No matter the marketing, the vast majority of physicians and clinics performing surgical hair restoration are not performing state-of-the art hair transplantation techniques. The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is an organization (IAHRS) comprised of caring and capable professionals working to protect and improve the appearance, health and well-being of their patients. However, physicians who do not perform state-of-the-art techniques, who have serious deficiencies in their practices, or are dishonest or impaired, are not accepted for membership in the IAHRS, and affect the integrity of the entire field. The International Alliance of Hair Restoration Surgeons is responsible for investigating and adjudicating complaints against physicians and physician assistants who are members of the IAHRS.
If a complaint about a physician is filed with the IAHRS, the organization’s complaint process effectively weeds out those issues that lack foundation or are outside the jurisdiction of the IAHRS. If evidence is found that suggests intentional misconduct, the physician will have their membership revoked.
Individual physicians in group practices must have individual IAHRS membership. Membership by one physician in a group is not automatically conferred to any other physician within that group. Non-members practicing within a group that contain IAHRS members have not been vetted by the IAHRS.
Membership is not a right. If a member violates any of the policies of the IAHRS no matter how trivial they may seem to the member, said physician’s membership will be revoked.
Immediate termination of membership will be enforced for the following violations:
- Being impaired by alcohol, drugs, physical or mental disability.
- Abandoning or neglecting a patient in need of immediate care.
- Promoting the sale of services, goods, appliances or drugs in a manner that exploits the patient.
- Refusing to provide medical care due to race, color, creed or ethnic origin. Guaranteeing a cure.
- Performing professional services not authorized by the patient.
- Willfully harassing, abusing or intimidating a patient.
- Ordering excessive tests or treatments.
- Failing to make medical/surgical records available to a patient. With limited exceptions, the HIPAA Privacy Rule (the Privacy Rule) provides patients with a legal, enforceable right to view and receive copies of the medical records upon request.
- Practicing the profession with a suspended or inactive license.
- Revealing personally identifiable facts, data or information without consent of the patient, except as authorized or required by law.
- Permitting another to share in the fees for professional services, except as authorized or required by law.
- Failing to maintain a record for each patient which accurately reflects his or her medical evaluation.
What Complaints Are Not Misconduct?
Many of the complaints reported arise from failed communication. Typically, these do not constitute misconduct, but they do point out basic problems in the doctor/ patient relationship that, if left uncorrected, ultimately could lead to serious problems.
Complaints regarding fees generally are not under the jurisdiction of the IAHRS unless they represent fraud. For example, it would be considered fraud if a physician charged for tests or services not provided. A patient may feel a physician charged too much for the services received, but that does not form the basis of a misconduct action.
Complaints about a physician’s communication skills, attitude or “bedside manner” are also not generally under the jurisdiction of the IAHRS. Neither does the organization have any authority over office practice issues such as long waiting times or rude staff. However, the willful harassment, abuse or intimidation of a patient, either physically or verbally, does constitute misconduct.