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New Naturopathic Code of Ethics

The old code was a restatement of the naturopathic treatment principles. The new code more explicitly addresses the issues which could affect our licensing. I like it that the new code specifies that we shall not give remedies without explaining what's in them. If only conventional physicians would do the same.


To provide protection to the general public, a naturopathic physician shall abide by the following code of ethics:

1. Honesty: A naturopathic physician shall conduct himself or herself in an honest manner; shall not represent him or herself to patients or the public in an untruthful, misleading, or deceptive manner; and shall not engage in advertising that is false or deceptive.

2. Improper relationship: A naturopathic physician shall not engage in sexual relations with a patient unless that patient has been released from the naturopathic physician’s care for at least one year. The termination of the physician-patient relationship shall be in writing, and the patient shall understand that the physician-patient relationship has ended.

3. Privacy: A naturopathic physician shall maintain patient privacy and confidentiality; provided that if the naturopathic physician becomes aware that a patient is a danger to the public or to her or himself, the naturopathic physician shall take reasonable steps to advise appropriate public officials or agencies of the potential danger, within the guidelines of applicable laws.

4. Performance: A naturopathic physician shall perform professional tasks and responsibilities to the best of the naturopathic physician's ability, and standards of care and refrain from engaging in any behavior that will detract from his or her ability to engage in the competent practice of naturopathic medicine.

5. Obligation: The fundamental and primary obligation of a naturopathic physician is to the patient, and the maintenance and improvement of the patient’s health and well-being.

a. A naturopathic physician shall at all times seek to employ methods of diagnosis and therapy that are consistent with naturopathic medical philosophy and principles of practice, scientific principles and evidence, and the naturopathic physician’s training and experience, and shall provide patients with information about these diagnostic approaches, therapies and potential alternative diagnostic approaches and therapies so that the patient may give fully informed consent to the recommended diagnostic approaches or treatments.

b. As part of the obligation to provide care, a naturopathic physician shall use his or her best efforts to facilitate a patient's access to high quality, safe and reliable medicines, medical devices, diagnostic tests and supplements.

c. A naturopathic physician shall offer alternative sources for obtaining the items in subparagraph (5b) as long as those alternative sources do not compromise safety or clinical effectiveness.

d. The naturopathic physician shall refrain from recommending medicines or treatments of a secret nature, and shall adequately disclose the contents of medicines or the nature and description of treatments recommended to a patient.

Scheduled for review August 2015.
Approved as full Code of Ethics August 2012.
Approved as provisional Code of Ethics August 2011.

SOURCE
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians:
http://aanp.membershipsoftware.org/files/For_Members/Position_Papers/AANP%20Code%20of%20Ethics%20Updated%202012.pdf

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