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Ethics Code 2.5 Release: Prohibiting Provider Operated Directories

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NAATP Releases Ethics Code 2.5 Prohibiting Provider Operated Directories
Directors Desk: 03.04.19

I am pleased to announce the adoption of an amended version of the NAATP Code of Ethics. Ethics Code 2.5 was recently adopted by the National Association to address certain treatment provider practices that were either not expressly addressed in Ethics Code 2.0 or that required clarification. As you know, all NAATP members, as a condition of their NAATP membership, must act in compliance with the NAATP Code of Ethics. Noncompliance can result in removal from membership. Our goal with the new Ethics Code, as with previous versions, is not to exclude providers but rather to create a professional membership environment in which all providers agree to common, values-based, professional, and ethical conduct. By doing so, we demonstrate to the public, payers, and policymakers that NAATP is committed to helping families find reliable, responsible, and fully transparent care. We also demonstrate that membership in NAATP means something very significant.

Foremost among the changes to the Ethics Code is provision IV, B, 6, which provides as follows: “NAATP Members may not own, operate, or otherwise control directory type websites.” NAATP believes that it is a fundamental conflict of interest for a treatment provider to operate a directory purporting to unbiasedly direct consumers to care providers. Unlike a Yellow Pages or Yelp-type service, which is truly independent from the providers to which consumers are directed, a provider-operated directory is indisputably and integrally connected to the provider itself.

Additional changes to the code include:

  • Clarifying the branding requirements for advertising, including television ads that do not identify the specific provider that is paying for or promoting the ad.
  • Prohibiting advertising that refers to a competitor name while promoting one’s own program.
  • Prohibiting the display of services that are not actually offered by the provider.

We do not anticipate that these changes will adversely affect many current NAATP members or new applicants. We know that the vast majority of treatment providers do not engage in these business practices and we will continue to promote and publicly celebrate the work of those whose practices comply with the Ethics Code. Nonetheless, we believe it is important to clarify our position on these Code provisions, and to further demonstrate our Association’s and members’ commitment to the highest values, consumer transparency, and quality care.

To read Ethics Code 2.5 or for more information on the NAATP Ethics Program, please visit the NAATP website at: NAATP Ethics Program.

These ethics topics will be covered as part of the release of the NAATP Quality Assurance Core Competencies program at NAATP National 2019 in Washington, DC, May 5th through 8th.

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