ACA Code of Ethics
The American Chiropractic Association’s mission is to inspire and empower its members to elevate the health and wellness of their communities. To this end, ACA has established the Code of Ethics as a standard of conduct for doctors of chiropractic. The following principles, adopted by the American Chiropractic Association, are based upon acknowledging the profession’s responsibilities to the patient and to society. As a member, a fundamental principle of this profession is that a doctor of chiropractic’s primary responsibility, first and foremost, is for the benefit of the patient.
I. Doctors of chiropractic should commit to the highest standards of excellence and should attend to their patients in accordance with established best practices.
II. Doctors of chiropractic should maintain the highest standards of professional and personal conduct and should comply with all governmental jurisdictional rules and regulations.
III. Doctor-patient relationships should be built on the principles of mutual respect, trust, and cooperation. The doctor-patient relationship requires the doctor of chiropractic to exercise utmost care to do nothing to exploit the trust and dependency of the patient. Doctors of chiropractic should utilize clear and understandable language regarding the patient’s condition when communicating with the patient and/or representatives of the patient. Doctors of chiropractic should not mislead patients into false or unjustified expectations of the results of treatment. Doctors of chiropractic should never misrepresent their education, credentials, professional qualification, or scope of clinical ability.
IV. Doctors of chiropractic should preserve and protect the patient’s confidential information, except as the patient directs or consents, or the law requires otherwise.
V. Doctors of chiropractic should employ the principles of shared decision-making and their best good faith efforts to provide accurate information and facilitate understanding to enable the patient to make an informed choice regarding proposed treatment options, including but not limited to services delivered by doctors of chiropractic.
VI. Sexual misconduct is a form of behavior that adversely affects the public welfare and harms patients individually and collectively. Sexual misconduct exploits the doctor-patient relationship and is a violation of the public trust.
VII. Doctors of chiropractic should, when available, willingly consult with and/or recommend other health care professionals when this would benefit their patients or when their patients express a desire for such consultation or recommendation.
VIII. Doctors of chiropractic should never neglect nor abandon a patient. Due notice should be afforded to the patient and/or representatives of the patient when care will be withdrawn so that appropriate alternatives for continuity of care may be arranged. If it becomes necessary to cease care of a patient, due notice should be afforded to the patient and/or their representatives and appropriate alternatives for continuity of care should be arranged.
IX. Doctors of chiropractic should recognize the value of culturally competent care and, where appropriate, adjust their treatment and procedures to enhance the inclusion of diverse patient populations in accordance with ACA‘s published Diversity Statement. Doctors of chiropractic should recognize the personal, religious, and societal factors that may influence a patient’s health care decisions and should not create barriers or discriminate against patients regarding these decisions.
X. Doctors of chiropractic should conduct themselves as members of a learned profession and as members of the greater healthcare community dedicated to the promotion of public health, the prevention of illness and the alleviation of suffering. As such, doctors of chiropractic should collaborate and cooperate with other healthcare professionals to protect and enhance public health with the goals of reducing morbidity, increasing functional capacity, increasing the longevity of the U.S. population, and reducing healthcare costs.
XI. Doctors of chiropractic should adhere to ACA’s published Advisory Guidance on Advertising and exercise utmost discretion that advertising is truthful and accurate in representing the doctor’s professional qualifications and degree of competence. Advertising, including participation with social media, should not exploit the vulnerability of patients, should not be misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent and should conform to all governmental jurisdictional rules and regulations in connection with professional advertising.
XII. Doctors of chiropractic should report incidents of unprofessional, illegal, incompetent, and unethical acts to appropriate authorities and organizations to protect the patients, the public and the profession.
XIII. Doctors of chiropractic have an obligation to the profession to endeavor to assure that their behavior does not give the appearance of professional impropriety.
XIV. Doctors of chiropractic should utilize established best practices, current guidelines and standards of care when making clinical decisions regarding treatment, laboratory testing, X-ray procedures, and/or nutritional products to assure that that they are in the best interest of the patient and not in conflict with state statute or administrative rulings.
XV. Doctors of chiropractic should recognize their obligation to help others acquire knowledge and skill in the practice of the profession. They should maintain the highest standards of scholarship, education, and training in the accurate and full dissemination of information and ideas.
Ratified by the ACA House of Delegates in 2023.