: • Behaviour Consultants who have no governing college. (This excludes registered psychologists and Board Certified Behaviour Analysts.) • Speech Language Pathologists since they currently have no governing college. ACT cannot accept complaints o From third parties – if you are not the parent or legal guardian of the person receiving services we cannot receive your complaint for confidentiality reasons. However, ACT may interview third parties who may have relevant information. o About the level of fees or rates, except when the fee is unfairly charged, such as overcharging or charging for services not provided. o Regarding those who are members of a governing professional college* o Regarding those not on the RASP list o Regarding matters before the courts or already decided by courts If you are unsure whether your complaint can be made to ACT please contact an Information Worker at ACT. ACT Information Officers can be reached at 604-205-5467 or toll free at 1-866- 939-5188. *If your complaint needs to be directed to a professional governing organization please see the list of contact information for professional organizations at the end of this article. Filing a Complaint about a service provider to ACT A) Submit a written complaint where possible. You may use the attached template or if you prefer you may write a letter thoroughly describing your complaint. If you cannot file a written complaint, we will accept an oral complaint. We will then transcribe the complaint and you will be asked to sign the written statement. If you need assistance in preparing your complaint you may contact an Information Worker at ACT and that person will help. If you require assistance because your English language skills are limited we will attempt to locate a translator to help you. This assistance is currently available in Cantonese and Mandarin from ACT staff. B) If you have documents that support your complaint, please submit copies with your written or oral complaint. Remember to keep the originals or copies for yourself. C) You must sign an agreement that permits ACT – Autism Community Training to share and discuss your complaint with the Registered Service Provider and other relevant parties. This will allow a fair review of your complaint allowing all sides to provide information and feedback relevant to your complaint. D) You must agree to allow release of confidential information by the Registered Service Provider you are complaining about to ACT. The service provider is committed to keep your information private and so without your permission, they cannot respond to our inquiries about your situation. E) You must agree to a release of confidential information to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The Ministry of Children and Family Development owns the Registry of Autism Service Providers and ACT therefore must provide information to them regarding your complaint. While ACT investigates your complaint and makes recommendations, MCFD as owners of the registry will have final approval over the outcomes of the investigation based on these recommendations. What ACT does when your complaint is received? ACT will: a) Review your complaint to ensure it is regarding a service provider who is on the RASP but is not a member of a governing professional organization. b) Conduct a review of ACT’s files to determine whether a there is any history of complaints made against the service provider. c) Contact you to discuss your complaint. This may also include a request for more information and for the names and contact information regarding others who may provide additional information regarding your complaint. d) Share and discuss the written complaint with Registered Service Provider. The Registered Service Provider will be asked to provide any information or evidence that is relevant and available to ACT. e) Review the complaint and the response of the service provider and where appropriate bring together the complainant and the service provider for a facilitated discussion in an effort to resolve the matter. f) Consult with MCFD staff and determine an outcome should the matter continue to be unresolved. g) A written review of the investigation will be shared with MCFD. ACT will communicate, in writing, the decision regarding the outcome or resolution of the complaint to you, the service provider, and MCFD. Possible Resolutions/Outcomes: Dismissal of Complaint – where the complaint is determined to be trivial or where there is no evidence or the complaint is unsubstantiated Referral of Complainant to An Alternate Body – such as Small Claims Court where the complainant wishes to recover money or to the police if the matter is regarding a criminal matter Letter of Concern, where appropriate, may be issued to the service provider by ACT, with a copy to MCFD outlining suggested remedial activities/training if the actions were considered inappropriate Consensual Resolution may include, in cases where a breach of conduct is evident: a) an undertaking, signed by the service provider, not to repeat the conduct; and/or b) an undertaking, signed by the service provider, to take educational courses to address concerns. Removal from RASP Where the breach of conduct is so serious that consensual resolution is not appropriate (or where the service provider refuses to work to resolution) the professional may be removed from the RASP list – depending on the severity of the breach. This decision must be approved by the owner of the list, the Ministry of Children and Family Development. ACT – Autism Community Training has no authority to limit the practice of service providers but with MCFD’s approval, we can remove someone from the RASP. This would make them ineligible to provide services where payment is from Autism Treatment Funds for Children with ASD under 6. Professional Governing Organizations Registered Psychologists BC College of Psychologists http://www.collegeofpsychologists.bc.ca/ #404, 1755 West Broadway Vancouver, B.C. V6J 4S5 (604) 736-6164 or 1-800-665-0979 (toll free within B.C. only) Facsimile (604) 736-6133 Board Certified Behavior Analysts Behavior Analyst Certification Board http://www.bacb.com Gerald L. Shook, Ph.D., BCBA Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc 1705 Metropolitan Boulevard, Suite 102 Tallahassee, Florida 32308 Occupational Therapists College of Occupational Therapists of BC http://www.cotbc.org Suite 219, Yarrow Building 645 Fort Street Victoria, BC V8W 1G2 (250) 386-6822 or Toll-free line for British Columbia: 1-866-386-6822 Facsimile (250) 383-4144 Physical Therapists College of Physical Therapists of BC http://www.cptbc.org/ Suite 302-1765 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6J 5C6 604-730-9193 Facsimile 604-730-9273 Addendum Complaint Process Principles: (Adapted from MCFD: Complaints Process Policy effective Oct. 31, 2001) Accessibility and Information: The complaints process must not present any administrative or systemic barriers. Information describing the complaints process and how to access it must be available. Accountability: The complaints process is an integral part of overall quality assurance. From a professional and ethical point of view, we accept that where public funds are spent, in this case Autism Treatment Funds, the need for and the benefit of accountability to the individual and to the public. Child-Centred: Where a complaint is about services to a child, the best interests of the child shall guide the complaints process. Client-Centred: The needs, concerns and issues of the primary client receiving service shall guide the complaints process. The process will seek to hear and protect the best interests of vulnerable parties. Fairness: ACT incorporates the concept of administrative fairness and due process in its decisions and actions. Complainants are assisted in the process of initiating and following through on complaints upon their request. Timeliness: All complaints will be dealt with in an expedient manner, and prioritized where necessary.