GCA's Code of Ethics

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

A. 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.

G. 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.

K. 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.

L. 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 whatsoever.

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

A. Doctor of Chiropractic shall be knowledgeable and abide by all laws and related regulations governing the practice of chiropractic.

B. 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 programs.

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 health.

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 organizations.

G. Internal professional differences and opinions are best served and dealt with in a private, confidential and mature manner.

H. 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.