For Practitioners: Balancing Risk Management and Practice

October 27, 2017
South Seattle Community College-Georgetown

This six-hour interactive workshop will focus on understanding how to manage risk in your psychotherapy practice whether it is in an agency/hospital setting or in private practice. 

This Program has been approved for 6 Legal/Ethical CEUs for Licensed Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and all associate categories by the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work.

Topics will include:

  • State laws pertaining to record keeping, as well as how to keep records that will minimize your risk of being successfully sued and protecting your license, including disclosure statements and informed consent.
  • What to do when you get a subpoena.  The difference between subpoenas and court orders and how to respond to both, as well as an understanding of confidential and privileged communication.
  • The do’s and don’ts of electronic communications: email, texting, social media, Skype.
  • Legal requirement for mandatory disclosures: duty to warn, reporting to CPS, APS, unprofessional conduct, and involuntary treatment.
  • The pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages of forming a PLLC or other corporate structure to minimize risk.

This year, we have also added a new section to the training to discuss the recent Volk decision that was handed down by the Washington Supreme Court last December, and the subsequent attempts to find a legislative fix to protect mental health practitioners. For those of you who are not aware of the Volk decision, here is a summary:

The Court’s decision expanded the state’s duty-to-warn law, and in the process created a new medical liability theory that will allow plaintiffs to sue health care providers not only under the existing medical malpractice statutes, but also under a common law theory of “medical negligence.” This will impact the provider-patient relationship and treatment decisions in a variety of care settings.

The court determined that a provider’s duty-to-warn potential victims of potential violence by his or her patient will now extend to all individuals who might foreseeably be endangered by a patient rather than those against whom a patient has made a specific threat. The case has significant implications for the way providers practice and curtails a patient’s expectation of privacy in conversations with health care providers.

Wellspring has been following this decision closely, and has participated in the legislative efforts to fix the court’s decision. As part of our Balancing Risk Management workshop, we will be discussing the Volk decision, and sharing a new risk assessment tool we developed to help practitioners protect themselves from this most unfortunate court decision.