Code of Conduct

SIR Connect Code of Conduct

 

SIR is committed to providing a respectful and diverse forum for SIR members and users on SIR Connect.

Thank you for being part of SIR Connect (the “Site”). To ensure the best possible experience for all members and users, we have established some basic guidelines for participation. Please take a moment to acquaint yourself with these important guidelines. In order to preserve a climate that encourages both civil and fruitful dialogue, SIR reserves the right to suspend or terminate access to this Site for anyone who violates these rules.

By joining and using this Site, you agree that you have read and will follow these rules and guidelines. You also agree to reserve discussions and shared files and content to that best suited to the medium. SIR Connect is a valuable resource with which to solicit the advice of your peers, benefit from their experience, and participate in an ongoing conversation. If you have questions, please contact SIR staff at volunteer@sirweb.org  or call at (703) 691-1805.


Rules and guidelines

  • SIR Connect must act in a professional manner. The discussions and comments are meant to stimulate conversation and not to create contention. Users shall recognize their responsibility to participate in discussions in a meaningful way to improve the community. Personal attacks will not be tolerated.
  • SIR Connect users are prohibited from posting commercial messages on any discussion list, resource library entry, or other area of this Site where others might see it. Contact people directly with product and service information if you believe it would help them.
  • SIR Connect users shall use caution when discussing products. Information posted on the lists and in the libraries of this Site is available for all to see, and comments are subject to libel, slander, and antitrust laws. 
  • SIR Connect users shall respect the rights of patients, colleagues, and other health professionals, and shall safeguard patient confidences within the constraints of the law. Protected patient information is prohibited from being shared or identifiable.
  • SIR Connect users shall exercise professionalism, consideration, and respect in their speech and actions and must refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech. Users who experience or witness harassment are encouraged to report it to SIR using the 'mark as inappropriate' flag on the Site.
  • SIR Connect users shall note all items listed in the disclaimer and legal rules below, particularly regarding the copyright ownership of information posted. 
  • Remember that other participants have the right to reproduce postings to this Site for personal and non-commercial purposes. 
  • SIR Connect users recognize that all messages must add to the body of knowledge. SIR reserves the right to reject any message that do not comply with the rules outlined within the SIR Connect Code of Conduct.
  • No SIR member or staff may purport to speak on behalf of SIR or the SIR Foundation, on this Site without the prior written consent of the SIR President or Executive Director, respectively.

Best Practices

  • Include a signature tag on all messages. Include your name, affiliation, and location. 
  • State concisely and clearly the topic of your comments in the subject line. This allows members to respond more appropriately to your posting and makes it easier for members to search the archives by subject. 
  • Include only the relevant portions of the original message in your reply. Delete any header information and put your response before the original posting. 
  • Only send a message to the entire list when it contains information that everyone can benefit from. 
  • Send messages such as "thanks for the information" or "me too" to individuals--not to the entire list. Do this by using the "Reply to Sender" link to the left of every message.
  • Do not send administrative messages, such as “remove me from the list.” Instead, use the web interface to change your settings or to remove yourself from a list. If you are changing e-mail addresses, you do not need to remove yourself from the list and rejoin under your new e-mail address. Simply change your settings. 
  • Warn other list subscribers of lengthy messages either in the subject line or at the beginning of the message body with a line that says, "Long Message." 


Additional Rules to Note

  • No Spam – Spamming and trolling on SIR Connect will not be allowed. This includes using the Site email and private message (PM) system to spam other members. If you receive PM spam, please email it to volunteer@sirweb.org .
  • Advertising – Do not advertise or promote any products or services via affiliate links, either on the Site’s message board or through private messaging. This includes referrals/invites to join other message boards or communities or any promotion to a website with intent to siphon traffic or make a profit.
  • No Medical Advice – Postings by participants on this Site are not intended to and should not purport to constitute medical advice. All participants needing medical advice should seek the assistance of a qualified healthcare provider in their state.
  • No Posts About Fees Etc. – Do not discuss your fees, charges, amounts you are reimbursed by third party payors, salaries you pay your physicians and other employees, prices for medical equipment or services, or any other similar fee or price-related practice matters. You should also avoid discussions that could be interpreted as planning or facilitating joint responses to or group boycotts of particular payors or companies that sell products or services to you or your colleagues. Such discussions may implicate and/or violate federal and/or state antitrust laws.
  • No Posting of Copyrighted Material – Do not post any materials or photos that may have copyright protection or otherwise violate the rights of third parties without permission from the copyright holder. You may include links to such materials on other websites, as long as the materials are properly/legally posted on those websites. When in doubt, do not post without first contacting member services for approval.


Surveying of Members

SIR allows member to use SIR Connect communities to post links or other invitations to participate in independent survey research efforts. Researchers are held to the highest ethics in science, including obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to safeguard the well-being of human subjects. When using the Site to recruit research participants, please include the following information in the body of your post and in any additional communications:

  • IRB approval information, including IRB approval number
  • The name of the institution that granted IRB approval
  • An invitation for potential research participants to contact the principal investigator and/or the IRB office with questions, including contact information. 
  • The following SIR disclaimer “This survey was developed independently and has not be reviewed or endorsed by the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR). Participation in this survey is voluntary. “

Only SIR members may use SIR Connect for research purposes. Members may not post requests for research on behalf on non-members. While these surveys do not require SIR review and approval, SIR reserves the right to remove any SIR Connect post if the research effort does not adhere to these guidelines.

 

Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior and Moderation

SIR Connect is a members-only community, moderated by users. When a post is viewed by a user as inappropriate or in violation of the above SIR Connect Code of Conduct, users may use the 'mark as inappropriate' flag in the green drop down to the right of the discussion thread to flag a post.

In the event a post is flagged for moderation, the system immediately removes the post in question and the poster who initiated the post is notified by email until it is reviewed by the Moderation Review Committee.

The Moderation Review Committee is comprised of the SIR Member Service Division Councilor and three members at-large. The SIR immediate past president serves as chair of the committee and shall convene the committee as necessary.

The committee shall review all posts flagged for moderation within 48 business hours and determine if it violates the SIR Connect Code of Conduct. Posts that violate the code of conduct are permanently removed from the community. Posts that are deemed not to violate the code of conduct will be released and reposted. The member is notified of the decision to remove or release the post.


Moderation Process

A user may be disciplined or prohibited from using SIR Connect for conduct which the Society considers unprofessional, unethical, or offensive to the dignity or contrary to the best interests of the IR community.

Disciplinary action may be initiated by any one or more violations of the outlined SIR Connect Code of Conduct. 

 

Disciplinary Options

The Moderation Review Committee may apply the following disciplinary options to any user violating the SIR Connect Code of Conduct.  Disciplinary proceedings shall be considered confidential. The following levels of disciplinary action are available and defined as follows:

No Action Indicated: After careful consideration of a complaint, the Moderation Review Committee may decide that no disciplinary action is necessary.

Censure:  Censure is a written reprimand and removal of a post by a user from the immediate past president of the Society with no loss of access to SIR Connect. Such censure is made part of the membership file of the user.

Suspension:  Suspension shall cause the user to lose access to the Site for defined time period. At the end of the determined suspension period, the individual may petition the Moderation Review Committee for removal of suspension if the individual can show that during their suspension, they have demonstrated the necessary modifications to their behavior and has adhered to the ethical principles of the Society.

Expulsion: If the Moderation Review Committee finds the post violates the SIR Code of Conduct Society in such a situation shall be considered grounds for the user to be automatically removal from the Site.  The expelled user shall be notified, and the violation will be forwarded to the SIR Ethics Committee for further review. Grounds for expulsion are not limited to the outlined Code above but may also be invoked by the Society where violations of the Society’s Code of Ethics have occurred.

At the discretion of the Moderation Review Committee, users who repeatedly violate the SIR Connect Code of Conduct may be suspended and/or expelled from the Site.


Legal

This Site is provided as a service for the members of the Society of Intervention Radiology (SIR) and SIR Foundation.  This Site is subject to both the rules stated above and also the “Terms of Use” and “Content, Links and Copyright” policies contained on the SIR website at https://www.sirweb.org/about-sir/terms/ and https://www.sirweb.org/about-sir/links-and-copyright/, both of which are incorporated herein by reference.

Except when specifically noted, any views or opinions expressed on this Site and its related forums, blogs, or member-contributed resources are those of the individual contributors.  No SIR member or staff may purport to speak on behalf of SIR or the SIR Foundation, either on this Site or in any other public forum, without the prior written consent of the SIR Executive Director, respectively.  The views and posted comments do not necessarily reflect those of SIR and/or SIR Foundation. SIR and SIR Foundation aim to provide quality and accurate information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to on the Community site.

Considering the real-time nature of the discussion forums, it is impossible for us to review messages or confirm the validity of information posted before it appears on the forums. SIR and SIR Foundation does not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and is not responsible for the contents of any message. We cannot ensure prompt removal of offending posts.

In order to preserve a climate that encourages both civil and fruitful dialogue, we reserve the right to delete posts and suspend or terminate access to this Site for anyone who violate these rules.

SIR and SIR Foundation specifically disclaim any and all liability for any claims or damages that result from postings by participants.  Although the forums may include links providing direct access to other websites, SIR and SIR Foundation has not participated in the development of these other sites and does not exert any editorial or other control over them.  Any hypertext links and any reference to any products, services, or other information by trade name, trademark, supplier, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, sponsorship, or recommendation by SIR and SIR Foundation. SIR and the SIR Foundation expressly disclaim liability related to the accuracy and content of other sites and use of any products or services referenced in any posting or any linked site.

Interactions with organizations and/or individuals found on or through this Site, including payment and delivery of goods or services, and any other terms, conditions, warranties or representations associated with such dealings, are solely between the participant and such organizations and/or individuals.  Participants should make whatever investigation they feel necessary or appropriate before proceeding with any online or offline transaction with any of these third parties.

Participants who post materials on this site (including but not limited to papers, presentations, images, and videos, etc.) shall retain their rights to such materials with the understanding that the materials are being posted for educational purposes and may be reproduced, retransmitted, or reprinted for other Site participants’ personal and non-commercial use. As noted above, participants should refrain from posting such materials unless they own the copyright or have authority or permission from the copyright holder to do so.  Such posting participants shall be wholly responsible for and shall hold SIR and SIR Foundation harmless from the inappropriate use of copyrighted material they post on this site.

SIR and SIR Foundation own all right, title, and interest in any and all materials posted on this site that have been created by SIR and SIR Foundation and are subject to copyrights owned by SIR and SIR Foundation unless indicated otherwise. SIR and SIR Foundation hereby provide limited permission for users of this Site to reproduce, retransmit, or reprint, for such user's personal use only, part or all of any document on this site. All other reproduction, retransmission, or reprinting of all or part of any document found on this Site is expressly prohibited, unless SIR or SIR Foundation has expressly granted its prior consent to so reproduce, retransmit, or reprint the material. All other rights are reserved.

Medical information published here by SIR and SIR Foundation or by any participant is for educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice, nor does it replace consultation with a qualified health care provider. Please consult an appropriate health care provider for such guidance. SIR and SIR Foundation do not answer specific medical questions or refer persons to specific health care providers.

All information collected from SIR and SIR Foundation members will be used solely for membership purposes and will not be disclosed to third-parties without the express written consent from the member.


SIR Antitrust Policy

SIR is a nonprofit, national scientific organization committed to its mission of improving health and quality of life through the practice of interventional radiology.  SIR is organized to promote education, research and communication in the field of interventional radiology while providing strong leadership in the development of health care policy.

SIR has a strict policy of compliance with federal and antitrust laws.  The antitrust laws of the United States prohibit agreements, combinations and conspiracies that restrain trade among competitors. SIR members may be considered to be competitors for purposes of antitrust challenges even if their practices are not in the same geographic areas.  The penalties for violations of the antitrust laws are severe for medical societies and their members.

In all SIR activities, each member, as well as SIR staff, shall be responsible for following the association’s policy of strict compliance with the antitrust laws.  The SIR officers and committee chairs shall ensure that this policy is known and adhered to in the course of activities pursued under their leadership.  Antitrust compliance is the responsibility of every SIR member and SIR staff.


General Antitrust Compliance Principles

SIR will not become involved in the competitive business decision of its individual members, nor will it take any action that would tend to restrain competition. SIR is firmly committed to the principle of competition served by the antitrust laws, and good business judgment demands that every effort be made to assure compliance with all applicable federal and state antitrust laws and trade regulations.

SIR members in separate practices cannot come to understandings, make agreements, or otherwise concur on positions or activities that in any way tend to raise, lower, or stabilize prices or fees, allocate or divide up markets, or encourage or facilitate boycotts. Individual SIR members must make decisions regarding the amounts they charge for their services and other terms of dealing with patients, vendors, and third-party payors on their own and without consultation with their competitors or SIR.

The antitrust laws are complicated and often unclear. If any member is concerned about being in a “gray area,” the member should consult with an antitrust attorney. If the conversation among competitors at a SIR meeting or on this Site turns to antitrust-sensitive issues, participants should discontinue the conversation until legal advice is obtained or leave the meeting or this Site immediately.

Discussions of pricing or boycotts as part of SIR-scheduled programs, at SIR-sponsored meetings or on this Site could implicate and involve the SIR in extensive and expensive antitrust challenges and litigation. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that an association can be held liable for statements or actions in antitrust-sensitive areas by volunteer leaders who claim to speak for the association, even if they are not authorized to speak in that area. Directors and officers of SIR must, therefore, make clear whether they are speaking in their official capacity when they address such issues; by contrast, if they are making personal remarks outside of an SIR setting, the speaker should clearly state that he or she is speaking for him or herself, and not on behalf of the SIR.  No SIR member, including SIR Board members, may purport to speak on behalf of SIR without the prior written consent of the SIR President or Executive Director.

To assist the SIR staff, officers, directors and committee chairs in recognizing situations that may give the appearance of an antitrust concern, the Executive Council shall provide to each such person copies of this antitrust compliance statement. In addition, this statement shall be referenced at the start of any meeting where SIR business will be discussed, and this action will be noted in the minutes of the meeting.

Any violation of the antitrust policy will be brought to the attention of the Executive Council, and the Council will deal with it in a timely and appropriate manner. The Executive Council will consult with legal counsel when questions arise as to the manner in which the antitrust laws may apply to the activities of SIR.


Specific Rules of Antitrust Compliance

  1. SIR activities shall not be used for the purpose of bringing about, or attempting to bring about, any understanding or agreement, written or oral, formal or informal, expressed or implied, among competitors with regard to prices or fees, terms or conditions of sale, discounts, territories or customers. For example, any agreement by competitors to “honor,” “protect,” or “avoid invading” one another’s geographic areas, practice specialties, or patient lists would violate the law.

 

  1. SIR activities and communications shall not include discussion or actions, for any purpose or in any fashion, of prices or pricing methods or other limitations on either the timing of services or the allocation of territories or markets or customers in any way. For example, SIR members cannot come to understandings, make agreements, or otherwise concur on positions or activities that are directed at fixing prices, fees, or reimbursement levels. Likewise, SIR members cannot collectively make agreements as to whether they will or will not enter into contracts with certain managed care plans. Even if no formal agreements are reached on such matters, discussions of prices, group boycotts, or market allocations followed by parallel conduct in the marketplace can lead to antitrust scrutiny or challenges. Members may, however, consult with each other and freely discuss the scientific and clinical aspects of the practice of medicine.

 

  1. SIR shall not undertake any activity that involves exchange or collection and dissemination among competitors of any information regarding prices, pricing methods, cost of services or labor, or sales or distribution without first obtaining the advice of legal counsel, when questions arise as to the proper and lawful methods by which these activities may be pursued. For example, caution should be exercised in collecting data on usual and customary fees, managed care reimbursement levels, workforce statistics, and job market opportunities. While the mere collection of data on such matters is permissible if certain conditions are met, antitrust concerns may arise if the data become the basis for collective action.

In general, SIR activities and communications shall not include any discussion or action that may be construed as an attempt to: (1) raise, lower, or stabilize prices; (2) allocate markets or territories; (3) prevent any person or business entity from gaining access to any market or to any customer for goods or services; (4) prevent or boycott any person or business entity, including managed care organizations or other third party payors, from obtaining services freely in the market; (5) foster unfair trade practices; (6) assist in monopolization; or attempts to monopolize; or (7) in any way violate applicable federal or state antitrust laws and trade regulations. The actual purpose and intent of SIR’s policies and programs are important in this regard. They cannot be aimed at accomplishing anti-competitive objectives.

If you see what you believe is a violation of these rules in any of the SIR Connect forums, please notify SIR staff immediately by e-mailing volunteer@sirweb.org.