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Have You Been Scammed by a Fraudulent ESA Website? SPODA May be the Answer

Aug 13, 2018 By USSA

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SPODA’s Code of Ethics and Conduct

  1. Any diagnosis obtained through a consult arranged through the website shall come from a currently licensed mental health professional.
  2. Any letter from any mental health professional (hereinafter “MHP”) shall come from an MHP licensed by the state in which the patient is physically located. It is a violation of state law for an MHP to diagnose and/or treat a client if the MHP is not licensed in the state in which the client is physically located, subjects the MHP to adverse disciplinary and/or criminal action, and makes any letter issued by the MHP to the client illegal during the normal evaluation process.
  3. The consult between the MHP and the patient shall be personal, meaningful, and sufficient to meet all applicable state standards for establishing a client/patient relationship, which include complying with all state teletherapy laws and/or requirements.
  4. No diagnosis shall be based solely upon the MHP’s reading and/or interpretation of an online form submitted by the purported client. Such online forms are NOT personal, meaningful or sufficient to meet applicable state standards for establishing a client/patient relationship.
  5. No diagnosis shall be made without significant personal audio and/or video communication (as required by state teletherapy laws and/or requirements) between the MHP and the client.
  6. MHP shall establish that the patient is under the MHP’s professional care and requires an ongoing relationship. An ongoing relationship requires a minimum of two scheduled appointments.
  7. The MHP shall be available to complete additional forms for the client should a landlord, condo association, or other similar person or entity require them.
  8. The website shall not discriminate against clients who are seeking a reasonable accommodation from a college or university.
  9. The website shall NOT mislead the client with regard to his/her rights and responsibilities under Federal or state law. The website shall not falsely state that any registration is required to establish or assert any right under the law. The website shall not misrepresent to clients that an ESA’s rights exceed rights established under the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.
  10. The website shall provide a phone number that clients may use to speak to a representative of the company during normal business hours.
  11. Ongoing legal support
  12. Discount for Veterans

SPODA Press Release

Society For Prevention Of Online Diagnostic Abuse Certifies USServiceAnimals.org

USServiceAnimals.org has become the first online company to implement and pass SPODA's strict Code of Ethics and Conduct, reports preventonlinediagnosticabuse.org.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Rohoboth Beach, DE)-The Society for Prevention of Online Diagnostic Abuse (SPODA) announces that USServiceAnimals.org has officially become a certified teletherapy marketing company to implement and pass SPODA's strict Code of Ethics and Conduct. SPODA's Code of Ethics and Conduct contains twelve strict guidelines for teletherapy marketing companies that lead to a legal and proper diagnosis for emotional support animals (ESAs).

"Many people would be surprised to learn of the widespread nature of online diagnostic abuse," said attorney Dominick Latino of SPODA. "Our mission is to protect unsuspecting patients as well as businesses and organizations from the potential negative consequences of dealing with emotional support animal scams online. We are proud of USServiceAnimals.org for seeking accountability and are happy to give them our full endorsement. USServiceanmals.org has made the investment to provide legal and ethical consultative services."

The SPODA team believes that recent "online questionnaire only" diagnoses, without a live phone or in person consultation with a licensed mental health professional, are unwittingly placing people in the middle of an illegal scheme. The organization is passionate about the work they do and are thrilled to be able to offer both patients and professionals the information they need to ensure consistent legal adherence when it comes to obtaining diagnoses and documentation for emotional support animals.

Visit http://preventonlinediagnosticabuse.org to learn more about the Society for Prevention of Diagnostic Abuse, view the guidelines for their Code of Ethics and Conduct, and see how organizations and websites can apply to become SPODA certified.

About Society for Prevention of Online Diagnostic Abuse

SPODA is dedicated to eradicating online diagnostic abuse by online and telemedicine doctors & mental health care professionals. Their team seeks to help mental health patients and teletherapy businesses understand emotional support animal laws and implement legal and proper diagnoses from fraudulent online questionnaire diagnoses. Their Code of Ethics and Conduct lays out twelve distinct guidelines for telemedicine doctors and mental health care professionals who would like to provide proper and legal services to patients.

About USServiceAnimals.org

US Service Animals was founded in 2015 with the mission of educating and assisting people with disabilities through the use of animals. They are one of the leading online destinations for information on Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and the laws surrounding ownership of each. USSA consults with mental health care professionals in all 50 states, and they pride themselves on being the ethical leaders in the space. 

Click here to learn more about the Society for Prevention of Online Diagnostic Abuse.