Consumer Complaint Process

The Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology & Hearing Aid Dispensers Board (SLPAHADB) was created to protect consumers through its licensing and enforcement functions. SLPAHADB has the authority to require that licensees abide by provisions of the Business and Professions Code or risk losing their license to practice. Since the law does not give SLPAHADB statutory authority to establish an inspection program, most SLPAHADB actions result from written complaints from consumers regarding violations by speech-language pathologists, audiologists, or hearing aid dispensers.

Complaint Process

The following chronology is intended to inform consumers of the procedures for filing a complaint against SLPAHADB's licensees, SLPAHADB's process in reviewing and investigating the complaints, and to provide some general information about the types of disciplinary actions filed against licensees by SLPAHADB:

  • Written complaint is received at SLPAHADB office.
  • A complaint file is made, and a case number is issued and entered on the computerized tracking system.
  • An acknowledgment letter is sent to complainant.
  • Complaint information is confidential. However, in some cases, the licensee may be advised of a complainant's specific concerns. In that event, the licensee is advised of the complaint and asked to respond. If no response is received to the initial letter, SLPAHADB will make two more attempts at notification to ensure that the licensee is aware of the allegation and has an opportunity to respond.
  • If the allegations are serious, or a number of complaints are received against one licensee, an investigation of that licensee's activities is initiated.
  • If the results of the investigation confirm the allegations against the licensee, the investigation report is forwarded to the Attorney General's Office with a request to initiate legal proceedings that will lead to a hearing intended to result in formal disciplinary action.
  • The complainant is informed of the final disposition of the case. For example, the complaint may be closed, closed with merit, or the licensee is disciplined.

Disciplinary Action

There are many degrees of effective disciplinary action that SLPAHADB may impose. Informal action may consist of interviews and counseling with a focus on education. Formal disciplinary action may result in revocation of the license, suspension of practice, a probationary period with specific restrictions, or issuance of a citation. A citation may or may not include a fine.

Complaints SLPAHADB Can Handle

Filing a detailed written complaint is the first step in SLPAHADB's disciplinary process. Examples of violations of law include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sexual misconduct
  • Conviction of a criminal offense related to the profession
  • Any practice outside the scope of the speech-language pathologist, audiologist, dispensing audiologist, and hearing aid dispenser's license or below accepted professional standards
  • Deceptive or misleading advertising
  • Unlicensed practice

Complaints SLPAHADB Cannot Handle

Allegations that are not within SLPAHADB's authority include:

  • Fee or billing disputes
  • General business practices
  • Personality conflicts

Fee and billing disputes should be handled through an attorney, small claims court, or the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

How Long Does It Take To Process a Complaint?

It can take an extended period of time to investigate a complaint and then determine the appropriate course of action. If you file a complaint, it will be carefully evaluated and you will be notified of the final outcome of your complaint and any significant actions that occur in the process.

Remember, any action taken by SLPAHADB has no impact on civil remedies that may be available to you. You should seek professional legal counsel regarding your civil remedies.

SLPAHADB encourages each consumer to file a formal complaint if there is any question regarding care rendered by a licensed speech-language pathologist, audiologist, dispensing audiologist, and hearing aid dispenser. If you have any questions or need additional information, please write or call the SLPAHADB office at the above address.

Consumer Complaint Form

The SLPAB Consumer Complaint Form is available in Adobe Reader format to maintain compatible display and print capability on all computer platforms, it requires the most current version of Adobe Reader to view properly.