Law, rules and regulations, not Guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Guideline may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations, some citations of which are listed at the end of this Guideline.
1. Defining the Terms for Providing Professional Services
- Be sure that you practice within your authorized scope of practice,
as either a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) or the Licensed Clinical
Social Worker (LCSW). It is your responsibility to understand the laws
and regulations that define practice as an LMSW or as an LCSW, including
any requirements for supervision.
- At the outset of service:
- Provide the client with information on what services you/your agency can provide to clients and what is required of clients receiving these services;
- Involve the client in the mutual development and implementation of any treatment program or other service plan to the fullest extent of his/her abilities; and
- Provide the client with a statement, preferably in writing, regarding all fees and relevant business procedures. This includes, but is not limited to, billing and payment procedures, including use of collection agencies, handling of insurance reimbursement, requirements for canceling appointments, charges for missed appointments, billing for collateral contacts and court room time, and the client's right to access his/her records within the law.
- If appropriate, be sure you understand how to bill insurance companies
and other third-party payers in accordance with New York State law, rules
- If a client stops using your services against your advice and you believe
this places the client at risk, develop a clear plan, preferably in writing,
for re-engaging the client. The plan should be placed in the client's
record and should note why you believe the termination is inappropriate,
any alternative services that are available to the client, and the mechanisms
for re-entry into your or your agency's care.
- If you leave an agency and/or practice, provide reasonable advance notice in writing and a clear and written plan to clients for the continuation of care. Such documents should be placed in the client's record.
Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:
- Education Law, section 6509(9) - unprofessional conduct
- Education Law, section 6509-a - fee splitting
- Education Law, section 7701(1) - practice of licensed master social work
- Education Law, section 7701(2) - practice of licensed clinical social work
- Civil Practice Laws and Rules , section 4508 - privileged communication
- Regents Rules, part 29.1(b)(2) - exercising undue influence
- Regents Rules, part 29.1(b)(3) - referral fees
- Regents Rules, part 29.1(b)(4) - fee splitting
- Regents Rules, part 29.1(b)(7) - failing to release requested records
- Regents Rules, part 29.1(b)(11) - patient/client authorization of services
- Regents Rules, part 29.1(b)(12) - advertising not in the public interest
- Regents Rules, part 29.2(a)(1) - abandoning a patient/client
- Regents Rules, part 29.2(b) - failing to provide access to records as required by Public Health Law, section 18