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NAATP will more closely monitor ethical conduct within its ranks

December 31, 2015
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) continues to shine a light on ethical shortcomings in the treatment industry, and policies that it expects to finalize in 2016 will turn up the heat on its own members' practices.

NAATP's year-end letter to members and colleagues states that by the time it holds its annual conference in May, it will have published an ethics complaint policy and procedure guide to accompany the association's ethics code. The Dec. 30 letter states, “All NAATP members must now adopt the ethics code and may be dropped from membership for violating the code.”

Contacted this week by Addiction Professional, NAATP executive director Marvin Ventrell said the decision to institute a formal ethics complaint procedure within the membership organization was a recent one. While he says he cannot elaborate on the details of how the procedure will work until the NAATP board of directors considers final approval in February, he adds, “But we have reached a consensus that NAATP members must be held to a high ethical standard and may be terminated as members if they do not adhere to that, after a fair process.”

At the most recent NAATP annual conference last May, organization leaders expressed that the association's best defense against ethical misdeeds involved highlighting the ethics standards that a growing number of member centers are adopting. Yet the decision to launch a complaint procedure and to subject members to the potential for removal from the organization indicates that NAATP has decided to take a more aggressive position when issues such as patient brokering or deceptive advertising practices surface.

NAATP stated in the year-end letter, “While the existence of unethical practice by some of our colleagues is not news to you, it is important that you know where NAATP stands. We stand with the true, values-based service providers, and we are dedicated to promoting best practices within a collegial, professional, and ethical community. Ultimately it is values that separate us and join us together, while profit motive alone is not a NAATP value.”

Other highlights

Here are some of the other initiatives that NAATP cited in its letter, for what it is forecasting as a busy year on many fronts in the organization:

  • The board of directors is expected at its February meeting to finalize a three-year strategic plan for the association, focusing on member service, policy advocacy and public education components. A new branding and communications strategy will follow at NAATP's May conference, to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 15-17.

  • The association is relaunching a salary survey to document compensation trends in the addiction treatment workforce.

  • NAATP is streamlining its membership structure to reflect the presence of service providers and service supporters, and is working toward giving special recognition to accredited providers.

  • NAATP plans to roll out a more interactive website for association members in mid-2016.