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Patient rights, ethics considered

Honolulu—The following are legal and legislative-related resolutions adopted by the 2009 House of Delegates during the ADA annual session in October.

Resolution 6H-2009 resolves that the American Dental Association Dental Patient Rights and Responsibilities Statement be adopted as policy of the Association, and also resolves that item 7 of the patients' rights be amended to read: "You have the right to be informed of continuing health care needs." This resolution also encourages constituent and component societies to use the statement as a guide in developing, or revising an existing, patient rights and responsibilities statement and urges them to encourage their members to make the statement available to each patient and to post it conspicuously in their offices and clinics.

Res. 7H-2009 resolves to editorially amend the ADA Bylaws to improve consistency, clarity and style.

Res. 9H-2009 amends the Bylaws duties of the Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs to allow it to make recommended revisions to the ADA Constitution to improve its consistency, clarity and style.

Res. 10H-2009 resolves that Part IV of the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct be amended to state that anyone who believes that a member dentist has acted unethically should bring the matter to the attention of the appropriate constituent or component dental society.

Res. 65H-2009 states that the appropriate agency or agencies of the Association prepare a Dentists' Rights and Responsibilities document from the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct and policy manuals and report its recommendation to the 2010 House of Delegates.

Several resolutions were referred to the appropriate agencies for report to and possible action by the 2010 House of Delegates in Orlando. They are summarized here.

Res. 8 asks that the Article III, Sections 50, 60 and 70; Article IV, Sections 10 and 20; and Article V, Sections 10 and 20 of the ADA Constitution be editorially amended.

Res. 15-16-17 were referred to the Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs for study and report to the 2010 House of Delegates. Res. 15 requests that the ADA Bylaws Chapter V, Section 100 be amended by substituting "one-half" for "one-fourth" where it appears to raise the number of members required to constitute a quorum. In Res. 16, an amendment of the Bylaws regarding Special Sessions of the House is proposed to require that the executive director send every officially certified delegate and alternate delegate of the last House official notice of the time and place of each special session no less than 30 days rather than 15 days before the opening of such session. Res. 17 proposes to amend Chapter V, Section 60 of the Bylaws to allow the last House of Delegates to determine by mail or electronic vote the existence of a time of extraordinary emergency under which certain of the powers and duties of the House of Delegates would be transferred to the Board of Trustees. The resolution requires that such a vote shall consist of received ballots from half the members of the last House of Delegates on recommendation of at least four of the elected officers of the Association.

Res. 82 asks that the following principles be considered for an ADA member Code of Conduct:

  1. Members will maintain high standards of integrity and conduct their dealings as members of the Association in a professional manner.
  2. Members will treat other members and Association officers, trustees and staff with courtesy and respect, and shall refrain from conduct that is unreasonably disruptive or is harassing.
  3. Members will respect the decisions and polices of the Association and will not engage in conduct that is disruptive to Association staff or causes the Association to expend an unreasonable amount of time or effort to address.
  4. Members are encouraged to use proper Association channels of communication to address differences.
  5. Members will comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including but not limited to antitrust laws and regulations.
  6. Members will respect and protect the intellectual property rights of the Association, including any trademarks, logos and copyrights.
  7. Members will not use Association membership lists for personal solicitation purposes.
  8. Members will not use all or part of Association lists, including membership directory, online member listings, conference attendees and education course participants for selling, prospecting or creating a directory or database.
  9. Members will treat all information furnished by the Association as confidential and will not reproduce materials without the Association's written approval.
  10. Members will avoid conflicts of interest.

The resolution also states that a proposed member code of conduct, together with proposed sanction and enforcement procedures, be presented for consideration by the 2010 House of Delegates.