Ethical Code of Conduct

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Ethical Code of Conduct for South Texas Health System

Introduction

Every acute care facility faces ethical dilemmas that staff members have to deal with on a day to day basis. This paper focuses on establishing an ethical code of conduct for an acute care facility and the case study which has been selected is the South Texas Health facility. This facility consists of a network of six acute hospitals including Edinburg Regional Hospital, Edinburg Children’s Hospital, Edinburg Rehab Hospital, Cornerstone Regional Center, McAllen Medical Center, and McAllen Heart Hospital. In addition, South Texas Health facility also holds one behavioral health facility and the entire network of health care facilities offers intensive care to their patients from all over the South Texas region. Moreover, all the acute hospital facilities that are associated with the South Texas Facility have been accredited by the Joint Commission. These hospitals provide exclusive and wide ranges of health services including cardiovascular care, chest pain, neuroscience, surgical care, maternity and women’s care, stroke,  diabetes, asthma, and rehabilitation and wound care. In addition, this paper, will further evaluate the ethical code of behavior for the South Texas facility in detail.

Thesis Statement

The focus of this paper is to identify the ethical code of conduct in the acute care facilities in South Texas. The problem statement of thisassignment centers on the acute care facility ethical code of behavior, especially considering the fact that in some instances patients are allowed to make the final decision, regardless of the consequences.

Brief Background of the Facility

An acute care facility is a healthcare hospital, which provides acute care services to patients or clients for a limited period within which they offer diagnosis and treat short-term diseases or injuries. Both medical and surgical inpatient services can be offered by an acute care facility. The facility also offers outpatient diagnostic health services and can also provide pediatric as well as obstetric services, which may also involve both ambulatory and emergency operations. Some of the acute facilities are treated as specialty facilities because they offer special and critical services such as cardiac care and children care on a limited diagnosis basis (South Texas Hospital & Texas, 2013).

Responsibilities of Management as Well as Professional Staff

Considering the ethical code of behavior in the acute facility setting, there are many duties responsibilities expected of the management as well as professional staff working at the healthcare facility. The first is the commitment of all the employees working at the South Texas network of hospitals (Darr, Longest& Rakich, 2006). All the actions as well as the decisions must be in line with the set principles and values that have been broken down according to the different levels of management in the hospital. In regard to the mission of the network of hospitals and with the understanding of all the healthcare services provided by this system of facilities, a heritage belonging to all the American society prevails within the healthcare facility. There are also endeavors to meet the welfare and expectations of all the patients and their families in a warm and secure environment (South Texas Hospital & Texas, 2013).

A healthcare provider in an acute facility must at all times be ready to attend to the patients with competent and efficient care regardless of their gender, age, race, religion, nature of illness, social or financial position, and political opinions. In exercising care, all the hospital staff are expected to respect the rights of the patients and involve them in the planning as well as implementation of treatment. In many of the acute care facilities, the decisions of the patients concerning the strategy of the facility must be prioritized, even in circumstances where such decisions might be contrary to the operations of the hospital.

South Texas network of hospitals are dedicated to deliver and also discover the best and most efficient patient care, research and education with the heart and principles that are true to its heritage. Each staff member in South Texas network of hospitals plays an integral role in helping the network of hospital facilities to achieve its vision, and as such everyone is required to work as a team so as to create a conducive work environment, that is founded upon the values and principles of ethics, integrity, respect, and professionalism.

In the spirit of supporting and maintaining this culture of integrity within the facilities, South Texas network of hospitals has created a strong code of ethical conduct. This code of conduct combines the various policies of different health facilities which are associated with behavior into one overarching reference document. The code of conduct applies to every member of staff, and is intended to outline the standards of conduct and working relationships that all the staff members are expected to uphold on a daily basis. The code of ethical behavior at South Texas network of hospitals is a living document, and as such, may also evolve with time.

Moreover, South Texas network of hospitals has a well-established code of conduct that assists in  creating and maintaining a culture of integrity and clearly outline the kinds of behavior expected in the workplace. It is therefore, the onus and responsibility of all the board members, executives, as well as employees of South Texas network of hospitals, including the management and the professional staff to act and conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the code, and to maintain high levels of accountability with respect to honoring the facilities' terms and related policies.

Each individual who is subject to the ethical policies and codes are obliged to, and expected to report any violation of the code of ethical conduct. The South Texas network of hospitals has established a procedure through which all the persons bound to the code of ethical conduct can safely report illegal as well as unethical actions, without any fear of reprisal or victimization. No acts of retaliation and consequence targeted against any member of the hospital who reports code violations are tolerated, and such acts may result into a disciplinary action. Moreover, South Texas network of hospitals has also developed standards that help to foster a positive environment for both the management team and professional staff, in a culture that prioritizes patient care, safety, and quality. These standards of conduct of South Texas network of hospitals include:

Two Possible Ethical Dilemmas that may be Encountered

According to Beswetherick (2011), the cornerstones of any ethical practice lie in offering good as well as excellent patient care and avoiding harming others groups such as patients and staff. Often, health professionals may want to do work using their own techniques and methods, yet it is not always clear on how they should proceed. Each situation therefore becomes somewhat different, and ethical dilemmas arise even in circumstance where the hospital has well established and clear policies and principles. Health professionals, therefore, are bound to face complex ethical dilemmas in their workplace, with some professionals handling such ethical dilemmas directly while others turn away.

Within the acute healthcare, there are ethical issues that have to be handled on a daily basis. These ethical dilemmas that can be encountered in an acute healthcare hospital include the need to prioritize activities in an order of importance, and this may necessitate giving preference to one patient over the other. Another ethical dilemma that might arise on a daily basis is supporting the choices and decisions made by patients even when these are not in the best interest of the patients. Moreover, maintaining a clear distinction between what is right and what is wrong may pose another serious dilemma for many professionals working in the acute healthcare.

Ethical Standards for Those in Governance, Management and Professional Staff

Ethical standards can be understood as the tools designed with the aim of developing and establishing a culture of integrity and respect within an acute healthcare facility. It is also defined as a set of rules or codes that clearly and succinctly outline every type of actions and behaviors that are expected at the workplace. The ethical standards within an acute healthcare facility are important because they help to unite all the hospital management, governance, and professional staff by offering a set of expectations, from which everyone is supposed to adhere to inusing the same behavioral standards. Furthermore, a set of ethical standards in an acute healthcare facility such as South Texas network of hospitals can help to create a secure, safe, and healthy work atmosphere in which the management, governance team, and professional staff members are respected and valued in equal measure as members that provide health care services (Israel & Hay, 2006).

The management and governance teams of South Texas network of hospitals comprises the senior management, directors, program and departmental heads, who are required to observe and undertake the responsibilities below:

On the other hand, the professional staff members of South Texas network of hospitals, they are all required to uphold the set principles of code of conduct which include the following:

Ways to Implement the Ethical Code of Conduct and Ensure Compliance

            The senior management team of South Texas network of hospitals has the overall responsibility to make sure that the ethical standards of the hospitals are fully implemented. The Human Resources Departments are the executive custodians of the codes of conduct but these codes of conduct should also be overseen by the Code of Ethical Conduct Advisory Committee, which must have representatives from the Human Resources, Medical Affairs, and Legal Affairs as well as the senior management. The committee is supposed to review the code of conduct every year, in a meeting that should be convened by the Chair and other officials of the hospital (Israel & Hay, 2006). In addition, all the individuals that are subject to the set code of conduct are required to acknowledge their comprehension of the codes of conduct and their abidance by the set standards as well as state that they are not in any breach of the principles and terms of the code of conduct (Huber, 2006).

Consequences of Violating the Code of Ethics

Every individual charged with the responsibility of overseeing the code of conduct is required to behave in a way that is consistent with the hospital’s code of ethical conduct, understanding, in addition to applying all the principles and terms of the codes of ethics in their workplace, as well as reporting any inappropriate actions as indicated within the hospital’s conduct and behavior policy. Failure to comply with the codes of conduct and reporting violations may attract severe and dire penalties (Kaupins & Minch, 2006).

Moreover, every person that is subject to the policies of the codes of conduct is under obligation to andrequired to report violations of any codes of conduct, including all illegal practices and unethical conduct. Violations of any of the provisions of the codes of ethical behavior of the South Texas network of hospitals may attract severe disciplinary action up to as well as including discharge or loss of the privileges as employees of South Texas network of hospital. Violations of the set standards may consequently affect an individual’s performance assessments. South Texas network of hospital will always investigate all the reports on the violations of the set codes of ethics (Colling, York, & Colling, 2010).

South Texas network of hospital has established a procedure and avenues which permit all the individuals bound by the codes of ethics to safely and securely report all forms of violations, both illegal and unethical, without any fear of reprisal or victimization. In addition, any acts of retaliation or consequences targeted on any member of the hospital who reports violations are forbidden and, such actions and behaviors will ultimately result in disciplinary action, which may include discharge from work or loss of privileges at South Texas network of hospitals. The fundamental values of South Texas network of hospitals are always to adequately facilitate the hospitals in order to serve its patients effectively with quality and timely services.

 

References

Beswetherick, J. (2011). Health Care Information Systems and the Risk of Privacy Issues for the Disabled.

Colling, R. L., York, T. W., & Colling, R. L. (2010). Hospital and healthcare security. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Darr, K., Longest, B. B. J., & Rakich, J. S. (2006). The ethical imperative in health services governance and management. Hospital & Health Services Administration, 31, 2.)

Greg, S., & Mark, R. (2009). Assessing the Ethical Knowledge of City Managers. Public Integrity, 12, 1, 9-24.

Huber, D. (2006). Leadership and nursing care management. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.

Israel, M., & Hay, I. (2006). Research ethics for social scientists: Between ethical conduct and regulatory compliance. London: Sage.

Kaupins, G., & Minch, R. (2006). Legal and Ethical Implications of Employee Location Monitoring. International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction, 2, 3, 16-35.

South Texas Hospital., & Texas. (2013). Audit report, South Texas Hospital, Harlingen, Texas. Austin, Tex: State Auditor.