Ethics Resource Center

About the AAO-HNS/F Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee is a standing committee of both the Academy and the Foundation. The Ethics Committee charge is upholding the procedural guidelines for all AAO-HNS/F disciplinary proceedings and reviewing all Academy and Foundation activities from an ethical perspective, raising the sensitivity of Academy members to ethical issues, developing a mechanism to assess possible breaches of our Code of Ethics (including all its appendices), and making policy recommendations regarding ethical issues to the AAO-HNS/F Boards of Directors for its action. The Ethics Committee under the direction of the AAO-HNS/F Boards of Directors is also responsible for assisting in guiding the Academy’s interactions with Companies and aid in the management of conflict of interests.

Ethics Resources

The Ethics Resource Center provides otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons with the essential tools and skills to address ethical challenges in a changing health care environment.

Antitrust Compliance
AAO-HNS/F has a strict policy of compliance with federal and state antitrust laws. The antitrust laws prohibit agreements among competitors that restrain trade and AAO-HNS members may be considered to be competitors for purposes of antitrust challenges even if their practices are not in the same geographic areas. The penalties for violations of the antitrust laws are severe for medical societies and their members.

In all AAO-HNS/F activities, each member, as well as AAO-HNS staff, shall be responsible for following the AAO-HNS/F‘s policy of strict compliance with the antitrust laws. AAO-HNS/F officers, directors, committee chairs, and executive staff shall ensure that this policy is known and adhered to in the course of activities pursued under their leadership. Antitrust compliance is the responsibility of every AAO-HNS member and AAO-HNS/F staff.

Membership Oath
The membership oath is a pledge taken by all new member and reaffirmed when dues are renewed.

Code of Ethics
The comprehensive Code of Ethics contains statements of Principles and articulates principles of conduct that are deemed appropriate and acceptable by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Inc. The statements and principles contained herein are not laws, but rather guidelines for honorable behavior. We believe that these ethical principles should be honored by all Fellows and Members intent on maintaining good standing in the Academy. The ethical principles should serve to bring clarity and definition to areas where confusion might occur in the course of contemporary Otolaryngology practice. The Code of Ethics addresses the physician-patient relationship, colleague interactions, commercial interests, referral practices, prescribing practices, patents, advertising, research, character, impairment, illegal activity, fees, community relations, disciplinary actions and expert witness qualifications and testimony.

Expert Witness Qualifications and Testimony Policy
This is an extension of the Code of Ethics. It provides additional clarity on the Qualifications and Guidelines for the physician expert witness.

Anti-Discrimination Policy
The AAO-HNS/F is opposed to discrimination against people on the basis of, but not limited to, race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, disability, veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by federal, state, or local law.

Itinerant Surgery Policy
The Itinerant Surgery Policy is an extension of the Code of Ethics. It provides additional clarity on our itinerant surgery.

Code for Interactions with Companies
AAO-HNS/F adheres to a Code for Interactions with Companies to reinforce the core principles that help maintain actual and perceived independence from commercial bias. This code is based on the Council for Medical Specialty Societies’ (CMSS) Code for Interactions with Companies and its Annotations, which AAO-HNS/F signed onto showing support of the intentions of the code. The AAO-HNS/F Code for Interactions with Companies is also divided into Principles and Annotations. The adoption of this Code helps to ensure that AAO-HNS/F’s interactions with Companies will be for the benefit of patients and members and for the improvement of care in the field of otolaryngology.

Financial and Intellectual Relationship Disclosure Policy and Online Form
The AAO-HNS/F supports fair and unbiased participation of our volunteers in AAO-HNS/F activities. Any real or potential conflicts of interest must be identified and managed. All relevant financial relationships with commercial interests that directly impact and/or might conflict with AAO-HNS/F activities must be disclosed. Other relationships that could cause private interests to conflict with professional interests must also be disclosed. The AAO-HNS/F is also committed to the unbiased noncommercial advancement of knowledge and science and to a free exchange of medical education.

The online disclosure form can be accessed here.

Additionally the AAO-HNS/F maintains a Financial and Intellectual Relationship Conflict of Interest Resolution Policy to guide the review of disclosures that might be a potential conflict.

Procedural Guidelines for AAO-HNS Disciplinary Proceedings
Only Fellows or Active Members of the Academy may file a complaint charging another member with failing to maintain good professional standing. Failure to maintain good professional standing may be evidenced by, but not limited to, a violation of the Academy’s Bylaws, Code of Ethics, or Code for Interactions with Companies, AAO-HNS has established procedural guidelines for AAO-HNS disciplinary proceedings that outline the process for such complaints.

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