ABC Code Changes — What You Need to Know

Effective January 1, several important changes were also made to ABC’s Code of Professional Responsibility. Because the Code reflects contemporary practice, updates are a necessary part of the process to stay current with the profession. All ABC certified professionals, residents, facility owners and practice managers need to be aware of these new Code requirements.                                                                                                                      

Terminating a Patient Relationship

The Patient Care section was expanded, with new language concerning how a provider terminates a patient relationship. This addition will not only assist providers in navigating these situations, but will also protect patients.

Solicitation

New language was also added to the Solicitation section. ABC has received feedback from patients, facilities and certified individuals concerning the problem of some providers soliciting their former patients after they have left a practice’s employment. There has always been a section concerning solicitation; however, the board felt it was time to clarify its position on this topic.

Another area of concern is the growing incidence of practices employing 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.

Records

The main concept of this newly added section is that providers must provide a copy of a patient’s records, when requested, and cannot charge the patient more than allowed by Federal or State regulations.

Illegal Discrimination and Harassment

This section was expanded with this addition: ABC Credential Holders shall not engage in any harassing behavior or illegal discrimination of any kind. In addition, ABC, along with the organizational members of the O&P Alliance, have focused educational efforts to highlight this issue. The Alliance’s Sexual Harassment Resource Guide is available at ABCop.org.

To review the updated Code, go to ABCop.org. Also, be sure to listen to our March CredCast podcast, Cracking the Code, as we sit down with ABC Director of Clinical Resources, Steve Fletcher, CPO, LPO, for an in-depth look at these important changes.