Potential Ethical Issues
Adopted: Tue, 2010-04-20 - Modified: Thu, 2014-11-13
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It is the position of the North Carolina Board of Podiatry Examiners that podiatrist advertising or publicity* that is deceptive, false, or misleading is unprofessional conduct. The key issue is whether advertising and publicity, regardless of format or content, are true and not materially misleading.
Information conveyed may include:
- the basis on which fees are determined, including charges for specific services;
- methods of payment;
- any other non-deceptive information.
Advertising and publicity that create unjustified medical expectations, that are accompanied by deceptive claims, or that imply exclusive or unique skills or remedies must be avoided. Similarly, a statement that a podiatrist has cured or successfully treated a large number of patients suffering a particular ailment is deceptive if it implies a certainty of results and/or creates unjustified or misleading expectations. If patient photographs are used, they should be of the podiatrist's own patients and demonstrate realistic outcomes. Likewise, when a change of circumstances renders advertising inaccurate or misleading, the podiatrist is expected to make reasonable efforts to correct the advertising within a reasonable time frame
The advent of the internet and the proliferation of websites purporting to “rate” health care providers mean that podiatrists cannot always control information about themselves in the public domain. However, a podiatrist is expected to exercise reasonable efforts to bring about the correction or elimination of false or misleading information when he or she becomes aware of it.
Consistent with federal regulations that apply to commercial advertising, a podiatrist who is preparing or authorizing an advertisement or publicity item should ensure in advance that the communication is explicitly and implicitly truthful and not misleading. Podiatrists should list their names under a specific specialty in classified telephone directories and other commercial directories only if they are board certified or have successfully completed a training program in that specialty accredited by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgeons/American Board of Podiatric Surgery. (Refer to certification guidelines of the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery or Boards recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association and to the APMA Code of Ethics.)