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As a healthcare provider serving patients with muscle and nerve disorders, you face occasional ethical dilemmas. Ethics, the moral principles that guide our behavior, play a key role in decision-making about common neuromuscular issues -- from genetic testing to palliative care, informed consent, and patients refusing treatment. They also provide direction for best approaches to physician-technologist-patient interactions and conflicts of interest.

The AANEM Ethics and Peer Review Committee has formalized ethical standards that neuromuscular and electrodiagnostic physicians should observe in clinical and scientific activities with the publication of the AANEM Guidelines for Ethical Behavior Relating to Clinical Practice Issues in Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine.

Ethical vignettes that highlight common ethical situations confronted by neuromuscular physicians and technologists have also been developed by the committee. These vignettes, which are free to members, offer one AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM . 

Subscribing to certain standards of professional conduct, the AANEM Board of Directors has adopted Disciplinary Policies and Procedures to enable fair, confidential, and impartial review of complaints of professional misconduct concerning AANEM members and, when appropriate, to take disciplinary action against such members.

In the event of professional misconduct by a member of the association, the AANEM shall consider disciplinary action for which similar action has been taken by a state or county Board of Medical Examiners, Board of Professional Medical Responsibility, or like body, or by a federal, state, or local court of competent jurisdiction. Complaints concerning the professional conduct of an AANEM member must be submitted in writing to the association office using the AANEM Grievance Complaint Form.

Complaints generally will not be considered and reviewed unless the complaint has been previously investigated and a formal adverse determination has been made by another professional review body or a court of competent jurisdiction. The AANEM does not review complaints against nonmembers. If you believe your physician has acted in an unethical or unprofessional manner, please contact your state's medical board. A Directory of State Medical Boards is available on the Federation of State Medical Boards website.