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CODE OF ETHICS


American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedists
Code of Ethics
2003

Introduction

The American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedists (ABCO) is a voluntary, non-profit, professional credentialing board that certifies qualified chiropractic physicians and practitioners engaged in the field of chiropractic medicine who have met the professional knowledge standards established by the Board.  Regardless of any other professional affiliation, the ABCO Code of Ethics (Code) applies to: all individuals certified by the ABCO as a Board Certified Chiropractic Orthopedist, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedists (DABCO), and those individuals seeking ABCO certification (candidates).  The Code serves as the minimum ethical standard for the professional behavior of ABCO Diplomates and can
didates. 

The Code is designed to provide both appropriate ethical practice guidelines and enforceable standards of conduct for all Diplomates and candidates.  The Code also serves as a professional resource for the chiropractic physicians and practitioners, as well as for those served by ABCO Diplomates and candidates, in the case of a possible ethical violation. 

General Guidelines

Among other primary goals, the ABCO is dedicated to the implementation of appropriate professional standards designed to serve patient welfare and the profession.  First and foremost, ABCO practitioners give priority to patient interests and act in a manner that promotes integrity and reflects positively on the profession consistent with accepted moral, ethical, and legal standards. 

            Generally, an ABCO Diplomate or candidate has the obligation to:

  1. Deal fairly with all patients in a timely fashion, and provide quality chiropractic services to patients, by utilizing all necessary professional resources in a technically appropriate and efficient manner, and by considering the cost effectiveness of treatments.
  1. Respect and promote the rights of patients by offering only professional services that he/she is qualified to perform and by adequately informing patients about the nature of their conditions, the objectives of the proposed treatment, treatment alternatives, possible outcomes, and the risk involved.
  1. Maintain the confidentiality of all patient information unless:  the information pertains to illegal activity; the patient expressly directs the release of specific information; or, a court or government agency lawfully directs the release of the information. 
  1. Avoid conduct which may cause a conflict with patient interests, and disclose to patients any circumstances that could be construed as a conflict of interest or an appearance of impropriety, or that could otherwise influence, interfere with, or compromise the exercise of independent professional clinical judgment;
  1. Engage in moral and ethical business practices by providing accurate and truthful representations concerning his/her professional qualifications and other relevant information in advertising and other representations; and,
  1. Further the professionalism of the specialty of chiropractic orthopedics by: being truthful with regard to research, sources, findings, and related professional activities; maintaining accurate and complete research records, and respecting the intellectual property and contributions of others.
Section A 

Compliance with Laws, Policies, and Rules Relating to the Profession


  1. The Diplomate/candidate will be aware of and comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing the profession.  The Diplomate/candidate will not knowingly participate in, or assist, any act in violation of applicable laws and regulations governing the profession.  Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of these laws and regulations does not excuse inappropriate or unethical behavior.  The Diplomate/candidate will be responsible for understanding these obligations.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will be aware of, and comply with, all ABCO rules, policies and procedures.  Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of an ABCO rule, policy or procedure does not excuse inappropriate or unethical behavior.  The Diplomate/candidate will not knowingly participate in, or assist, any act of violation of any ABCO rules, policies and procedures.  The Diplomate/candidate will be responsible for understanding these obligations.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will make appropriate efforts to promote compliance with, and awareness of, all applicable laws, regulations, and ABCO rules and policies governing the profession.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will make appropriate efforts to prevent violations of all applicable laws, regulations, and ABCO rules and policies governing the profession.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will provide accurate and truthful representations of all eligibility information, and will submit valid application materials for fulfillment of current certification and recertification requirements.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will maintain the security, and prevent the disclosure, of ABCO Certification Program examination information and materials.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will report any possible violations of this Code of Ethics to the appropriate government authority and to the appropriate ABCO representative upon a reasonable and clear factual basis. 
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will cooperate fully with the ABCO concerning the review of possible ethics violations and the collection of related information.

 

Section B 
Professional Practice Obligations


  1. The Diplomate/candidate will deliver competent chiropractic treatment or services in a timely manner and will provide quality patient care applying appropriately professional skill and compliance.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will recognize the limitations of his/her professional ability, and will only provide and deliver professional services for which he/she is qualified.  The Diplomate/candidate will be responsible for determining his/her own professional abilities based on his/her education, knowledge, competency and extent of practice experience in the field and other relevant considerations.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will use all health-related resources in a technically appropriate and efficient manner.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will provide chiropractic services based on patient needs and the cost-effectiveness of treatments, and will avoid unnecessary treatment or services.  The Diplomate/candidate will provide treatment that is both appropriate and necessary to the condition of the patient.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will exercise diligence and thoroughness in providing patient care, and in making professional diagnoses and recommendations solely for the patient’s benefit, free from any prejudiced or biased judgment.  The Diplomate/candidate who offers his/her services to the public will not decline a patient based on age, gender, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other bias that would constitute unlawful discrimination.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will provide appropriate professional referrals when it is determined that he/she is unable to provide competent professional, medical assistance. 
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will prepare and maintain all necessary, required, or otherwise appropriate records concerning his/her professional practice, including all records related to treatment of his/her patients. 
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will consult with other health care professionals when such consultation is appropriate, or when requested by the patient.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will act in a manner that may compromise his/her clinical judgment or his/her obligation to deal fairly with all patients.  The Diplomate/candidate will not allow medical conditions, personal problems, psychological distress, substance abuse, or mental health difficulties to interfere with his/her professional clinical judgment or performance.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will be truthful and accurate in all advertising and representations concerning qualifications, experience, competency and performance of services, including representations related to professional status and/or areas of special competence.  The Diplomate/candidate will not make false or deceptive statements concerning his/her training, experience, or competence; academic training or degrees; certification or credentials; institutional or association affiliations; services, or fees for services.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will not make explicit or implicit false or misleading statements about, or guarantees concerning, any treatment or service, orally or in writing.

 

Section C 

Requirements Related to Research and Professional Activies

  1. The Diplomate/candidate will be accurate, truthful, and otherwise act in an appropriate manner, with regard to research findings and related professional activities, and will make reasonable and diligent efforts to avoid any material representations.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will maintain appropriate, accurate, and complete records with respect to research findings and related professional activities.
  1. When preparing, developing, or presenting research information and materials, the Diplomate/candidate will not copy or use, in substantially similar form, materials prepared by others without acknowledging the correct source and identifying the name of the author or publisher of such material. 
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will  respect and protect the intellectual property rights of others, and will otherwise recognize the professional contributions of others.

 

Section D

Conflict of Interest and Appearance of Impropriety Requirements 

  1. The Diplomate/candidate will not engage in conduct that may cause an actual or perceived conflict between his/her own interests and the interests of his/her patient.  The Diplomate/candidate will avoid conduct that causes an appearance of impropriety.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will act to protect the interests and welfare of the patient before his/her own interests, unless such action is in conflict with any legal, ethical, or professional obligation.  The Diplomate/candidate will not exploit professional relationships for personal gain.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will disclose to patients any circumstance that could be construed as a conflict of interest or as appearance of impropriety or that could otherwise influence or interfere with the exercise of professional judgment.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will refrain from offering, or accepting inappropriate payments, gifts, or other forms of compensation for personal gain, unless in conformity with applicable laws, regulation and ABCO rules and policies.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will avoid conduct involving inappropriate, unlawful, or otherwise unethical monetary gain.

Section E

Compensation and Referral Disclosure Requirements 

  1. The Diplomate/candidate will charge fair, reasonable, and appropriate fees for all professional services.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will charge fees that accurately reflect the services and treatment provided to the patient.  When setting fees, the Diplomate/candidate will consider the length of time he/she has been practicing in this particular field, the amount of time necessary to perform the service, the nature of the patient’s condition, his/her professional qualifications and experience, and other relevant factors.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will make all appropriate disclosures to patients and prospective patients regarding any benefits paid to others for recommending or referring his/her services.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will make all appropriate disclosures to patients and prospective patients regarding any benefits received for recommending or referring the services of another individual.

Section F

Confidentiality Requirements

  1. The Diplomate/candidate will maintain and respect the confidentiality of all patient information obtained in the course of a professional relationship, unless:  the information pertains to illegal activity, the patient expressly directs the release of specific information, or a court or government agency lawfully directs the release of the information.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will respect and maintain the privacy of his/her patients.

 

Section G

Misconduct Prohibitions 

  1. The Diplomate/candidate will not engage in any criminal misconduct.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will not engage in any sexual, physical, romantic, or otherwise intimate conduct with a current patient, or with a former patient within two years following the termination of the patient relationship.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in professional activities.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will not engage in unlawful discrimination in professional activities.
  1. The Diplomate/candidate will avoid any behavior clearly in violation of accepted moral, ethical, or legal standards that may compromise the integrity of, or reflect negatively on, the profession.

 

 

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