Complaint or Grievance Policy
NCM encourages the prompt reporting of complaints or grievances so that rapid and constructive action can be taken before relationships become irreparably strained. Therefore, while no fixed reporting period has been established, early reporting and intervention have proven to be the most effective method of resolving complaints and grievances.
Individuals will not be discriminated against as a consequence of making an informal or formal complaint or grievance. Retaliation against an individual for engaging in the informal or formal complaint and grievance process or for participating in an investigation of a complaint or grievance is a serious violation of this policy and, like harassment or discrimination itself, will be subject to disciplinary action. Acts of retaliation should be reported immediately and will be promptly investigated and addressed. Each complaint or grievance will be handled in a respectful and objective manner. The college makes every effort to limit the number of people within the college who know the identity of the complainant to prevent the opportunity for implicit bias or explicit discrimination to occur. The College’s goal is to help reach an amicable solution and to offer assistance in securing the desired result.
Individuals who believe they have been the victims of conduct prohibited by NCM’s Non Discrimination Policy or believe they have witnessed such conduct are encouraged to engage in NCM’s Complaint and Grievance Policies and Procedures. In cases of discrimination, the Chief Birth Justice Officer will be consulted or asked to take charge of the grievance process by NCM staff.
Misconduct constituting harassment, discrimination or retaliation will be dealt with appropriately. Responsive action may include but is not limited to training, referral to counseling, or disciplinary action such as a warning, reprimand, withholding of a promotion or pay increase, reassignment, temporary suspension without pay, or termination, as NCM believes appropriate under the circumstances.
False and malicious complaints of harassment, discrimination or retaliation (as opposed to complaints that, even if erroneous, are made in good faith) may be the subject of appropriate disciplinary action.
Complaint and Grievance Procedures
The college recognizes that a complaint or grievance may not begin with a formal process by the complainant but rather may begin as a “soft” indicator of an issue. When an individual contacts NCM staff with a grievance, complaint or venting, the complainant is asked directly if they desire to engage in:
a counseling process,
a mediation process or
the formal complaint process.
Each of the processes is described to the complainant so that they may make an informed decision about which process is most appropriate. Counseling is confidential and can be provided by the appropriate staff per policy. Mediation opens discussion between conflicting parties. Formal complaints/grievance require written documentation based on NCM’s specific requirements, are handled by the President or their designee and initiates an investigation by NCM of the situation without direct contact between the complainant and the accused. During the complaint/grievance process, the complainant is informed of outside agencies they can complain to or seek services from if they do not feel NCM’s policy offers the appropriate method.
In the case the complaint is about the President the BOD President is notified and the same policies and procedures are followed except that the BOD President or their designee takes responsibility for handling the complaint.
Counseling in response to a complaint may be provided by any appropriate staff person and is kept confidential. If the complainant desires conflict resolution that involves the person whom they are complaining about, they must choose either the mediation process or the formal complaint process.
If the staff person feels the issue is outside of their abilities, comfort or scope, they will refer the complainant to the President for counseling. If the President feels the issue is outside of their abilities, comfort or scope, the President will refer the complainant to a licensed counselor or counseling service.
Counseling is documented through the archiving of emails. Phone calls are often recapped and documented via email.
Mediation in response to a complaint is provided by the President or their designee and opens discussion between conflicting parties. The President or their designee educates the parties about and adheres to methods of Nonviolent Communication during mediation. The President or their designee wiIl speak privately first with individuals involved and then will arrange a time to meet with involved parties together. It the President or their designee feels the issue is outside of their abilities, comfort or scope, they will refer the parties to a professional mediator.
Mediation is documented through the archiving of emails. Phone calls are often recapped and documented via email.
Formal complaints must be in writing either via email or mail and must include the following:
A statement clearly stating the complaint with supporting documentation
A description of the steps already taken to resolve the problem
The name and contact information of the person making the complaint
A statement of the desired resolution
Once the complaint is received:
COO will respond to the complainant confirming receipt of complaint and will forward the complaint to the President within 24 hours of receipt.
COO will log the complaint into the mail log and assign a Complaint ID in the following format: (P(preceptor initiating), S (for student initiating) date/initials of staff who received initial complaint. i.e. P112119CRJ)
COO creates tasks for appropriate follow-up in Asana to ensure timely responses
7 calendar days after initial complaint: Request for more information must be sent. (Assign to President).
10 calendar days after initial complaint: Schedule phone consultations (Assign to President).
Conclude Complaint [ID#] Process (within 60 calendar days) OR Next authority takes over complaint process. (Assign to President).
COO will create a Complaint/Grievance tracking form which is kept in the dropbox.
President will request further information if needed from complainant by calendar day 7 of receipt of complaint. President will inform the complainant that a response is required within 5 calendar days.
President will begin the process for scheduling a phone consultation with complainant by calendar day 10 of receipt of initial complaint. In the case that further information is requested, President will begin the process for scheduling a phone consultation with complainant by calendar day 10 of request for further information.
After the President initiates setting up a phone consultation, timing of contacts with complainant and timing for resolution of the complaint process will be variable, depending on the response times of the complainant and the extent of the complaint. The President will respond to any communications from the complainant within 24 hours of receipt and will communicate reasonable deadlines for the complainant’s responses.
President will have a phone consultation with the complainant in order to initiate a plan and to offer a solution. At this point, options for counseling and/or mediation will be made available again as possible solutions. The complainant will be assured that they are free to accept or reject counseling and/or mediation and will not be discriminated against as a consequence of their decision. The complainant will be informed that in the case that counseling and/or mediation options are accepted by the complainant, the original complaint will be closed. If counseling and/or mediation is not successful, a new complaint can be filed at any point. Complainants will also be given information about outside agencies they can complain to if they do not feel NCM’s policy provides the appropriate method for the complaint. They are also informed of their right to terminate their contract.
In the case that the complainant chooses to continue with the formal complaint process, they will be clearly asked by the President or their designee to determine what level of confidentiality is to be maintained. All communication will be kept confidential to the extent requested by the complainant, though it will be explained that keeping confidentiality often limits the ability of NCM to be able to conduct investigations and to address issues effectively.
The president or their designee will complete an investigation to the extent possible while honoring the complainant’s requests for confidentiality. Before or during the investigation, the President or their designee may consult with other staff members, board members, or other consultants to the extent possible while still honoring the complainant’s requests for confidentiality. Based on the findings of the investigation, the appropriate corrective actions will be taken.
In the case that the complainant requests confidentiality, corrective actions may include Confidentiality Maintained Education and Training (CMET) - See description below
Resolution and/or corrective actions must be initiated and The President or their designee must inform the complainant in writing of the resolution and/or corrective actions within 60 calendar days of the receipt of the written formal complaint.
If the complainant is dissatisfied with the resolution and/or corrective actions, they may file a written formal complaint with the NCM Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will have 60 calendar days to respond by following the steps outlined in this policy.
Notes will be taken and filed on all interactions relating to the matter. The report will include any actions taken by the College and the resolution reached. This report will be placed in the complainant’s file and, if appropriate in light of confidentiality issues, in the file of the accused, as well as in the grievance file for easy reference during accreditation reviews. All grievances including the original complaint, the process, timeline and the outcome will be maintained in the College’s complaint file for a minimum of seven years.
Formal Complaint or Grievance against NCM President Policy and Procedure
If the complaint is made against the President of the College, the complaint will go directly to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will follow the Complaint and Grievance Policies and Procedures outlined above. Written evidence of the outcome of the complaint and the NCM Board report will be maintained in the College’s President complaint file held in dropbox, which is password protected with the BOD President and Secretary the only persons to have the password for a minimum of seven years.
Confidentiality Maintained Education and Training (CMET)
In cases where complainants request that confidentiality be maintained, NCM has created a system called Confidentiality Maintained Education and Training (CMET). This system empowers NCM to respond to complaints without exposing the complainant to possible discrimination. This system may come into play in the case of an informal or formal complaint.
The process provides the accused with required education and/or training on the subject of the complaint in an online course without calling out the accused as having received a complaint. The course is created covering the appropriate material as determined by the President and/or advisors of their choice. The course is then required of the accused and 2 or more mentors of the President’s choosing and must be completed within 14 weeks. Since preceptors and students are required to acknowledge upon enrollment that occasionally the college requires additional training/education, the reason for the course requirement is maintained as a general requirement rather than a response to a complaint. The course material created for the purpose of the complaint response may later be integrated into future annual faculty training as deemed appropriate.
Unresolved Complaints Policy
If you are unable to resolve your complaints through the National College of Midwifery’s internal complaint process, you can file a complaint through the New Mexico Higher Education Department complaint process:
New Mexico State Complaint Registration
If the complainant is unable to resolve their complaints through the National College of Midwifery internal informal or formal complaint process, you can file a complaint through the New Mexico Higher Education Department complaint process. In accordance with the new Federal Program Integrity rules effective July 1, 2011, the New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) will review complaints regarding public and private postsecondary institutions in New Mexico as well as New Mexico resident students attending out-of-state institutions. NMHED will receive complaints that were unable to be resolved through the institution’s internal complaint process. Generally, in order to file a complaint with NMHED, you must have already filed with and received a response from the institution which you are complaining against. If you have legitimate reasons preventing you from filing a complaint with the institution, you must provide supporting documentation to that regard. Please use this link to go to New Mexico Higher Education Department complaints webpage: http://hed.state.nm.us/Complaint.aspx or https://hed.state.nm.us/students-parents/student-complaints NOTE: All Forms must be notarized.
All submitted complaints must include:
A copy of the complaint that was filed with the institution; and
A copy of the response/ruling received from the institution; or
Supporting documentation why a complaint could not be filed with the institution.
The following form is only to be submitted if the complaint is medical in nature (i. e. it involves disability, injury, illness, etc):
MEAC Complaint Policy
If the complainant is unable to resolve their complaints through the National College of Midwifery’s internal complaint process and the New Mexico Higher Education Department complaint process, please follow the MEAC Complaint Policy below: MEAC encourages parties to pursue informal grievance mediation attempts with each other, or with MEAC staff or Board members, to attempt to resolve grievances informally before commencing a formal written complaint process with MEAC. If those attempts fail, MEAC will review complaints received against an institution or program if it is in writing and complies with the guidelines set forth in the Accreditation Handbook:
Midwifery Education Accreditation Council 1935 Pauline Blvd., Ste. 100B Ann Arbor, MI 48103 Phone: (360) 466-2080 Fax: (480) 907-2936 firstname.lastname@example.org
Complaints regarding NCM’s internships in SARA states
SARA Policies and Standards, including those for consumer protection and the resolution of complaints, apply to interstate distance education offered by participating SARA institutions to students in other SARA states, including internships taking place in these states. Only those complaints resulting from distance education courses offered by participating institutions to students in other SARA states come under the terms of the agreement.
The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) is an agreement among
member states, districts and territories that sets national standards for interstate offering of post-secondary
distance education courses and programs. National College of Midwifery (NCM) is a NC-SARA institution
and the New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) is the NC-SARA Portal Entity for New Mexico.
Distance Education students attending NCM who desire to resolve a grievance should follow NCM’s
established complaint/ appeals process outlined in the NCM Handbook and Catalog. However, if an issue
cannot be resolved internally, the student may file a NC-SARA complaint with the New Mexico Higher
Education Department . NC-SARA Policies and Standards, including those for consumer protection and the
resolution of complaints, apply to interstate distance education offered by participating SARA institutions to
students in other SARA states, including internships taking place in these states. Only those complaints
resulting from distance education courses offered by participating institutions to students in other SARA
states come under the terms of the agreement. Complaints about a NC-SARA institution’s in-state
operations are to be resolved under the state’s provisions, not those of SARA. Complaints regarding grades
and student conduct violations shall not be reviewed by NMHED.