Federal and State Laws
What is being covered is in this document are basic laws pertaining to the practice of psychology and the goals of professional service orientated corporations. Healing Waters, Incorporated is a nonprofit professional service orientated corporation. The corporation promotes psychological science, and selling and marketing the psychological skills and services of Dr. K. She is the director and the key employee. Dr. K. renders therapy and consulting services to earn a living. She does not live off donations or contributions. Healing Waters, Inc. is an innovation orientated organization. The corporate culture is STEM orientated. Dr. K. uses sound science and advance mathematics to solve complex problems.
This section will cover: (a) therapist-client relationship, (b) therapist client communication and privileges; (c) patient’s right to privacy; (d) importance of managing risks; (e) HIPPA; (f) purchasing insurance; (g) joining trade associations; (h) resources needed to start a private practice. and (i) duty to warn.
- The minimum resources needed to constitute a home based private practice is (a) a sound proof office; (b) patient access to a bathroom; and (c) a waiting room.
- Risk management lessens the chance of lawsuits, high insurance payments, guarantees patient privacy, protects the safety of customers and the therapist and ensures the basic rights of clients and therapists. Contrary to popular belief, being a therapist is a mildly dangerous job especially if the psychologist does not take basic precautions. For example, screening patients, taking referrals from physicians, and government resources.
- The therapist-client relationship begins when the therapist accepts a request to provide therapy or other psychological service. Customers are terminated when therapy and other services reaches an end point and when the services are no longer needed.
- Psychologist-client communication and privileges creates a verbal contract of special privilege. However, the verbal agreement is not legal protection against a lawsuit. An informed consent form must be created by the psychologist, explained in detail to the client and signed and dated by therapist and client.. Information about a customer’s treatment or condition cannot be revealed to anyone including family members without explicit and written consent from the customer.
- Patient’s privacy rights are guaranteed by the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution. A customer can sue for malicious gossip or being asked extremely personal questions. If someone overhears a conversation and gossips the gossiper is responsible for the gossip and can be sued.
- HIPPA is a legal government document that protects the privacy and natural human rights of patients and customers regarding healthcare. The Department of Health and Human Services ratified the document. All doctoral level psychologists must register with this government agency.
- The least amount of insurance a psychologist should carry is (a) business comprehension; (b) mortgage insurance; (c) professional liability; and (d) disability and/or overhead insurance.
- It is highly recommended psychologists join trade associations for two reasons: (a) to attend valid workshops for CEUs to re-apply for licensure every two years. The Board accepts validated workshops from APA, APS, AMA, etc. Trade associations provide referral sources, networking opportunities and grants.
- Duty to warn about negligence and/or abuse statue (CJ Article § 5-609). The law states Psychologists must report when have reason to believe a child is being subjected to abuse or neglect. The duty is to protect the intended victim against violent and abusive behavior. The law provides civil and criminal immunity to anyone who reports abuse or participates in an investigation in good faith (CJ Article § 5-620).
- Please be careful with this law. Although you may be correct and legal about witnessing and reporting abuse, there is opposition from the public and the police force. For example, I witnessed and reported a potential abuse situation in the Anne Arundel County Public School System. What happened was I was dismissed from my position, labeled a racist because the victim was from South Africa and the alleged abuser was an African American. Ignorant Americans believe everyone from South Africa who is not a Black African is prejudiced. Wrong assessment about South Africa and racism.