At their September meeting, the ABC Board of Directors approved revisions to the ABC Code of Professional Responsibility and Rules & Procedures. These changes were effective January 1, 2020. The following two changes are the most significant and we’d like to highlight them and provide further explanation.
We have received feedback from patients, facilities and certified individuals concerning the problem of some providers soliciting their former patients after they have left employment from a practice. The Code has always had a section concerning solicitation; however, the board felt it was time to clarify its position on this topic. One area of concern is the growing use of practices using current patients as a customer service/patient representative/advocate. There is nothing wrong with creating a role for patients to improve communication between the clinical practice staff and the patients they serve. However, potential problems arise when these representatives actively solicit new patients for the practice.
An O&P practice hires one of their amputee patients as a patient representative. This same individual also happens to be a Certified Peer Visitor, offering support and encouragement to persons who have recently had an amputation. When the patient representative is visiting a new amputee at the hospital, it would be inappropriate for them to solicit the new amputee to receive care from the O&P practice where they are employed. The changes in the Solicitation section of the Code include adding the term representatives to the language as well as clearly stating that ABC credential holders, or their representatives, cannot solicit a patient while they are at an in-patient setting unless they have received a valid order to see the patient.
An entirely new section was added to the Code, Section C3.2 — also effective Jan. 1, detailing the steps ABC credential holders must take if they want to terminate their provider/patient relationship with an individual. Here is the new language:
In the event the ABC Credential Holder seeks to terminate the professional relationship with a patient, the ABC Credential Holder shall provide advance written notification of such termination to the patient. The notification must include, at least, the effective date of the termination, the reason(s) for the termination and a statement that, upon the patient’s written request, the ABC Credential Holder shall deliver a copy of the patient’s records to the patient.
A companion section, C3.3, was also added relating to new requirements about providing a copy of the patient’s records upon request.
All ABC certified practitioners, facility owners and practice managers need to be aware of these new Code requirements.