Licensed medical professionals are held to a number of ethical and professional standards by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). If a complaint is made against a licensed medical professional which the IDFPR categorizes as a violation of ethical and professional boundaries, the licensee may be required to pass an assessment administered by the Ethics and Boundaries Assessment Services, LLC (EBAS).
EBAS is an essay exam service that “assesses an individual’s understanding of ethics and boundaries in a professional setting” (ebas.org). Establish in 2013, EBAS was created to address the testing needs of already licensed professionals concerning ethical and boundary issues” (ebas.org). The testing service both administers and scores the examinations, reporting the scores to IDFPR. The Department then uses those scores as part of any ongoing disciplinary investigations involving an Illinois licensee.
For example, in February 2019, a surgeon had his license placed on indefinite probation for a minimum of three years after concerns were raised about his professional conduct. The reinstatement of his license is conditional upon, among other things, the passing of EBAS. In a second example, a surgeon had his license reprimanded for failing to appraise a patient about the scope of a physical examination and was required in the disciplinary order to pass EBAS.
The EBAS is a computerized, multi-disciplinary examination that uses an “On-Demand” format. Although the exam itself is essay-based, the questions and scenarios presented during the exam are not necessarily specific to any one profession or occupation. Many of the exam questions are general, asking test-takers to consider situations that are different from his or her work environment. For example, test questions may ask a licensee to consider and respond to a scenario in which a boundary violation has occurred between a teacher and a student. The licensee would then be asked to not only identify the ethical or boundary issue being presenting in the exam question but also to address the situation appropriately (FAQs).
Licensees who take the EBAS do not receive a score at the testing center. Instead, the essays are sent to seven trained graders for evaluation. These graders may include professionals with regulatory experience, current and prior board members, legal counsel, and so on. The Service then collects all of the scores and finalizes them, sending a formal Score Report to both the IDFPR and the licensee. This process can take up to four weeks. The Score Report includes an itemized analysis of each essay response, listing out the strengths and weaknesses identified by the scorers, and how each contributed to the overall score. Each essay is worth a maximum of 16 points, and 12 points are considered a passing score. If a licensee does not score at least 12 on one or more of the essay questions, he or she is allowed to re-take the exam but only the failed topics.
Given the time and cost of the EBAS assessment, thorough and proactive preparation is required to ensure the timely recovery of your professional license and, perhaps, your professional reputation.
The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.
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