CODE OF ETHICS

The Academy Code of Ethics applies to all individuals Credentialed by the American Academy of HIV Medicine as an HIV Specialist™, HIV Expert™ or HIV Pharmacist™; all individuals seeking Academy Credentialing, all provider Members of the Academy, all providers seeking Academy Membership, and, as applicable, all “non-provider Academy Members”, hereinafter referred to collectively as “Academy Providers”. The Code is designed to provide appropriate ethical practice guidelines and enforceable standards of conduct.
Preamble/General Guidelines
Among other primary goals, the Academy is dedicated to the implementation of appropriate professional standards designed to serve patient welfare and the profession. First and foremost, Academy Providers give priority to patient interests, and act in a manner that promotes integrity and reflects positively on the profession, consistent with accepted moral, ethical and legal standards. Generally, an Academy Provider has the obligation to:
  1. Deal fairly with all patients in a timely fashion, and provide quality medical and nursing services to patients by utilizing all necessary professional resources in a technically appropriate and efficient manner, and by considering the cost effectiveness of treatments;
  2. Respect and promote the rights of patients by offering only professional services that he/she is qualified to perform, and by adequately informing patients about the nature of their conditions, the objectives of the proposed treatment, treatment alternatives, possible outcomes, and the risks involved;
  3. Maintain the confidentiality of all patient information, except where: The release of specific information is allowed, required or directed by law, a court, or government agency; or the patient expressly directs the release of specific information;
  4. Avoid conduct which may cause a conflict with patient interests, or that could otherwise influence, interfere with, or compromise the exercise of independent, professional, clinical judgment;
  5. Engage in moral and ethical business practices, by providing accurate and truthful representations concerning his/her professional qualifications and other relevant information in advertising and other representations; and,
  6. Further the professionalism of the specialty of HIV medicine by: being truthful with regard to research sources, findings, and related professional activities; maintaining accurate and complete research records; and, respecting the intellectual property and contributions of others.
Section A: Compliance with Laws, Policies, and Rules Relating to the Profession
  1. Academy Providers will be aware of, and comply with, all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing the profession. Academy Providers will not knowingly participate or assist in any acts in violation of applicable laws and regulations governing the profession. Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of these laws and regulations does not excuse inappropriate or unethical behavior. Academy Providers will be responsible for understanding these obligations.
  2. Academy Providers will be aware of, and comply with, all Academy rules, policies, and procedures. Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of an Academy rule, policy, or procedure does not excuse inappropriate or unethical behavior. Academy Providers will not knowingly participate or assist in any acts that violate any Academy rules, policies, and procedures. Academy Providers will be responsible for understanding these obligations.
  3. Academy Providers will provide accurate and truthful representations of all eligibility information, and will submit valid application materials for fulfillment of current credentialing and recredentialing requirements.
  4. Academy Providers will maintain the security, and prevent the disclosure, of the HIV Credentialing Exam information and materials.
  5. Academy Providers will report any possible violations of this Code of Ethics to the appropriate government authority and to the appropriate Academy representative.
  6. Academy Providers will cooperate fully with the Academy concerning the review of possible ethics violations and the collection of related information.
Section B: Professional Practice Obligations
  1. Academy Providers will deliver competent medical and nursing treatment or services in a timely manner, and will provide quality patient care applying appropriate professional skill and competence.
  2. Academy Providers will recognize the limitations of their professional ability, and will only provide and deliver professional services for which they are qualified. Each Academy Provider will be responsible for determining his/her own professional abilities based on his/her education, knowledge, competency, extent of practice experience in the field, and other relevant considerations.
  3. Academy Providers will use all health-related resources in a technically appropriate and efficient manner.
  4. Academy Providers will provide medical and nursing services based on patient needs and the cost-effectiveness of treatments, and will avoid unnecessary treatment or services. Academy Providers will provide treatment that is both appropriate and necessary to the condition of the patient.
  5. Academy Providers will exercise diligence and thoroughness in providing patient care, and in making professional diagnoses and recommendations solely for the patient’s benefit, free from any prejudiced or biased judgment. Academy Providers, who offer their services to the public, will not decline a patient based on age, religion, gender, race, color, sexual orientation or affectional preference, national origin, HIV status or other medical diagnosis, or any other basis that would constitute unlawful discrimination.
  6. Academy Providers will provide appropriate professional referrals when it is determined that they are unable to provide the professional medical assistance necessary for the case.
  7. Academy Providers will prepare and maintain all necessary, required, or otherwise appropriate records concerning their professional practice, including all records related to treatment of their patients.
  8. Academy Providers will consult with other health care professionals when such consultation is appropriate.
  9. Academy Providers will not act in a manner that may compromise their clinical judgment or their obligation to deal fairly with all patients. Academy Providers will not allow medical conditions, personal problems, psychological distress, substance abuse, or mental health difficulties to interfere with their professional clinical judgment or performance.
  10. Academy Providers will be truthful and accurate in all advertising and representations concerning qualifications, experience, competency, and performance of services, including representations related to professional status and/or areas of special competence. An Academy Provider will not make false or deceptive statements concerning his/her: training, experience, or competence; academic training or degrees; certification or credentials; institutional or association affiliations; services, or, fees for services.
  11. Academy Providers will not make explicit or implicit false or misleading statements about, or guarantees concerning, any treatment or service, orally or in writing.
  12. Academy Providers should avoid treating themselves or members of their own families if possible. Practitioners should also be very cautious about assuming the care of closely associated employees or those they supervise.
Section C: Requirements Related to Research and Professional Activities
  1. Academy Providers will be accurate and truthful, and otherwise act in an appropriate manner, with regard to research findings and related professional activities, and will make reasonable and diligent efforts to avoid any material misrepresentations.
  2. Academy Providers will maintain appropriate, accurate, and complete records with respect to research findings and related professional activities.
  3. When preparing, developing, or presenting research information and materials, Academy Providers will not copy or use, in substantially similar form, materials prepared by others without acknowledging the correct source and identifying the name of the author or publisher of such material.
  4. Academy Providers will respect and protect the intellectual property rights of others, and will otherwise recognize the professional contributions of others.
Section D: Conflict of Interest and Appearance of Impropriety Requirements
  1. Academy Providers will not engage in conduct which may cause a conflict between their own interests and the interests of their patient.
  2. Academy Providers will act to protect the interests and welfare of the patient before their own interests, unless such action is in conflict with any legal, ethical, or professional obligation. Academy Providers will not exploit professional relationships for personal gain.
  3. Academy Providers will disclose to patients and avoid any circumstances that constitute a conflict of interest, or that could otherwise influence or interfere with the exercise of professional judgment.
  4. Academy Providers will refrain from offering or accepting inappropriate payments, gifts, or other forms of compensation for personal gain, unless in conformity with applicable laws, regulations, and Academy rules and policies.
  5. Academy Providers will avoid conduct involving inappropriate, unlawful, or otherwise unethical monetary gain.
Section E: Compensation and Referral Disclosure Requirements
  1. Academy Providers will charge fair, reasonable, and appropriate fees for all professional services.
  2. Academy Providers will charge fees that accurately reflect the services and treatment provided to the patient. When setting fees, an Academy Provider will consider: the length of time he/she has been practicing in this particular field; the amount of time necessary to perform the service; the nature of the patient’s condition; his/her professional qualifications and experience; and, other relevant factors.
  3. Academy Providers will make all appropriate disclosures to patients and prospective patients regarding any benefit paid to others for recommending or referring his/her services.
  4. Academy Providers will make all appropriate disclosures to patients and prospective patients regarding any benefit received for recommending or referring the services of another individual.
Section F: Confidentiality Requirements
  1. Academy Providers will maintain and respect the confidentiality of all patient information obtained in the course of a professional relationship, except where: The release of specific information is expressly required and directed by law, a court, or government agency; or the patient expressly directs the release of specific information.
  2. Academy Providers will respect and maintain the privacy of their patients.
Section G: Misconduct Prohibitions
  1. Academy Providers will not engage in any criminal misconduct.
  2. Academy Providers will not engage in any sexual, physical, romantic, or otherwise intimate conduct with a current patient. Any professional relationship must be terminated before engaging in any sexual, physical, or romantic behavior.
  3. Academy Providers will not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in professional activities.
  4. Academy Providers will not engage in discrimination in professional activities based on age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender orientation, religion, national origin, HIV status or disability. These professional activities include relationships with patients, staff, colleagues, trainees and vendors.
  5. Academy Providers will avoid any behavior clearly in violation of accepted moral, ethical, or legal standards that may compromise the integrity of, or reflect negatively on, the profession.
Section H: Violations, Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures
1. Power to Investigate
The Academy’s Credentialing Committee has the power to investigate all complaints that may be harmful to colleagues or to the public, or that may be otherwise contrary to the objectives of the Code of Ethics or the Academy’s credentialing programs. The Committee’s powers do not extend to addressing economic issues as they relate to legitimate marketplace competition: or consumer dissatisfaction oriented complaints that may be resolved through judicial, quasi-judicial or other means.
The Committee has the sole authority to decide whether to act on a complaint and to make final determinations regarding each complaint, subject to the Academy Board of Director’s authority to conduct an appeal as set forth in these Rules.
2. Confidentiality
All information disclosed to the Committee or the Board shall be maintained on a confidential basis, except that the Committee or the Board shall be permitted to disclose such information when compelled to by law or to parties essential to the review and investigation of the alleged unethical or unprofessional conduct. Public information shall not be considered confidential information for purposes of this Rule.
3. Complaints
3.1 Complaint Content
A Complaint against any Academy credentialee must be submitted in writing and should contain:
  • The name and contact information of the credentialee
  • The name and contact information of the complainant
  • A detailed description of the complaint
  • Supporting documentation, if applicable, not to exceed 25 pages without prior approval of the Academy
  • Information concerning previous actions that have been taken with respect to the alleged unethical or unprofessional conduct, if any
3.2 Complaint Submission
Complaints may be submitted via e-mail to credentialing@aahivm.org or via postal mail to the Academy Headquarters.
4. Investigation
4.1 Initial Action
Within 30 days of receipt, the Credentialing Committee will determine if there is sufficient information to warrant a formal investigation. If the Committee determines the information is insufficient, notification will be provided to the Complainant in writing within 30 days of the decision.
4.2 Investigation
If the Committee determines that a formal investigation is to be conducted, the Complainant and the Credentialee will be notified in writing within 30 days. The notification to the Credentialee will include all supplemental information, including the specific tenets of the Code of Ethics that were allegedly violated.
The Credentialee may submit a written response within 15 days of the date the notification was sent. The response should include:
  • A statement that fully responds to all aspects of the complaint
  • Supporting documentation, if applicable, not to exceed 25 pages without prior approval of the Academy
Unwarranted delay, failure to respond, or other lack of cooperation by the Credentialee will not prevent the continuation or conclusion of the proceedings by the Committee as it deems fit in its sole and absolute discretion.
If additional information is required from the Complainant, the Credentialee, or a third party, all parties will be notified of the request. The party will have 15 days from the date of notification to provide the requested information.
4.3 Resolution
Based on the findings of the investigation, the Committee may resolve to take one or more of the following actions:
  • Conclude that no violation has occurred or is likely to be corrected on its own merit and close the case without further action
  • Require that the Credentialee cease and desist the alleged conduct
  • Reprimand the Credentialee if the Committee determines there has been a Code violation but limited harm to another person, the public or the profession has occurred
  • Place the Credentialee on probation and monitor the Credentialee for a specific length of time
  • If appropriate, refer the matter to a state licensing or certifying authority
  • Suspend the Credentialee’s credential
  • Permanently revoke the Credentialee’s credential
  • Bar the Credentialee from obtaining the credential for a fixed length of time
  • Require the Credentialee to take remedial personal rehabilitative or educational actions
  • Take any other action that is warranted under the circumstances
The Committee will not determine or impose monetary awards to any party.
The Complainant and Credentialee will receive a written notification of the resolution and any sanctions in writing within 30 days. If the credential has been suspended or revoked, the Credentialee will not be eligible to renew the credential during the period of suspension or revocation.
5. Appeals
5.1 Appeals Content
The Credentialee may appeal the decision of the Committee to the Board of Directors or their designated sub-committee by submitting a notification in writing within 15 days of the receipt of the resolution.
Appeals will only be considered if based on one or more of the following:
  • The Code was incorrectly applied
  • The findings of facts by the Committee were clearly erroneous
  • It would be unjust or unfair to implement the Committee’s decision
  • The procedures used by the Committee were in serious and substantial violation of the Code and these Rules
  • The disciplinary sanctions determined by the Committee were grossly disproportionate to the facts
An appeal should contain:
  • A detailed description of all reasons and bases of the appeal
  • Supporting documentation, if applicable, not to exceed 25 pages without prior approval of the Academy
5.2 Appeals Submission
Appeals may be submitted via e-mail to credentialing@aahivm.org or postal mail to the Academy Headquarters.
5.3 Appeals Resolution
Within 60 days of receipt of the Appeal Notice, the Board shall notify the Complainant and the Credentialee in writing of its decision which shall be final. The Board’s decision may not be appealed. Once the Board’s decision has been made, it shall notify the Committee, which shall implement the Board’s directives.