GCA Code of Ethics
Policy and Procedure Manual
Revised March 19, 2005
Section 1.: Purpose
Professional ethics are the body of fundamental moral principles that
underscore and direct every aspect of a doctor’s practice and
relationship with the public served. Unquestionably the doctor’s basic
and primary objective is to place the needs of the patient ahead of his
or her own. The doctor’s conduct should always be honorable, instilling
trust and building greater integrity and credibility for the profession.
This code of ethics should act only as a basic, but not all
encompassing, guide for the Doctor of Chiropractic to follow regarding
standards of conduct in relationship with the society in which he or she
is privileged to care for. This code is not intended to conflict with any existing legal statute. In the event it does, such law will supersede it.
Section 2.: Duties of the Doctor of Chiropractic to Patients
The health and welfare of the public should be paramount. The doctor of
chiropractic should be responsive to the call of patients and
prospective patients in need of professional care. It shall be the
doctor’s choice to accept or reject a particular patient.
B. Once a
patient has been accepted for care, the doctor should not neglect or
abandon the patient. Should it become necessary to withdraw from the
case the doctor should give reasonable notice in order that the patient
may seek care by another health care provider. In addition the doctor
should assist in an orderly transfer of records to the new doctor as
authorized by the patient and permitted by law.
C. The Doctor of
Chiropractic should recognize and respect patient’s rights and their
freedom of choice of chiropractors or other health care providers as
well as their right to change their choice at will.
D. Doctors of
Chiropractic owe loyalty, compassion and respect to their patients. They
should make every effort to protect the patients’ confidences and
records. They should not reveal or discuss a patient’s history,
symptoms, diagnosis, or treatment with anyone except as authorized by
the patient, or otherwise required by law.
E. The doctor’s
records, including x-rays of a patient, shall be considered a permanent
part of the doctor’s files in keeping with the requirements of the rules
and regulations of the Georgia Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
Information contained in these records, either as originals, or copies,
shall be made available to those persons as authorized and designated by
the patient. A reasonable charge may be made for the cost of copies up
to the amount allowed by Georgia Law.
F. The Doctor of
Chiropractic should endeavor to practice with the highest degree of
professional competency and honesty in the care of their patients.
Before treating a patient, the doctor should perform an examination
sufficient to adequately diagnose and document the clinical status of
the patients’ complaints, utilizing only those laboratory and diagnostic
procedures that are in the best interest of the patient and not in
conflict with the scope of their practice.
H. All examination,
laboratory, and daily clinical records should be kept on a
visit-by-visit basis. Such records should be maintained in a reasonable,
standard, legible and understandable format.
I. Honesty is
paramount in all doctor-patient transactions. When the doctor reports
findings to a patient it should be in a truthful and understandable
manner. The doctor should never minimize or exaggerate the clinical
significance of the patient’s condition.
J. The doctor’s
recommendation for care should be commensurate with the patient’s needs
and based on sound clinical judgment. The doctor should avoid false hope
or an unreasonable prognosis of the patient's treatment. The patient
should understand and thus make a determination to proceed with care.
The Doctor of Chiropractic should be willing to refer and/or consult
with other health care professionals when such could prove to be
beneficial to the patient’s overall well being. Should a patient fail to
benefit or show adequate clinical improvement in a reasonable period of
time, the doctor should so inform the patient, discontinue further
care, and make alternative recommendations or referrals.
Doctors are entitled to receive reasonable compensation for their
professional services that is commensurate with the value of those
services in light of their experience, certified specialization, time
required and complexity of the condition involved.
M. Doctors must
avoid the referral of a patient for goods or services elsewhere whereby
doing so the doctor receives some form of compensation directly or
indirectly in return for the referral. It shall be unethical to engage
in fee splitting in any form.
N. It shall be unethical to solicit
or receive patients, directly or indirectly, through a third party by
compensating the referring source or sources in any tangible manner
O. The Doctor of Chiropractic should maintain the
highest standards of professional and personal conduct and should
refrain from all illegal, unethical or morally reprehensible conduct, or
mere appearance of such impropriety.
Section 3.: Duties of the Doctor of Chiropractic to the Profession
Doctor of Chiropractic shall be knowledgeable and abide by all laws and
related regulations governing the practice of chiropractic.
The Doctor of Chiropractic should stay alert to the needs of the
profession and the expectations of the public, and to work for and
support those efforts that are mutually beneficial and will promote
greater public confidence.
C. As licensed members of a learned
profession Doctors of Chiropractic should strive to improve their
clinical skills by availing themselves to the latest scientific concepts
and teachings as taught in accredited continuing professional education
D. The Doctor of Chiropractic should work to promote
cordial relations with all members and branches of the healing arts, to
encourage dialogue, and the exchange of information to benefit public
E. Doctors of Chiropractic and their immediate dependents
should receive gratuitous professional services (i.e., professional
courtesy) from other doctors of chiropractic unless other arrangements
are agreed upon in advance.
F. Doctors of Chiropractic should be
supportive of only those organizations that promote the ethical practice
of the profession. They should in turn shun and strongly discourage
participation in unethical, self-serving, entrepreneurial programs, or
G. Internal professional differences and opinions are best served and dealt with in a private, confidential and mature manner.
When a Doctor of Chiropractic observes a violation of the code of
ethics, the doctor has the responsibility to report it. The complaint
should be in writing and sent to the ethics committee of the Georgia
Chiropractic Association. If the offending doctor is not a member of the
GCA, then the association can take no action since the doctor is not
under the jurisdiction of the association. The reporting doctor or
person is so advised of these facts.