What’s New in the 2016 Ethics Code? A revised ASHA Code of Ethics, approved in March by the ASHA Board of Directors, includes updates to the preamble, new terminology, new rules, and revisions to the principles. Here’s a closer look at why and how changes were made—and what’s different now for ASHA members. Code review and ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   July 01, 2016
What’s New in the 2016 Ethics Code?
Author Notes
  • — Heather Bupp, Esq., is ASHA director of ethics. hbupp@asha.org
    — Heather Bupp, Esq., is ASHA director of ethics. hbupp@asha.org×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   July 01, 2016
What’s New in the 2016 Ethics Code?
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, 58-59. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.21072016.58
The ASHA Leader, July 2016, Vol. 21, 58-59. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.21072016.58
A revised ASHA Code of Ethics, approved in March by the ASHA Board of Directors, includes updates to the preamble, new terminology, new rules, and revisions to the principles. Here’s a closer look at why and how changes were made—and what’s different now for ASHA members.
Why, how, when?
Code review and revision is a cyclic, association-bylaw-mandated task of the Board of Ethics (BOE). The process of amending the 2010r Code of Ethics began with the BOE Ethics Education Subcommittee completing the initial code analysis and proposing amendments for discussion and approval by the full BOE. The BOE then sent it to the ASHA Board of Directors for final approval. The guiding focus of this code revision was to strengthen, broaden and clarify the code provisions.
Conducted over two years, the task included:
  • Referring to current codes of other relevant, professional credentialing associations.

  • Adding new or expanded themes emerging from actual BOE adjudicated cases over the last five years.

  • Soliciting input from relevant stakeholders.

Members participated in select and widespread peer reviews of the code drafts, and they largely were very supportive of the code changes. The board’s unanimous approval bore out the members’ strong endorsement for the amended 2016 code.

Members often struggle to decide whether and when to report a colleague who they know or suspect has engaged in ethical misconduct.

What?
The result is a more user-friendly code that includes an updated preamble, modified BOE jurisdiction over complaints, a new terminology section, 15 new rules, significant revisions to the principles, and many fine-tuning edits. The terminology section—not included in any previous version—defines key terms, giving members greater accuracy and a more comprehensive understanding of how a rule might apply in a real ethical dilemma.
The high-profile issues that garnered the most debate were those related to uncertified ASHA members (Principle II, Rule B) and to informed consent and diminished decision-making ability (revised Principle I, Rule H). The importance of topics such as self-disclosure, independent professional judgment, supervision, reporting out, and research conduct was secured by embedding those topical themes under multiple rules throughout the document. For instance, supervision is now covered in Principle I, Rules D, E, F and G; Principle II, Rules E and F; and Principle IV, Rule I.
Most of the new rules, listed as follows, touch on at least one of these topics: Principle I, Rule J; Principle I, Rule M; Principle I, Rule S; Principle II, Rule B; Principle II, Rule C; Principle II, Rule F; Principle II, Rule G; Principle III, Rule G; Principle IV, Rule A; Principle IV, Rule F; Principle IV, Rule N; Principle IV, Rule Q; Principle IV, Rule R; Principle IV, Rule S; and Principle IV, Rule T.
Members often struggle to decide whether and when to report a colleague who they know or suspect has engaged in ethical misconduct. That report may be to an onsite supervisor within the profession, an employer’s human resources office, a state licensing board, and/or the ASHA BOE. The thorny questions the member faces are much the same in each situation.

The high-profile issues that garnered the most debate were those related to uncertified ASHA members and to informed consent and diminished decision-making ability.

Of course, patients, students and their family members frequently face a similar problem when considering reporting an ASHA member. When the source of the potential violation of the code is a reliable, public record, the reporter can easily be anonymous. When the source of the potential complaint is not based on a public record, the BOE cannot accept an anonymous report or complaint.
To address ASHA members’ uncertainty and discomfort with reporting and disclosures, a new theme in the 2016 code concentrates on various types of newly required professional reporting and disclosures, which are defined in the terminology section as well as in specific rules. Self-reporting is covered in Principle IV, Rules S and T; reporting of others, both inside and outside the professions, is delineated in Principle IV, Rule N, and Principle I, Rule S. Required disclosures are covered in Principle III, Rule B, and Principle IV, Rules F and Q.
Where?
The 2016 code can be found at on.asha.org/coe-2016. In addition to the newly revised 2016 version, the BOE actively uses the previous code versions from 2010 and 2010r. For example, if the basis of an ethics complaint is a member’s criminal conviction that occurred in July 2014—prior to the 2016 effective date of the revised code—then code version 2010r would apply solely, or in addition to 2016, for BOE adjudication of the complaint. Familiarity with the two most recent code versions is imperative for members in supervisory, mentoring, administrator or owner roles, as their ethical responsibilities have increased in the 2016 code. For questions, email ethics@asha.org.
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July 2016
Volume 21, Issue 7