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Professional Associations

Profession

The Legal Framework
Professional Associations



FOREWORD

The main scope of the European Institute for Osteopathic Medicine is the teaching of Osteopathy. Due to its national and international qualities, IEMO asserts its independence from other professional associations also because of its role of direct and credible spokesman with the institutional authorities.
Furthermore, in disagreement with some other Italian Osteopathic schools, IEMO finds it inconsistent that educational institutes are admitted into professional associations, especially if the latter do not hold any official authorization or certification to carry out quality control activities in the schools. In fact, an effective control on the educational services offered by IEMO is performed by different and more relevant agencies, i.e. the Italian Ministry of Education, the International Organization for Standardization UNI EN ISO 9001:2008, the Italian National Institute for Health (Age.Na.S), and the legally acknowledged European schools for osteopathic training.
 
HOW TO SELECT A PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION AFTER EARNING A DEGREE - A RULEBOOK:
Whereas belonging to a professional association is not a compulsory requirement for a school, single operators should consider being represented and protected by the best available organizations in their professional arena. This recommendation is also contained in the recent Italian law which regulates non organized professions: the legislator entrusts the representatives of various non-health professions with the "voluntary self-regulation and qualification of the activities of such professionals". However this law appears to contradict our profession's inescapable health-care vocation in that it does not mandate membership in an association as a necessary requirement for practicing, not does it identify a national agency liable for osteopaths' activities.
 
On account of its long-standing field experience, IEMO supports professionals' enrollment in Associazione professionale degli Osteopati because of the following shared goals:
 

1) The Association only admits professional osteopaths fiscally registered with the proper tax number and tax return, i.e. those enrolled with the Italian VAT register at n. 869029.
It is essential to verify that membership to this Association is denied to osteopaths enrolled as medical therapists, physiotherapists or other professionals, and to osteopaths illegally practicing medicine. Gaining membership in the best osteopathic Association means to be part of an homogeneous group represented by osteopaths who unambiguously comply with the strict and self-respecting professional rules defined by the most complete osteopathic Code of Ethics which they accept and subscribe to. The clear indication of the osteopathic activity in any and all formal document or written agreement with customers is essential to put an end to the widespread ambiguities in this health-care sector. This does not prevent osteopaths - if properly qualified - from practicing other professional activities, as long as they select the osteopathic Association which allows to clearly distinguish their prevailing osteopathic activities from the others.
Furthermore, why should the legislator recognize a profession represented by practitioners registered under different qualifications? Under these circumstances, the case could be made that such "osteopaths" are the first to subordinate their qualification, thereby proving the uselessness of being acknowledged.
 

2) The Association promotes the acknowledgement of the profession as an independent practice in the health-care sector;
 
3) The Association's mission is to provide a benchmark for osteopaths as well as for citizens, by issuing clear rules for the practice of osteopathy and by monitoring that they are respected, applying absolutely impartial and fair criteria;
 
4) The Association admits osteopaths holding a full-time or part-time course degree, whose chief occupation is the practice of osteopathy after completion of a curriculum complying with the best international training standards, as recently described by WHO, which specified the quantitative and qualitative terms of attendance;
 
5) The aims of the osteopathic Association are not limited to representation activities, but also  include constructive dialogues with its members and with competent authorities, striving to co-operate on all new projects, the most important of which is to obtain the status of health-care professionals for osteopaths, thereby exempting them from applying VAT for their services;
 
6) The osteopathic Association engages in organizing osteopaths and not the schools of Osteopathy, as is the settled practice in any distinguished profession association. Furthermore, the Association shall stimulate and verify the continuous education of its members;
 
7) Rather than remaining isolated and self-referring , members become part of a team and can be actively involved in its activities, working in a transparent setting, controlled by Italian and European authorized agencies;
 
8) Members can profit from a solid aid in legal, insurance and social security matters. The best professional Association provides advice on any of the above issues. A dynamic, non-bureaucratic service which effectively and directly meets professionals' needs;
 
9) Members accept the presence of a "customer care" service in their professional Association; this service offers a listening ear, protects and warns patients against improper professional practice, thereby distinguishing between proper and alleged professionals;
 
10) Professionals enroll in an Association where new members are personally selected through clear and consistent procedures. Applicants are not admitted by an examination board composed by the faculty of affiliated schools, but directly on the premises of the professional Association which stands as a guarantor for impartial mechanisms to evaluate qualifications, adequacy of certifications, and professional and ethical skills of its future members. Commissioners of the board will be clinical and scientific experts not belonging to the faculty of any osteopathic school.

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