§ 45.102. Code of Ethics.

 (a)  General. The Board is empowered by section 5(2) of the act (63 P. S. §  1705(2)) to promulgate a Code of Ethics for speech-language pathologists, audiologists and teachers of the hearing-impaired, and the Board finds that the following rules are essential for establishing and maintaining stringent standards of professional conduct and for protecting the public interest, the Board has established the following Code of Ethics. A violation of this code constitutes unprofessional conduct under §  45.103 (relating to unprofessional conduct) or, as applicable, fraud or deceit under §  45.104 (relating to fraud or deceit), and subjects the violator to appropriate disciplinary action.

 (b)  Preamble.

   (1)  The preservation of the highest standards of integrity is vital to the successful discharge of the professional responsibilities of speech-language pathologists, audiologists and teachers of the hearing-impaired. To this end, the Board has established this Code of Ethics to safeguard the public health, safety and welfare and to assure that speech-language and hearing services of the highest possible quality are available to the people of this Commonwealth. A violation of a provision of the Code of Ethics constitutes unprofessional conduct subject to disciplinary action. Accordingly, failure to specify a particular responsibility or practice in the code should not be construed as a deliberate omission.

   (2)  The fundamental rules of ethical conduct are described in the following categories:

     (i)   Principles of Ethics. Seven principles serve as the basis for the ethical evaluation of professional conduct and form the underlying moral basis for the Code of Ethics. Speech-language pathologists, audiologists and teachers of the hearing-impaired, as defined in the act, shall observe these principles as affirmative obligations under all conditions of professional activity.

     (ii)   Ethical proscriptions. Ethical proscriptions are formal statements of prohibitions that are derived from the Principles of Ethics.

 (c)  Principle of Ethics I.

   (1)  Because speech-language pathologists, audiologists and teachers of the hearing-impaired provide nonmedical and nonsurgical services, medical diagnosis and medical treatment by these persons are specifically to be considered unethical and illegal.

     (i)   A licensee shall provide treatment pursuant only to an examination and diagnosis of the person served.

     (ii)   A licensee who performs examinations and treatments shall use evaluation instruments, techniques and procedures commonly recognized by their profession and compatible with their education, expertise and professional competence.

   (2)  Ethical proscriptions are as follows: A licensee may not provide treatment if the results of the diagnostic examination disclose a need for medical evaluation as commonly recognized by the profession.

 (d)  Principles of Ethics II.

   (1)  A licensee shall hold paramount the welfare of persons served professionally.

     (i)   A licensee shall use every resource available, including referral to other specialists as needed, to provide the best service possible.

     (ii)   A licensee shall fully inform a person served, a parent or guardian, of the nature and possible effects of the services.

     (iii)   A licensee shall fully inform subjects participating in research or teaching activities of the nature and possible effects of these activities.

     (iv)   A licensee shall provide appropriate access to the records of a person served professionally.

     (v)   A licensee shall take all reasonable precautions to avoid injuring a person in the delivery of professional services.

     (vi)   A licensee shall evaluate services and products rendered to determine their effectiveness.

   (2)  Ethical proscriptions are as follows:

     (i)   A licensee may not exploit a person in the delivery or payment for professional services, as provided for under the act. Exploitation of services includes accepting persons for treatment or by continuing treatment when benefits cannot reasonably be expected.

     (ii)   A licensee may not guarantee the results of a therapeutic procedure, directly or by implication. A reasonable statement of prognosis may be made, but caution shall be exercised not to mislead a person served professionally to expect results that cannot be predicted from sound evidence.

     (iii)   A licensee may not use a person for teaching or research in a manner that constitutes invasion of privacy or fails to afford informed free choice to participate.

     (iv)   A licensee may not evaluate or treat speech, language or hearing disorders except in a professional relationship. The licensee may not evaluate or treat solely by correspondence. This proscription does not preclude follow-up correspondence with a person previously seen or providing the person with general information of an educational nature.

     (v)   A licensee may not discriminate in the delivery of professional services on the basis of race, sex, age, religion or another basis that is unjustifiable or irrelevant to the need for and potential benefit from the services.

 (e)  Principle of Ethics III.

   (1)  A licensee shall maintain high standards of professional competence.

     (i)   A licensee engaging in clinical practice or supervision shall hold the appropriate license for the area in which the licensee is providing professional services or supervising the provision of the services.

     (ii)   A licensee shall continue professional development throughout his career.

     (iii)   A licensee shall identify competent, dependable referral sources for a person served.

     (iv)   A licensee shall maintain adequate records of professional services rendered.

     (v)   A licensee shall exercise his own independent professional judgment in evaluating and effectuating prescriptions for services.

   (2)  Ethical proscriptions are as follows:

     (i)   A licensee may not provide services or supervision which the licensee is not qualified to perform under the act, nor may the licensee permit services to be provided by a staff person who is not qualified pursuant to the requirements of the act.

     (ii)   A licensee may not delegate to an unlicensed person any service requiring the professional competence of a licensed individual.

     (iii)   A licensee may not offer clinical services by assistants, students or trainees for whom he does not provide appropriate supervision and assume full responsibility.

     (iv)   A licensee may not require or suggest that anyone under his supervision engage in a practice that is a violation of this Code of Ethics.

 (f)  Principle of Ethics IV.

   (1)  A licensee’s statement to a person served professionally and to the public shall provide accurate information about the nature and management of communicative disorders, about the profession and about services rendered by its practitioners.

   (2)  Ethical proscriptions are as follows:

     (i)   A licensee may not misrepresent training or competence.

     (ii)   A licensee’s public statements providing information about professional services and products may not contain representations or claims that are false, deceptive or misleading.

     (iii)   A licensee may not use professional or commercial affiliations in a way that would mislead persons served or limit the services available to them.

 (g)  Principle of Ethics V.

   (1)  A licensee shall maintain objectivity in all matters concerning the welfare of a person served. Accordingly, a licensee who dispenses products to a person served shall observe the following standards:

     (i)   Products associated with professional practice shall be dispensed to a person served as part of a program of comprehensive habilitative care.

     (ii)   Fees established for professional services shall be independent of whether a product is dispensed.

     (iii)   A person served shall be allowed freedom of choice as to the source of services and products, in accordance with the act of May 26, 1988 (P. L. 403, No. 66) (35 P. S. § §  449.21—449.23).

     (iv)   Price information about professional services rendered and products dispensed shall be disclosed by providing to or posting for a person served a complete schedule of fees and charges in advance of rendering services. This schedule shall differentiate between fees for professional services and charges for products dispensed.

     (v)   A licensee shall evaluate products dispensed to a person served to determine their effectiveness.

   (2)  An ethical proscription is as follows: a licensee may not participate in activities that constitute conflicts of professional interest.

 (h)  Principle of Ethics VI.

   (1)  A licensee shall uphold the dignity of the profession and freely accept its self-imposed standards.

   (2)  A licensee shall inform the Board when he has reason to believe that a licensee under the act may have violated this Code of Ethics.

   (3)  Ethical proscriptions are as follows:

     (i)   A licensee may not engage in violations of this Code of Ethics or attempt in any way to circumvent it.

     (ii)   A licensee may not engage in dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or another form of illegal conduct.



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