The Board is not Accessible to the Public.
1998 Recommendation 1:
At a minimum, the board should comply with H.B. 4021 by publishing its phone number in
the Charleston phone directory, pursuant to §30-1-12 of the West Virginia Code, as amended.
Level of Compliance:In Compliance
The Board did publish its telephone number in the 1999 - 2000 Kanawha - Putnam Counties Phone Directory. However, the listed number is incorrect. The correct number is provided in a recorded message. In October 1998, the Board discussed accessibility:
The subject of a need for another telephone line was voiced. This line would be a dedicated fax line. By having this available, the Board would then become more accessible to the public and it's licensees. Verbal complaints about not being able to communicate with the Board in this manner were relayed by members who had been contacted by licensees...
The Board should establish a web site for citizens to file complaints against licensees, and
access a roster of licensees, procedures for licensure, continuing education requirements and
licensure fee schedules.
Level of Compliance:Partial-Compliance
The Board has established a web site that links from the West Virginia State home page. At this time, the only useful information available on the site is: the Board's address; telephone and fax number; and the e-mail address of the Administrative Services Manager. The web page indicates that the following information will be available soon: Board's Mission Statement, List of Current Members, Date and Location of next meeting, Legislative Rules, Law Establishing the Board, and Requirements for Licensure. The web page does not indicate that it will provide a method for filing complaints; a roster of licensees; continuing education requirements; or licensure fee schedules. The Administrative Services Manager responded to the Legislative Auditor's inquiry regarding the completion of the web page. She stated:
I am also signed up for classes at IS&C for Internet and Website classes. As soon as I have completed the Website class I plan to complete our webpage.
The Board should post information concerning licensure requirements and procedures for
filing complaints against licensees on the West Virginia Government web page, pursuant to H.B.
Level of Compliance:Partial Compliance
The Board's web page links from the West Virginia State Government web page. It does not at this time provide information on filing complaints against licensees recommended by the Legislative Auditor in 1998.
1998 Recommendation 4:
The Board should amend its rules to require all licensed speech-language pathologists and
audiologists to post, in a conspicuous place, a detailed explanation on how to file a complaint with
Level of Compliance:Non-Compliance
Although meeting minutes indicate that the Board discussed the promulgation of new rules in June 1998, the Board has not filed any rules since the 1998 Performance Review, according to its Administrative Services Manager.
Issue Area 2:Board is Acting as an Extension of Professional Associations.
The sole statutory purpose of the Board is the protection of the public. In the 1998 report, the Legislative Auditor found that the close relationship between the Board and the professional association endangered the Board's mission of public protection. Meeting minutes showed the extensive involvement between the Board and the professional association. Disbursement schedules show that the Board used state funds to subsidize the professional association.
1998 Recommendation 5:
The Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology should cease its practice of subsidizing the professional association.
The Board should refocus its mission of Public Service.
The Board should maintain an arms length relationship with professional associations.
In October 1998, the Board discussed involvement in other organizations including but not limited to professional organizations. "It was agreed by all that involvement or membership was fine by law as long as a Board member did not hold any office in such organizations." An analysis of the Board's expenditures for FY 1998 and FY 1999 indicates that the board has ceased subsidizing the American Speech and Hearing Association. Meeting minutes indicate that the Board is focused on licensing, public protection and regulatory duties.
Level of Compliance:In Compliance
Issue Area 3:The Board paid $7,700 to a Professional Association to Sponsor Speakers at the Professional Association's Conferences in 1996 and 1997 and has agreed to spend another $3,000 for the 1998 Conference.
The Board paid $2,700 to the West Virginia Speech-Language-Hearing Association for "services related to professional training and development of speech-language pathologists and audiologists in the state of West Virginia." The "services" were speakers at the Association's 1996 conference. In 1997, financial records indicate the Board subsidized the Association's convention by paying $5,000 for two speakers. An additional $3,000 was budgeted for the 1998 convention. The West Virginia Code, as amended, defines the powers and duties of the Board and does not authorize direct training and education.
1998 Recommendation 8:
The WV Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology should cease subsidizing the West Virginia Speech-Language and Hearing Association's activities.
During the October 1998 meeting, a member "questioned the stance of the Board on involvement in other organizations including but not limited to professional organizations."
It was agreed by all that involvement or membership was fine by law as long as a Board member did not hold any office in such organizations.
West Virginia Code §30-1-129(b) requires the Board to submit an annual report to the Governor, Legislature and Secretary of State by January 1 of each year. As of May 1998, the Board had never filed an annual report. The requirement of state boards to file annual reports provides accountability to the citizens of West Virginia. It is a way public boards make their information available to the public which they serve.
1998 Recommendation 9:
The Board should immediately comply with §30-1-129(b) by submitting the annual report due January 1, 1998.
We have searched our records and found no filing of annual reports by the Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
The Board was completely unaware of such a report and was never contacted to file such. We are presently in the process of compiling this information and will have it to all of the requesting agencies as soon as possible.
Issue Area 5:The Board is in Violation of the Open Meetings Law.
The Open Meetings Law requires all public agencies to conduct their proceedings in an open and public manner. A Meeting Notice must be filed with the Secretary of State for publication in the state register prior to the meeting. In 1998, the Administrative Law Division of the Secretary of State's Office found no record of any meeting notices filed by the Board.
1998 Recommendation 10:
The Board should immediately comply with the requirements of the Open Meetings Law.
The Administrative Law Division of the Secretary of State's Office provided the Legislative Auditor with documentation which shows the Board is now filing meeting notices, as required by law, in a timely and accurate manner.
1998 Recommendation 11:
The Legislature should consider amending Chapter 30, Article 1 requiring training for members of professional licensure boards to be conducted by the State Auditor's Office, with the cooperation of the Budget and Purchasing Divisions of the Department of Administration, the Ethics Commission, the Attorney General's Office, and the Secretary of State's Office. Training should include budgeting, purchasing, open meetings, ethics, filing annual reports, and records management.
During the 1999 regular session, the Legislature amended Chapter 30 of the state Code with H.B. 3006. The Legislation requires the State Auditor to provide orientation sessions, with the cooperation of all other state agencies, for all state boards. Topics for orientation include: official conduct of members; state budgeting and financial procedures; purchasing requirements; open meetings requirements; ethics; rule-making procedures; records management; annual reports; and any other topics the State Auditor determines to be essential. The State Auditor's Office held an orientation for state boards on June 10, 1999. The Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology was represented by its Administrative Services Manager.
Issue Area 6:The West Virginia Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology's Adoption of the American Speech Language-Hearing Association's Code of Ethics as part of an Administrative Rule may Discourage Competition.
The Board of Examiners adopted the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Code of Ethics in 1992. The same year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled, in South Carolina (which adopted the same Code of Ethics) that there is danger in adopting ASHA's code of ethics because it contains anti-competitive statements. The FTC found that it may be illegal for speech-pathologists and audiologists to practice in a commercial establishment, to set up a corporate practice, or to be affiliated with a managed care organization. The FTC found the restriction on advertising to be overly broad and unnecessary to protect consumers.
1998 Recommendation 12:
The Board should revise its Code of Ethics by promulgating a new rule to allow for participation in Managed Care Organizations as well as to allow competition in advertising.