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Recognition Policy

AFOO recognition is based on a provider’s demonstration of compliance with AFOO standards and criteria. The AFOO reviews all applications and determines if a provider can be approved. To apply for recognition, the CE provider must complete the AFOO Application for Recognition, a form that relates to each of the 14 standards addressed in the AFOO standards and criteria. The application, together with any required documentation or pertinent data, is submitted to the Commission for evaluation.

Providers approved by the Commission shall be designated "AFOO recognized providers" for the length of their period of recognition which shall be two, three or four years. New applicants (providers that are not currently AFOO recognized) will be eligible for an Initial Recognition period of three years. For all other providers, the terms of recognition will be based on the level of compliance and complaint history of the provider.  

If the Commission determines that more information is required to make a decision regarding recognition status, or that the provider only minimally meets the standards and criteria, action to determine recognition status may be postponed definitely pending submission of additional information or a new application, or, recognition may be granted, contingent upon submission of a progress report within six months to one year. Recommendations for improvement or concerns noted during the review will be identified and transmitted to the provider.

Recognition of a provider does not imply recognition or approval of that provider's satellite or parent organizations, parent company, subsidiaries, cooperating agencies or divisions.

The AFOO Standards and Criteria are subject to review and modification from time to time by the Commission at its discretion. To retain recognition, continuing dental education providers must comply with AFOO standards and criteria as modified.

AFOO does not approve lecturers, individual courses or credit hours. Providers must inform participants on how comments or complaints about an AFOO recognized provider may be filed with the Commission.

Continued Recognition of Previously Recognized Providers

The re-recognition process begins about twelve months prior to the designated recognition expiration date. The Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition notifies recognized CE providers and sends them information about the re-recognition procedures, including a specific schedule. Application deadlines shall be regularized and published, and shall fall approximately two months prior to meetings of the Commission.

Providers must complete and submit an AFOO Application for Recognition by the specified deadline prior to the date when the provider's recognition will expire. In addition to the Application form, the provider must submit any other specifically identified materials documenting its continued compliance with the AFOO standards and criteria for recognition, as well as improvements in any previously-identified areas of deficiency or weakness. Recommendations for improvements shall be evaluated under the AFOO standards and criteria in effect at the time of the evaluation.



The Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition will not release in any form the name of any continuing dental education provider that has:

1.    Initiated contact with the Commission concerning application for recognition;
2.    Applied for recognition but has not yet been apprised of a decision;
3.    Applied for and been denied recognition.

Further, the Commission will not confirm that a CE provider has not applied for recognition, or provide details regarding any weaknesses of an AFOO recognized provider. All inquiries as to the recognition status of a specific provider will be answered by referral to the published, official list of AFOO recognized providers.

AFOO reserves the right to notify members of its participating organizations in the event that a provider's recognition is withdrawn, if a provider's recognition status changes, or if a provider uses false or misleading statements regarding its AFOO recognition.

Compliance with Privacy Laws

Every provider submitting materials to the Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition as part of the recognition process must attest to the following:

“The materials we submit to AFOO as part of an application, activity file, progress report, report of substantive change, or other reports to AFOO will not include protected health information, as defined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended, unless we have obtained any necessary authorization, consent or release, or any other personally identifiable information that may be protected by federal, state or local laws.”

AFOO Policy on Compliance with Privacy Laws
Adopted:  May 2018; Revised: March 2019

Substantive Change

Policy Statement on Reporting Substantive Changes

A substantive change to a provider’s continuing education (CE) program is one that may impact the degree to which the recognized provider complies with the AFOO Recognition Standards and Procedures.  Substantive changes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes in ownership, legal status or form of control.

  • Introducing a new educational method beyond the scope described in the application, e.g., adding patient treatment courses or self-study activities.

  • Changes in the CE program’s source(s) of financial support, especially if funding is from an external commercial source.

When substantive changes occur, the primary concern of the Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition is that the provider continues to meet the AFOO's standards and criteria. Recognized providers must be able to demonstrate that any substantive change(s) to their CE program will not adversely affect the ability of the organization to comply with established standards. If the program changes are judged to represent a sufficient departure from practices in place at the time of application, the Commission may elect to re-evaluate the provider before the next formal reapplication is due.

Reporting Substantive Changes

All recognized providers are expected to report substantive changes in writing to the Commission in a timely manner. If a provider is uncertain whether a change is substantive, the provider should contact AFOO staff for clarification and guidance. The following procedures shall apply to substantive changes:

  1. AFOO recognized providers must report any substantive change(s) to their CE program.

  2. The provider must submit to the Commission a description and/or documentation describing the change(s) and explaining how the CE program will continue to comply with AFOO’s standards and criteria.

  3. Providers will receive written notification from the Commission that:

    1. The information is acceptable and will be kept on file for review at the time of the provider’s next scheduled reapplication, or

    2. Additional documentation is required for re-evaluation prior to the next scheduled reapplication.

  4. The AFOO may exercise its right to re-evaluate a recognized provider at any time during the approval period.

  5. When a provider has received written notification to provide additional documentation, failure to submit the requested documentation shall be considered grounds for withdrawal of AFOO recognition status at the next regularly scheduled meetings of the Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition.

  6. Submission of false or misleading information shall be grounds for withdrawal of AFOO Recognition status.

ADA CERP Policy on Reporting Substantive Changes

Adopted: September 2017
Revised: May 2018

Procedures for an Adverse Action

An adverse action is defined as withdrawal or denial of recognition.

Reconsideration of an Adverse Action

If a recommendation to withdraw recognition from an AFOO recognized provider of continuing education is to be considered, the Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition will notify the provider of its intent to withdraw recognition and the date on which official action will be taken. This notification will advise the provider of its option to request reconsideration and provide additional
information for the Commission to consider prior to taking the proposed action.

Similarly, if a new provider applicant is denied recognition, the Commission will notify the applicant and provide the reasons for denial. This notification will advise the provider of its option to request reconsideration and provide additional information for the Commission’s consideration.

Requests for reconsideration of intent to withdraw or denial of recognition must be submitted in writing to the Commission within thirty (30) days of the provider’s receipt of the Commission’s notification of intent to withdraw or deny recognition. The recognition status of the provider shall remain unchanged during the reconsideration process.

The provider must submit any additional information in writing and include any reasons why the provider believes the withdrawal or denial is unjustified. The provider also has the option to address the Commission.

The Commission will notify the provider of its decision in writing. If, following reconsideration, the Commission determines that approval should be withdrawn as scheduled, or the decision to deny recognition upheld, the provider will be notified of its right to appeal this decision.




Appeal of an Adverse Action


If an adverse (withdraw or deny) action is taken, an appeal can be made to the Commission. The purpose of an appeal is to determine if, based on the information and documentation previously submitted to the Commission, the decision to deny or withdraw recognition was in accordance with AFOO recognition Standards, procedures and policies. An appellant may not present to the Hearing Panel any information that had not previously been presented to the Commission, such as information regarding corrections to deficiencies cited by the Commission.

It is not proper for the Hearing Panel to either receive or consider facts not previously presented to the Commission since it does not sit as an initial reviewing body. Similarly, it is not the function of the Hearing Panel to determine whether the facts, singularly or cumulatively, justify the decision of the Commission unless it can be shown that the Commission’s decision was clearly against the manifest weight of the evidence. Further, the Hearing Panel will not hear testimony relative to the reasonableness of previously determined requirements for recognition since this is outside the scope of authority of this reviewing body. An appeal may not be based on the length of the
recognition period or disagreement with the recognition standards and criteria. Appeals are conducted in accord with the following procedures.




Appeal Board

The appellate body of the AFOO’s Continuing Education Recognition Program shall be the Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition Appeal Board which shall have the authority to hear and decide appeals filed by continuing dental education providers from decisions rendered by the Commission denying or withdrawing recognition.

The Appeal Board consists of one representative selected by each of the organizations represented on the Board of Commissioners, and shall include one member each from: the national organizations of the recognized dental specialties.
Members of the Appeal Board must have previously served on the Board of Commissioners or its predecessor, the AFOO Committee.

The term of office of members on the Appeal Board shall be one four (4) year term. When an appeal of an adverse action is initiated by a provider, the Appeal Board shall meet telephonically at the call of the director of the Commission for the purpose of discussing
the appeal and the composition of the Hearing Panel. The director shall select a Hearing Panel consisting of three (3) members of the Appeal Board to hear and decide the appeal. Members of the Hearing Panel may not have previously reviewed an application or progress report submitted by the provider as part of the recognition process.

The Hearing Panel shall meet at the call of the director of the Commission provided at least ten (10) days’ notice is given to each member of the Hearing Panel in advance of the meeting. Such meetings shall be called by the director only when an appeal to the appellate body has been duly filed by a continuing education provider following the procedures for filing an appeal.
The Hearing Panel shall elect one member of the panel to chair the hearing. A majority of the voting members of the Hearing Panel shall constitute a quorum.



Procedures for an Appeal

  1. If the Commission denies or withdraws recognition, the CE provider shall be informed of this decision within fourteen (14) days following the Commission meeting. Such provider must file awritten request for an appeal with the director of the Commission within twenty-one (21) days after notification of the Commission’s decision. In the absence of receipt of a request for an appeal as prescribed above, the decision of the Commission will automatically be final.

  2. If a request for an appeal is received, the Commission shall acknowledge notification of such intent and indicate the deadline for submission of documentation.

  3. The provider must submit a non-refundable Appeal Administrative Fee with its request for the appeal, in accordance with the fee schedule published at

  4. The director of the Commission shall provide the names of the three members of the Hearing Panel to the appellant within 30 days of receipt of the appeal. In the event that the appellant believes that a member of the Hearing Panel has a conflict of interest that may preclude a balanced hearing, the appellant may request that panelist be replaced. The appellant may request replacement of up to two members of the Hearing Panel. A request for appointment of a new panelist must be submitted to the Appeal Board within 10 days of receipt of the original slate of Hearing Panel members. New members of the Hearing Panel will be selected by the director of the Commission.

  5. The provider must submit four copies of evidence or argument in writing to refute the decision of the Commission. The appellant’s written evidence or argument must be submitted at least 14 days prior to the hearing date.

  6. A hearing date will be scheduled by the director of the Commission within 60 days of receipt of the appeal. The Hearing Panel shall meet by teleconference unless the appellant requests to meet with the Hearing Panel in person. In the event that the appellant requests an in person meeting, such meeting shall take place in Chicago, at a location determined by the Commission. The appellant shall be responsible for its representatives’ travel expenses and its legal expenses. In addition, the appellant will be responsible for the travel expenses of the three members of the Hearing Panel, in accordance with the published fee schedule. The appellant must submit payment of travel expenses at least 30 days prior to the hearing date.

  7. Representatives of the provider may make an appearance before the Hearing Panel via teleconference or in person. If desired, the provider’s legal counsel may accompany the provider and observe the appearance. Legal counsel for the Appeal Board may be present for the appearance(s) and the executive session(s) thereafter. No recording of the appearance(s) is permitted. The provider will be given the opportunity to offer evidence and argument to refute the adverse action. The Hearing Panel will only review information and documentation that was previously available to the Commission at the time the Commission made its decision take the adverse action.

  8. No change in the recognition status of the provider will occur pending disposition of the appeal.



Mechanism for the Conduct of an Appearance before the Hearing Panel
  1. A brief opening statement may be made by a representative of the Commission for the purpose of establishing the Commission’s findings and reasons therefore. The Commission’s representative’s presentation shall not exceed 30 minutes.

  2. The provider will then present its argument to the Hearing Panel. The appellant’s presentation shall not exceed 30 minutes.

  3. Hearing Panel members may ask questions of the Commissioner’s and the provider's representatives to clarify information presented.

  4. After hearing the evidence, the Hearing Panel shall meet in closed session to discuss the appeal and make its decision, which shall be final. The Hearing Panel’s decision may be to uphold or overturn the adverse action. The decision shall be based on a majority vote of the Hearing Panel members present and voting.

  5. The decision will be sent to the provider within ten (10) days following the hearing. If the decision is to uphold the Commission’s action to withdraw or deny recognition, the decision will be effective upon notification of the decision.

  6. The Commission reserves the right to modify or change these procedures.

Procedures for an Adverse Action Against a CE Provider
Revised: November 2017

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