Code of Ethics Preamble
The use of medical equipment has come to occupy an increasingly important role in the practice of medicine. Strong reliance is placed on equipment and the suppliers of equipment to aid in the most effective treatment of patients. The expense of medical equipment and the budgetary constrictions faced by facilities all over the world has led to the development of an increasingly vital secondary trading market in medical equipment of all technical capabilities and applications. The International Association of Medical Equipment Remarketers and Servicers (“IAMERS”) was founded to encourage adherence to highest standards of business and ethics by the firms and individuals which work to fulfill the world-wide demand for used and refurbished medical equipment. We, as Members of the IAMERS, must therefore be zealous in working to establish and maintain high standards for our industry and to help our colleagues develop a sense of common responsibility for its honor and integrity. Membership in the IAMERS connotes a commitment to these rules and principles expressed herein which shall remain paramount to all considerations of profit or gain.
IAMERS CODE OF ETHICS
The articles of the Code of Ethics signify the dedication of the IAMERS members to maintain the highest levels of ethics and responsibility in their relationships with the public, with other members, and clients. While special obligations may be placed on members when acting as an agent of a buyer or seller, all members shall pledge themselves to abide by certain obligations common to both agent and non-agency relationships. Each prospective member of the IAMERS (“Member”) agrees, by the submission of the IAMERS Membership Application, to abide by the rules of discipline and enforcement set forth herein.
To maintain and enforce high standards of ethical, professional practices that make IAMERS membership a recognized mark of experience, integrity, and competence.
To regard as confidential all information concerning the business and affairs of clients.
To conduct ourselves in a manner which brings credit and enhances the reputation of the industry.
To publish our services in a manner which brings credit and enhances the reputation of the industry.
To broaden public understanding and enhance public regard and confidence in the used medical equipment industry, so that end-users will be encouraged to use our services with the same level of confidence as purchases from a line manufacturer itself.
IAMERS members hereby pledge to conduct their business so as to avoid controversies with other members or clients.
- To follow through and complete any agreement made verbally or otherwise to any IAMERS member, prospect, or client
- Conclude the transaction once the member has agreed to either sell, acquire, or lease equipment.
- Honor any offer that has been accepted by a member and or any client as expeditiously as possible after acceptance and always upon the terms of the contract.
- Utilize only one name in any transaction with a prospective client or member. It is considered extremely unethical to negotiate or bid utilizing different or separate business, corporate or company names under one control, without full disclosure. Should it be determined that a current member acted in contravention of the Ethics Code while doing business as a corporation no longer active, it shall be in the discretion of the Ethics Committee whether to consider such actions as the actions of the current member.
- Not to disparage other members by statements, social media or other forms of electronic communication, printed material or innuendo to other members, the general public or clients.
- To respond to any complaint or violation filed with the ethics committee and participate in all processes and procedures of committee with respect to that complaint.
Standards of Practice (re: Article VI)
Article VI (1)
The ethics committee recognizes that sound business practices dictate that all agreements should be made in writing. Further, members should regard all requests from other members to place all offers or agreements in writing as an expression of desire to avoid potential misunderstandings as to the terms and conditions of the offer. Notwithstanding the foregoing, verbal agreements though difficult to enforce, should be honored by all members, and, when sufficient evidence exists to conclude that a verbal agreement has been ignored or otherwise avoided by one member to another, the ethics committee will act to support the notion that our commitments to one another are enforceable obligations in whatever form they take.
Article VI (2)
The IAMERS considers reneging on deals extremely unethical. Unless specific contingencies are noted in your contract, your commitment to another member to purchase, sell, or lease equipment is not contingent on the actions of any other party. That is to say that members are obligated to conclude transactions into which they have entered irrespective of the actions or failures of other customers or members who may have committed to purchase or sell equipment to a member, you are not excused from performance by reason of your ability to sell for more or buy for less from other parties. Notwithstanding the foregoing specific contingencies included in the written contract between members may provide for the failure to conclude a transaction for a variety of reasons. When a member fails to conclude a transaction based upon a contingency in the contract between the parties, then the failure to conclude the transaction based upon that contingency shall not be regarded as a violation of the IAMERS Code of Ethics.
Article VI (3)
IAMERS members shall settle all contracts with members, non-members, and clients as provided therein and with good funds available on the closing date.
When representing a buyer, seller, or another member of the IAMERS, IAMERS members shall fulfill not only the legal requirements imposed by the laws surrounding the agency, but also the spirit of this code.
IAMERS members who are lawfully appointed agents owe their principles the duties of:
An agent must be loyal or faithful to his principle. An agent must not obtain any secret profit or advantage from the relationship. An agent cannot act as an agent for both parties unless both parties know of the dual agency and agree to it.
An agent is under a duty to obey all lawful instructions given to him by the principle.
It is the duty of an agent to act with the care a reasonable man would under the same circumstances and with all the special skills the agent possesses.
An agent must account to his principle for all properties and/or moneys belonging to the principle that comes into the possession of the agent.
It is the duty of an agent to keep the principle informed of all facts pertinent to the agency and to enable the principle to protect his interests.
The purpose of this section is to outline the procedure which shall be utilized to secure conformity and compliance with the IAMERS Code of Ethics contained herein.
Section 1. Definitions
The terms defined in this section when used as capitalized terms in the IAMERS Code of Ethics and enforcement procedures shall have the meanings ascribed to them as outlined in this section.
- CODE: Means the Code of Ethics in the IAMERS
- COMPLAINANT: Means an entity who files a complaint, if more than one entity joins the complaint, then each of such entities.
- COMPLAINT: Means a written document asserting that there has been a violation of the code. Such a document which is in the form required by the ethics committee and is filed in accordance with rules as outlined herein. The term complaint will also include, unless context otherwise dictates, a counter-complaint.
ARTICLE 6: MODIFICATION OF THE CODE OF ETHICS
SECTION 1: The Code of Ethics may be amended from time to time according to the following procedure:
(a) Proposed modifications to the Code of Ethics may be made by any member, or by the Board as a group, and submitted in writing to the Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee shall review all proposed modifications and vote on whether or not to recommend the proposal for acceptance by the Board and the Voting Members.
(b) After reviewing the recommendations of the Ethics Committee, the Board shall vote on the proposal. The Board shall report their recommendation together with the recommendation of the Ethics Committee to the Voting Members and call for a vote. However, if the Ethics Committee and the Board both find the proposed change unacceptable, then the proposal need not be put before the Voting Members.
(c) Any proposal which is supported by either the Board or the Ethics Committee shall be brought to a vote of the Voting Members. Any such proposals shall require a positive vote of at least 51% of the Voting Members and shall require a quorum of Voting members casting a vote by Absentee Ballots and a floor vote during a general meeting of the members as provided in Article 13, Section 5.
- FILE: Means the complaint, the answer and all other writings relating to the complaint or any response thereto.
- ANSWER: Means a written response by the respondent to the complaint, and unless context otherwise dictates, the response of the complaint to the counter-complaint.
- INVESTIGATING MEMBER: Means a member of the ethics committee appointed by the chairman to investigate the file.
- MEMBER: Means an entity which is corporate member of the IAMERS If individual membership in the IAMERS shall be provided, individual members may file complaints only when such complaints are filed by the corporate member.
- NON-MEMBER: Means an entity which is not a member.
- RESPONDENT: Means the entity against Whom a complaint is filed, and, if the complaint is filed by more than one entity, then each of the entities.
- PARTIES: Means the complainant and the respondent and in the singular may refer to either one of them.
- COMMITTEE: Means the ethics committee of the IAMERS
- CHAIRMAN: Means the chairman of the ethics committee unless specifically referenced as otherwise.
Section 2. Purpose of the Complaint Resolution Process
- The purpose of the complaint resolution process is to secure conformity and compliance with the code.
- The committee cannot and does not make any awards of damages or other relief. The committee can and will take the authorized actions as provided herein, against members who have been found in violation of the code.
- The proceedings of the committee are not designed nor intended to be court procedures, or their equivalent. The committee does strive to deal fairly with all parties and to follow reasonable investigative procedures to allow for informed judgment on all complaints which are properly filed. The Ethics Committee reserves the right to abstain from considering a complaint if the Committee considers the Complaint to be largely of a commercial nature.
Section 3. Legal Effect
- Filing a complaint under the procedures contained herein, does not preclude either the complainant or respondent from pursuing any legal remedies either may feel available to them in the courts one to the other.
- Membership in the IAMERS is voluntary and is a privilege extended to entities who have agreed to abide by the code. The IAMERS reserves the right to set down ethical guidelines that at its sole discretion are believed to be in the best interest of the used medical equipment marketplace and the members of the IAMERS Therefore, when termination of membership is recommended by the committee, the IAMERS shall have the right to remove from membership in the IAMERS any member who has been found in violation of the code. Any member who is expelled, shall not participate during the expulsion period in IAMERS programs.
Section 3. Entities Entitled to File a Complaint
- A complaint may be filed against any member, by any member or non-member hospital or group medical practice.
- If a non-member wishes to file a complaint, the non-member must agree to follow the procedures and confidentiality which members must follow in the complaint resolution process, including but not limited to the timely filing of answers and providing the committee with the documentation requested to hear the complaint. In addition, the non-member must agree to respond to complaints subsequently filed against the non-member. If the non-member does not so comply, the complaint will not be considered by the committee, absent any special circumstances with the chairperson may approve.
Section 4. Entities Against Which a Complaint May be Filed
- The IAMERS has jurisdiction only over members. However, if a non-member respondent consents to jurisdiction by agreeing to participate in the complaint resolution process the committee will process the complaint in accordance with procedures.
- Complaints by non-members against non-members will not be processed by the ethics committee, unless the chairperson determines either: That the issue raised is a matter of serious importance to the industry or that there are other circumstances which warrant processing the complaint.
Section 5. The Complaint, The Answer, and Documentation.
- The form which must be used to file a complaint is attached herein and referenced as a complaint form.
- The complaint form must be completed in its entirety including all exhibits.
- All documentation relating to the complaint which the complainant believes to require consideration by the committee must be annexed to the original complaint.
- The original complaint must be sent by certified mail return receipt to the chairperson of the ethics committee. The name and address of which may be obtained from the headquarters of the IAMERS
Section 5.2 The Complaint
- The chairperson must determine that the complaint alleges specific facts which, if found to be true, would constitute a violation of the IAMERS Code of Ethics. If the chairperson is in doubt, he or she may seek a decision of the entire ethics committee on the issue. If the chairperson or the committee determines that no violation is alleged, the complainant will be so advised and no further action will be taken.
- If the complainant properly alleges a violation, a copy of the complaint will be furnished to the respondent.
Section 5.3 The Answer
- The respondent is to furnish an answer within 30 days after receipt of the complaint by the respondent.
- If no answer is received within the period specified, the chairperson may either make a request for an answer or the chairperson may deem the factual violations to have been admitted. If a further request for an answer is made, and the answer is not furnished within the period specified in such further request, the factual allegations will be deemed to have been admitted. Should the chairperson decide to seek a further request for an answer, such a request shall be made in writing and sent to the respondent via certified mail to the address on file with the IAMERS, if a member, or to the address contained on the complaint if a non-member.
- The answer submitted by the respondent must specify a factual basis under which the respondent claims that there is no violation of the Code of Ethics. The answer must contain all documents which the respondent believes to require consideration by the committee, except to the complaint. No specific form is provided for the answer.
- If a response to a counter-complaint is required as provided in Section 5.4, such a response shall be filed within 30 days.
Section 5.4 Pre-Hearing and Furnishing of Documentation
- After the answer is received by the chairperson, and at the discretion of the chairperson, the file may be assigned to a member of the committee for further investigation and/or may be placed directly on the committee’s agenda for hearing. The authority of the investigating member shall be as provided herein.
- The complainant will be given an opportunity to respond, in writing, to the answer. The respondent will not be given an opportunity to respond to the complainant’s response the answer.
- Written materials which are not submitted with any one or more of the complaint or the answer or complainant’s response to the answer, will not be considered by the investigating member or the committee. If a party wishes the investigating member on the committee to consider documents which have not been previously submitted, the party may make said request to the chairperson. Request for such consideration must be made in writing and must contain an explanation as to the reason such documents were not previously submitted and the relevance and importance of such documents. If the chairperson agrees to allow the requested document into the record, said document may then be considered by the investigating member or the committee. In any event, no request regarding documents not previously submitted, will be honored when made less than 60 days prior to the hearing.
- No party may produce or refer to any document at the hearing which has not been previously submitted in accordance with the guidelines contained herein.
- Prior to the hearing, each member of the committee will receive a copy of the file.
Section 5.5 Counter-Complaints
- A respondent may file a counter-complaint either by filing a complaint form and stating that it is a counter-complaint or by including the counter-complaint in the answer. If the counter-complaint is a part of the answer, the answer must state clearly that it is both an answer and a counter-complaint. When the counter-complaint is part of an answer, all information required to file a counter-complaint must be included, although the complaint form itself is not required.
- The complainant is not required to file an answer to a counter-complaint, unless such an answer is specifically required by the chairperson. The complainant may voluntarily file an answer even if not required by the chairperson. The counter-complaint will generally be heard with the complaint, however, the chairperson may at his/her discretion decide to treat the counter-complaint as a new complaint and hear it separately. Treatment of a counter-complaint as a new complaint is likely to occur when the counter-complaint deals with a substantially different and unrelated issue from that raised in the complaint. A counter-complaint which is filed solely to delay a hearing on a complaint may be dismissed upon receipt.
Section 5.6 Multiple Venue Complaints
- If the complainant is filing the complaint both with the IAMERS and any one or more associations of which the complainant may be a member, the complainant must so indicate.
- Complaints that are filed with the IAMERS and other associations will be heard independently, and the decision of any other association is not binding upon the IAMERS However, the committee may give the decision of another association such weight as the committee deems appropriate.
Section 5.7 Time to File Complaint
- Both members and non-members must file a complaint within 3 months of the date of the alleged violation. The chairperson may at his/her discretion and with good reason provide by the potential complaint, extend the period of time in which a complaint may be filed to a total of 6 months from the date of the alleged violation.
- If the violation shall not have been discovered for some period of time, then the potential complaint will automatically be granted an extension of time to file for 3 months after the date the violation was discovered.
Section 6. Authority of an Investigating Member
- A Duly appointed investigating member may recommend that a case not be heard, because in his/her judgment, the hearing will clearly result in a finding of no violation. If such a finding is made by the investigating member and if concurred by the committee chairperson, after such consultation as the chairman deems appropriate, notice shall be given of a finding of no violation.
- The investigating member may review the file and relevant facts with the ethics committee as a whole and without the parties present to obtain the consensus of the committee as to whether or not the file warrants a hearing.
- The complainant and respondent must each furnish to an investigating member such information and documents as the investigating member may request.
- The investigating member may file a report preliminary to the a hearing. The contents of such a report shall be confidential to the members of the ethics committee. Copies of the report will not be published, or furnished to either the complainant or respondent.
- Failure of either party to comply with the investigating member’s request for information and documents may result in the dismissal of the complaint or the finding of a violation.
Section 7. Hearings and Notices of Hearings.
- Both parties will be offered an opportunity to appear in person before the ethics committee. A party may have counsel present, but the attendance of counsel is not required. The failure of either or both parties to appear at a hearing does not preclude the committee from making a decision or finding with respect to the file.
- Both the complainant and the respondent shall be notified by the committee of the date on which the committee intends to hear the complaint at least 45 days before the hearing. Any request for a change of hearing date must be made within 30 days after notice of hearing has been given. The committee acting at the discretion of the chairperson, reserves the right to approve or deny requests for hearing date changes.
- The committee shall hold hearings in conjunction with regularly scheduled IAMERS meetings, but not less than twice a year. Therefore, parties who wish to appear in person must do so during these meetings unless the parties and the Committee agree otherwise. If neither the complainant or respondent can attend at the time scheduled by the ethics committee, and both agree to attend the next available date, the chairperson of the ethics committee shall grant a request for rescheduling. If only one party requests a change of date, the determination of whether or not such request will be granted shall be done at the sole discretion of the chairperson. In the event such is necessary, telephonic hearings will be permitted.
- It is the responsibility of each party to verify the hearing date with the chairperson.
- The committee may, at its sole option, view the failure of a complainant to appear at a hearing, unless such failure is excused by the chairperson, to be a basis for finding no violation of the IAMERS Code of Ethics.
- Each party must advise the chairperson as to the identity of the representatives of each party who will attend the hearing. A failure of a party to respond and identify the representative by the specified date in such a request may, at the discretion of the chairperson, prelude the party from having representation present at the hearing.
Section 8. Finding of Violations and Admissions
- The committee will not find that a violation of the Code of Ethics has occurred without giving the respondent an opportunity to be heard.
- The ethics committee will take action against a respondent when:
- An answer to a complaint is not timely. As provided herein, the committee shall regard the failure to answer a complaint on a timely basis as an admission of the violation by the respondent. That admission will result in a finding of a violation and no hearing on the issue shall be required.
- If the violation is admitted in the answer or to the investigating member, then a finding of violation will be entered and no further hearing on the issue shall be required.
- A finding of violation has been made within the hearing process. If a complaint has been heard and the committee has found a violation of the code, or a finding has been reached by operation of the (B1) or (B2), a settlement made between the parties will not result in a change in the findings of the ethics committee.
- If finding of a violation shall occur through operation of (B1) or (B2), notice of such finding will be given to the parties and the committee shall hear the matter solely on the issue of sanctions. The chairperson shall, at his/her sole option, invite the respondent to attend the sanctions hearing. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the committee reserves the right to impose sanctions immediately upon the finding which occurs through the operation of (Bl) and (B2).
Section 9. Sanctions
If a violation of the IAMERS Code of Ethics is found, the committee shall apply one of more of the following sanctions:
- A finding of violation transmitted in writing solely to the parties and officers of the IAMERS This sanction shall be known as a “private reprimand”.
- A finding of violation with the public notice of censure given at the next meeting of IAMERS members, such notice may also be disseminated to members in a regular publication of the IAMERS, or by letter sent to all IAMERS members, such notice to be limited in content to the announcement of a finding and the nature of the violation of the code. This sanction shall be known as “Public Censure”.
- A recommendation by the ethics committee to the board of directors of the IAMERS that the board of directors or the membership of the IAMERS adopt a formal resolution of the censure. Said resolution to be limited to placing the finding and the nature of the violation of the code into the record.
- Expulsion of the member from the IAMERS Expulsion to be carried out according to the By-Laws of the IAMERS which provide the mechanism for expulsion. An IAMERS member which has been expelled from the IAMERS shall not become eligible for membership for a period of less than three years.
- IAMERS, in its discretion, may publish the facts, circumstances, and reasons leading to the expulsion of a member of I.A.M.E.R., as well as the identity of the expelled member. Publication may include, but is not limited to, posting a description of the facts, circumstances, and reasons leading to an expulsion, as well as the identity of the expelled member, on the I.A.M.E.R. site on the World Wide Web, www.iamers.org.
Section 10. Committee Hearings
- All proceedings before the committee are confidential and not subject to publication, except to the extent provided herein, with respect to findings of a violation or non-violation and the application of sanctions.
- Committee votes will not be published.
- The complainant and respondent shall each and together have the opportunity to address the ethics committee, when one or both are present at the scheduled hearing date.
- The format for presentation by a complainant and respondent shall be as follows:
- The Complainant shall be afforded a maximum of 10 minutes to present the substance of complaint to the committee.
- The respondent shall be afforded a maximum of 10 minutes to respond to the complaint in the presence of the committee.
- Ethics committee members shall be permitted to ask questions of both the complainant and respondent as deemed necessary.
- The complainant and respondent shall each be afforded a period of 10 minutes each to rebut the statements of each other.
- The committee reserves the right, at the request of the chairperson, to hear the testimony separately from each of the parties, when the situation appears to the chairperson not to be conducive to conducting a deliberate hearing.
- Neither the complainant or respondent shall be permitted to sit in on the deliberations of the ethics committee. At the conclusion of the allotted time, both parties shall leave the hearing room.
- The committee at its sole option may deliberate the complaint at the conclusion of the hearing, at sometime later during the IAMERS general membership meeting or at any time within the two week period following the hearing.
- A decision by the ethics committee shall be rendered not later that two weeks after the hearing date.
Section 11. Review of Ethics Committee Findings
There is no appeal of ethics committee findings.
Section 12. Settlement and Withdrawal of a Complaint
- The ethics committee welcomes settlement of complaints by the parties. Although the investigating member is not charged with the responsibility of serving as a mediator, the investigating member may be of assistance to the parties in effecting a settlement.
- The committee does not treat a complaint as withdrawn unless the chairperson receives from the complainant, a writing to the effect that the complaint has withdrawn the complaint. Such notice to be delivered by certified mail, return receipt requested.
- The ethics committee and its chairperson will neither receive nor act upon any conditional withdrawal of a complaint.
- If a party attempts to withdrawal a complaint but notes in the withdrawal that the matter has not been satisfactorily settled, the ethics committee may require that the complaint be withdrawn with prejudice. Unless a withdrawal is with prejudice, the withdrawal is without prejudice and the complaint may be re-filed. The chairperson may require any withdrawal to be with prejudice.
Section 13. Construction
Any issue as to the construction of the procedural guidelines contained herein shall be determined by the committee.
Section 14. Publication of Findings to Non-Members
- The findings of the committee shall not be published by the IAMERS or its non-members, except as permitted pursuant to Section 9, part 5.
- Non-member requests as to the standing of members within the IAMERS shall be limited to the following:
- Member in good standing,
- Not a member.
- As provided in the code, members are reminded not to disparage members by statements or innuendo to other members or clients. IAMERS members are members in good standing until such time as they are expelled as provided herein.
- Should a party to an Ethics Proceeding elect to publish, without the consent of IAMERS, information exchanged during the proceeding, the Ethics Committee is authorized to preclude consideration of any complaints which may or are being brought by the party determined to have been published the information.
Section 15. Mandate of the Professional Standards Committee
- The professional standards committee is charged with the ongoing process of establishing ethical standards for the IAMERS members. This does not preclude the ethics committee from continuing to establish procedural policies and standards.
- The ethics committee is encouraged to advise the professional standards committee of particular areas in which the ethics committee believes that substantive policy positions relating to ethical standards should be established, broadened or modified.
- If the ethics committee wishes a particular policy to be considered, the chairperson of the ethics committee should submit, in writing, the views of the ethics committee with respect to the subject at hand. If the professional standards committee agrees with the ethics committee on proposed changes or modification of existing ethical policies, it will develop a statement and refer it to the ethics committee for consideration prior to final publication.
- Members are encouraged to submit to the professional standards committee suggestions of areas in which statement of ethical standards should be established and/or clarified. The professional standards committee will review each request and make its own determination as to whether or not a policy statement should be developed or proposed.
- The professional standards committee shall be responsible for informing members about ethics committee findings in such a way as to provide guidance to members. Through the thoughtful explanation and illustration of ethics committee findings, the professional standards committee will work to educate and raise the awareness of members to the application of the code.