Required Ethical Reporting in the Professions
ASHA Code of Ethics (2016) (hereinafter, "the Code") provides guidance about mandated ethical reporting across many areas of practice and research. ASHA-certified audiologists and speech-language pathologists; speech, language and hearing scientists who are ASHA members; and other ASHA members who are not certified, must proactively and accurately report the following information:
- Credentials, education, training, experience, and scholarly contributions
- Purpose of services, products, and research
- Prognosis for services
- Services provided, products dispensed, and scholarly activities conducted
- Payments and reimbursements
- Advertisements, announcements, promotion of professional services, and research results
- Members of other professions who have knowingly violated standards of care
- Relevant and factual statements (if the reporting individual is or has been involved in an ethical complaint)
What Is Reporting and Why Is It Required?
Reporting is the personal and professional obligation to disclose key information in a timely manner in order to remain ethically compliant with the Code. This obligation encompasses an individual knowing what and how much information to include in a "report" for it to be complete—that is, not omitting essential facts.
The importance of reporting is found throughout the Code's four Principles of Ethics that describe the fundamentals of ethical practice for the professions. These Principles state that we must demonstrate responsibility to persons served professionally and to research participants, responsibility for one's professional competence, responsibility to the public, and responsibility for professional relationships. Accurate reporting of credentials, services, prognosis, payments, advertisements, financial and non-financial disclosures, and timely self-reporting of misdemeanors and felonies are examples of responsible behaviors that exemplify ethical practice.
Revisions to the Code regarding reporting have been made in response to the broadened required reporting (a) across the professions, at both state licensing and national certification levels; (b) at agencies and associations now requiring more specific disclosures and self-reporting, and (c) new ASHA certification self-reporting requirements for "not current" members and/or certificate holders. The ASHA Board of Ethics (hereinafter, "the Board") has seen an increase in ethical violations related to inaccurate reporting.
Where Is Reporting Addressed Within the Code?
The need for, and importance of, ethical reporting is addressed throughout the Code within numerous Rules of Ethics:
- Report credentials appropriately. (Principle I, Rule D; Principle III, Rule A)
- Accurately report the intended purpose of services, products or research endeavors. (Principle I, Rule J)
- Report reasonable statements of prognosis when providing services. (Principle I, Rule L)
- Accurately report services provided, products dispensed, or research/scholarly activities conducted. (Principle I, Rule Q)
- Appropriately report education, training, experience, and scholarly contributions. (Principle III, Rule A)
- Accurately report research and scholarly activities, diagnostic information, services provided, results of services provided, products dispensed, or the effects of products dispensed. (Principle III, Rule C; Principle IV, Rule C)
- Accurately report payment, reimbursement, grants and contracts for services provided, research conducted, or products dispensed. (Principle III, Rule D)
- Report accurate and complete information about the nature and management of communication disorders, the professions, professional services, products for sale, and research/scholarly activities. (Principle III, Rule E)
- Accurately report the source when using other persons’ ideas, research, presentations, results, or products in written, oral, or any other media presentation or summary. (Principle IV, Rule K)
- Report credit only to those who have contributed to publications, presentations, processes or products in proportion to the contributions and only with the contributor's consent. (Principle IV, Rule J)
- Report members of other professions who are known to have violated standards of care to the appropriate professional licensing authority or board, other professional regulatory body, or professional association when such violation compromises the welfare of persons served and/or research participants. (Principle IV, Rule N)
- When involved in an ethics complaint, do not knowingly report false statements of facts or withhold relevant facts necessary to fairly adjudicate the complaint. (Principle IV, Rule Q)
- Self-report misdemeanors and felonies—in writing—to ASHA within 30 days of the conviction, plea, or finding of guilt. (Principle IV, Rule S)
- Self-report public professional sanctioning or denial of a license or credential—in writing—to ASHA within 30 days of the final action or disposition. (Principle IV, Rule T)
Could This Be a Violation?
If you are concerned that either you or a colleague has not accurately reported professional and/or research information, and may have violated the Code, you have several options.
Regarding a colleague/other practitioner/ASHA member/applicant:
- Discuss your observations with the colleague, and encourage them to self-report.
- Report the colleague to the appropriate professional association or agency.
- Consider whether to
file a complaint with the Board and/or
state licensure board.