The preservation of the highest standards of integrity and ethical principles is vital to the responsible discharge of obligations in the professions of speech language pathology and audiology. This Code of Ethics sets forth the fundamental principles and rules considered essential to this purpose. Every individual who is a member of the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association shall abide by this Code of Ethics.
Any action that violates the spirit and purpose of this Code shall be considered unethical. Failure to specify any particular responsibility or practice in this Code of Ethics shall not be construed as denial of the existence of such responsibilities or practices.
The fundamentals of ethical conduct are described by Principles of Ethics and by Rules of Ethics as they relate to responsibility to persons served, to the public, and to the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology.
Principles of Ethics, aspirational and inspirational in nature, form the underlying moral basis for the Code of Ethics. Individuals shall observe these principles as affirmative obligations under all conditions of professional activity.
Rules of Ethics are specific statements of minimally acceptable professional conduct or prohibitions and are applicable to all individuals.
Principle of Ethics I
Individuals shall honor their responsibility to hold paramount the welfare of persons they serve professionally.
Rules of Ethics
- Individuals shall provide all services competently.
- Individuals shall use every resource, including referral when appropriate, to ensure that high-quality service is provided.
- Individuals shall not discriminate in the delivery of professional services on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or handicapping condition.
- Individuals shall fully inform the persons they serve of the nature and possible effects of services rendered and products dispensed.
- Individuals shall evaluate the effectiveness of services rendered and of products dispensed and shall provide services or dispense products only when benefit can reasonably be expected.
- Individuals shall not guarantee the results of any treatment or procedure, directly or by implication; however, they may make a reasonable statement of prognosis.
- Individuals shall not evaluate or treat speech, language or hearing disorders solely by correspondence.
- Individuals shall maintain adequate records of professional services rendered and products dispensed and shall allow access to these records when appropriately authorized.
- Individuals shall not reveal, without authorization, any professional or personal information about the person served professionally, unless required by law to do so or unless doing so is necessary to protect the welfare of the person or of the community.
- Individuals shall not charge for services not rendered, nor shall they misrepresent, in any fashion, services rendered or products dispensed.
- Individuals shall use persons in research or as subjects of teaching demonstrations only with their informed consent.
- Individuals shall withdraw from professional practice when substance abuse or an emotional or mental disability may adversely affect the quality of services they render.
Principle of Ethics II
Individuals shall honor their responsibility to achieve and maintain the highest level of professional competence.
Rules of Ethics
- Individuals shall engage in the provision of clinical services only when they hold the appropriate Certificate of Clinical Competence or when they are in the certification process and are supervised by an individual who holds the appropriate Certificate of Clinical Competence.
- Individuals shall engage in only those aspects of the professions that are within the scope of their competence, considering their level of education, training, and experience.
- Individuals shall continue their professional development throughout their careers.
- Individuals shall delegate the provision of clinical services only to persons who are certified or to persons in the education or certification process who are appropriately supervised. The provision of support services may be delegated to persons who are neither certified nor in the certification process only when a certificate holder provides appropriate supervision.
- Individuals shall prohibit any of their professional staff from providing services that exceed the staff member’s competence, considering the staff member’s level of education, training, and experience.
- Individuals shall ensure that all equipment used in the provision of services is in proper working order and is properly calibrated.
Principle of Ethics III
Individuals shall honor their responsibility to the public by promoting public understanding of the professions, by supporting the development of services designed to fulfill the unmet needs of the public, and by providing accurate information in all communications involving any aspect of the professions.
Rules of Ethics
- Individuals shall not misrepresent their credentials, competence, education, training or experience.
- Individuals shall not participate in professional activities that constitute a conflict of interest.
- Individuals shall not misrepresent diagnostic information, services rendered or products dispensed or engage in any scheme or artifice to defraud in connection with obtaining payment or reimbursement for such services or products.
- Individuals’ statements to the public shall provide accurate information about the nature and management of communication disorders, about the professions, and about professional services.
- Individuals’ statements to the public advertising, announcing, and marketing their professional services, reporting research results, and promoting products —shall adhere to prevailing professional standards and shall not contain misrepresentations.
Principle of Ethics IV
Individuals shall honor their responsibility to the professions and their relationships with colleagues, students, and members of allied professions, individuals shall uphold the dignity and autonomy of the professions, maintain harmonious interprofessional, and intraprofessional relationships, and accept the professions’ self-imposed standards.
Rules of Ethics
- Individuals shall prohibit anyone under their supervision from engaging in any practice that violates the Code of Ethics.
- Individuals shall not engage in dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or any form of conduct that adversely reflects on the profession or on the individual’s fitness to serve persons professionally.
- Individuals shall assign credit only to those who have contributed to a publication, presentation or product. Credit shall be assigned in proportion to the contribution and only with the contributor’s consent.
- Individuals’ statements to colleagues about professional services, research results, and products shall adhere to prevailing professional standards and shall contain no misrepresentations.
- Individuals shall not provide professional services without exercising independent professional judgment, regardless of referral source or prescription.
- Individuals who have reason to believe that the Code of Ethics has been violated shall inform the Ethical Practice Committee.
- Individuals shall cooperate fully with the Ethical Practice Committee in its investigation and adjudication of matters related to this Code of Ethics.
- Individuals shall not discriminate in their relationships with colleagues, students, and members of allied professions on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or handicapping condition.
Ethical Practice Committee
Statement of Practices and Procedures
The Ethical Practice Committee (EPC) is charged by the Bylaws of the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association with the responsibility to interpret, administer, and enforce the Code of Ethics of the Association. Accordingly, the EPC hereby adopts the following practices and procedures to be followed in administering and enforcing that Code. A fundamental precept that guides the EPC in the discharge of its responsibility is that an effective Code of Ethics requires an orderly and fair administration and enforcement of its terms, and requires full compliance by all members of the Association. The EPC recognizes that each case must be judged on an individual basis, and that no two cases are likely to be identical. Thus, the EPC has the responsibility to exercise its judgment on the merits of each case and on its interpretation of the Code.
A. Definition of Terms
- EPC–Ethical Practice Committee
- Association–Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- Code–Code of Ethics of the Association
- Respondent–The alleged offender
- Complainant(s)–The person(s) alleging that a violation occurred
- Initial Determination–Initial Determination by the EPC, subject to appeal, of the (a) finding, (b) proposed sanction, and (c) extent of disclosure
- Sanction(s)–Penalties imposed by the EPC
- Disclosure–Announcement of the final EPC Decision to other than Respondent
- Appeal–Written request from Respondent to EPC alleging error in the Initial Determination and asking that it be reversed in whole or in part through a Further Consideration and then, in part by the Executive Board Appeals Panel necessary through an Executive Board hearing
- Further Consideration–First stage in the Appeal process whereby the EPC again considers its Initial Determination in light of evidence submitted by the complainant
- EPC Decision– Reaffirmation or modification of Initial Determination following Further Consideration Hearing
- Executive Board Hearing–Final stage in the Appeal process in which the Executive Board reviews the EPC Decision
- Final Decision–Action that occurs (a) if Appeals are not requested within 30 days of notification following either the Initial Determination or the Further Consideration Hearing or (b) after Executive Board Hearing
B. Investigative Procedures
- Alleged violations shall be reviewed by the EPC in such manner as the EPC may, in its discretion, deem necessary and proper. If, after review, the EPC elects to investigate the allegation, the EPC shall notify Respondent of the alleged offense in writing and shall advise Respondent that Respondent’s answer to the allegation shall be in writing and must be received by the EPC no later than 45 days after the date of EPC notice to Respondent. Voluntary resignation of membership shall not preclude the EPC from continuing to process the alleged violation to conclusion, and the notice from the EPC to Respondent requesting an answer shall so advise Respondent.
- At the discretion of the EPC, the Executive Board may be informed that Respondent is under investigation by the EPC for alleged violation of the Code and may be instructed that no change in membership status shall be permitted without approval of the EPC.
- The EPC shall consider all information secured from its investigation, including Respondent’s answer to the allegation, and shall base its Initial Determination on that information.
- If the EPC finds that there is not sufficient evidence to warrant further proceedings, Respondent and Complainant(s) shall be so advised and the investigation shall be terminated.
- If the EPC finds that there is sufficient evidence to warrant further proceedings, the EPC shall make an Initial Determination, which includes (1) the finding of violation, (2) the proposed sanction, and (3) the proposed extent of disclosure. In this regard, the final decision of any State, Federal, regulatory or judicial body may be considered sufficient evidence that the Code was violated.
- The EPC may, as part of its Initial Determination, order that the Respondent cease and desist from any practice found to be a violation of the Code. Failure to comply with such a Cease and Desist Order is, itself, a violation of the Code, and shall normally result in Revocation of Membership.
- The EPC shall give Respondent notice of its Initial Determination, with copy to Complainant(s). The notice shall also advise Respondent of the right to request Further Consideration by the EPC and of the right, after Further Consideration, to request an appeal to the Executive Board Appeals Panel. The procedures to be followed in exercising those rights are described in Sections F and G of this statement.
C. Notices and Answers
All notices and answers shall be in writing and considered to be given or furnished (1) to Respondent when sent—Certified Mail, Addressee only, Return Receipt Requested—to the address then listed in the TSHA membership records, and (2) to the EPC when received by the EPC.
Sanctions shall consist of one or more of the following: Reprimand, Censure, Withhold, Suspend or Revoke Membership, or other measures determined by the EPC at its discretion.
The EPC shall determine the extent of disclosure of both the finding of a violation and imposed sanction(s). This disclosure shall be either private or public.
- A private disclosure is directed only to Respondent, Respondent’s counsel, Complainant(s), witnesses at the EPC Further Consideration Hearing and/or at the Executive Board Hearing, staff, and Association counsel, each of whom shall be advised that the decision is strictly confidential and that any breach of that confidentiality by any party who is a member of the Association is, a Code of Ethics violation.
- A public disclosure means publication of the finding and sanction(s) in the Communicologist and the Journal TEJAS.
- In appropriate cases, including when the sanction is Reprimand, the EPC may also determine that its Decision shall be disclosed to aggrieved parties and/or other appropriate individuals, bodies or agencies.
F. Further Consideration by the EPC of the Initial Determination
- When the notice of Initial Determination from the EPC states that Respondent has violated the Code and announces a proposed sanction and extent of disclosure, Respondent may request that the EPC give Further Consideration to the Initial Determination.
- Respondent’s request for Further Consideration shall be in writing and must be received by the EPC Chair no later than 30 days after the date of notice of Initial Determination. The request for Further Consideration must specify in what respects the Initial Determination was allegedly wrong and why. In the absence of a timely request for Further Consideration, the Initial Determination shall become the EPC Decision and there shall be no further right of appeal to the Executive Board.
- If Respondent submits a timely request for Further Consideration by the EPC, the EPC shall schedule a hearing and notify Respondent. At the hearing, Respondent shall be entitled to appear personally to present evidence and to be accompanied by counsel. The proceeding shall be informal; strict adherence to the rules of evidence shall not be observed, but all evidence shall be accorded such weight as it deserves. As an alternative to personal appearance at the hearing, the EPC shall afford Respondent the opportunity to make a presentation to the EPC and to respond to questions from the EPC via a conference call placed to Respondent by the EPC. All personal costs in connection with the Further Consideration Hearing, including travel and lodging costs incurred by Respondent, Respondent’s counsel and witnesses, and counsel and other fees, shall be Respondent’s sole responsibility. The hearing shall be transcribed in full and, upon request, a copy of the transcript shall be made available to Respondent at Respondent’s sole expense.
- After the Further Consideration Hearing, the EPC shall render its decision and notify Respondent. If evidence presented at the hearing warrants, the EPC may modify the finding, increase or decrease the severity of the sanction, and/or modify the extent of disclosure that was announced to Respondent in the notice of Initial Determination. This decision shall be the EPC Decision, and in the absence of a timely appeal to the Executive Board, the EPC Decision shall be final.
G. Appeal of EPC Decision to Executive Board Appeals Panel
- Respondent may appeal the EPC Decision to the Executive Board. The request for appeal shall be in writing and must be received by the EPC Chair no later than 30 days after the date of notice of the EPC Decision. The request for appeal shall specify in what respects the EPC Decision was allegedly wrong and why.
- The procedures for a hearing before the Executive Board Appeals Panel are described in the Executive Board Statement of Practices and Procedures for Appeals of Decisions of the Ethical Practice Committee.
Persons whose membership has been revoked, withheld, and/or suspended, may, upon application therefore, be reinstated after one year upon two-thirds vote of the EPC. The applicant bears the burden of demonstrating that the reason(s) for revocation no longer exist and that, upon reinstatement, applicant will abide by the Code.
This Statement of Practices and Procedures may be amended upon recommendation of the EPC and by a majority vote of the Executive Board. All such changes will be given appropriate publicity.
Ethical Practice Committee
The Ethical Practice Committee shall be composed of a Chair, who shall be an Executive Board Member of the Association, three (3) members, each of whom is appointed for staggered three-year terms, and an individual from the Association Office who shall serve as ex-officio to the committee.
The three members appointed to the Committee shall include a speech-language pathologist and an audiologist. Due consideration shall be given to employment contexts and geographical location in the appointment of committee members. Members shall serve three-year terms, except that for the initial year, one member shall be appointed for a one-year term, one member shall be appointed for a two-year term, and one member shall be appointed for a three-year term.
- For purposes of this Code of Ethics, misrepresentation incudes any untrue statements or statements that are likely to mislead. Misrepresentation also includes the failure to state any information that is material and that ought, in fairness, to be considered.
- In order to provide an opportunity for the procedures and policies of the Ethical Practice Committee to be fully considered and implemented, the "initial year" appointments shall begin immediately following the end of the 1989 TSHA Convention.