By Christopher A. Parrella, JD, CHC, CPC, CPCO

As members of AAPC, you are ethically and professionally responsible for treating co-workers, employers, and colleagues fairly, as well as obligated to foster an environment of fairness whether it be at work, a chapter meeting, or other professional event. The principle of fairness requires impartiality, honesty, and the disclosure of material conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest generally occurs when you're in a position to influence a decision on behalf of a particular party when your decision, more likely than not, will affect another party to whom you have a corresponding and competing loyalty.

Fairness generally involves a total disregard of personal feelings, prejudices, and desires to attain a proper balance of conflicting interests. Fairness is treating others in the same fashion you want to be treated. Fairness is at the core of all professional engagements. It's very likely that the person seeking your professional services has substantially less knowledge and training in the area of coding than yourself. You bring your knowledge and training as a healthcare business professional to establish a relationship of trust to deliver services and advice to the client. You are responsible to ensure an environment of inclusiveness and a commitment to diversity in the organization you serve.

As AAPC members, you are given the responsibility of developing, administering, and advocating policies and procedures that foster fair, consistent, and equitable treatment for all. Regardless of your personal interests, you are obligated to support and foster a corporate culture made of decisions by your organization that are both ethical and legal. It is your ethical duty to conduct yourself in a manner that equalizes your self-interests with the interests of others. To achieve this goal, you must always act impartially and objectively. When you consider each statement or action from the perspective of those on the receiving side, choosing the correct approach becomes more readily apparent.

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