Practice Guidelines

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:
  1. Provide the client with information on what services you/your agency can provide to clients and what is required of clients receiving these services;
  2. 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
  3. 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 and regulations.

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.

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Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:

Last Updated: April 9, 2014