Updates regarding electronic data breaches and the AAMFT Code of Ethics
January 21, 2015
My high priced attorneys send me periodic information about hot topics regarding legal issues in health care. They recently sent one regarding electronic data breaches. The article deals with huge electronic data breaches and you might wonder what that means for small businesses and tiny providers like most of us. Keep in mind that the authorities make no distinction between large and small providers. We are required to protect data just like giant hospitals and insurance providers. We are supposed to perform a HIPPA Security Assessment which takes into account workstations, mobile devices, hardware, software, servers and any network we use. Using this assessment we are required to create a HIPPA Compliance Plan which is designed to protect workstations, mobile devices, hardware, software, servers, networks, and creates methods for handling confidentiality, protected health information, data breaches, complaints, business associate agreements, etc. etc. It can seem overwhelming to an individual practitioner. It is managable if you simply follow the process. It can also be expensive.
A very nice customer has alerted me that the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) has updated their Code of Ethics. In particular they have added a section on "Technology Assisted Professional Services". Most of us call this Teletherapy. This is a topic which has was highlighted by the NASW Legal Defense Fund "Legal Issue of the Month" back in 2011/2012. The Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, MFT Board and the Ohio Psychology Board both address teletherapy in their "Laws and Regulations" Teletherapy is area of practice which is still emerging, but grows bigger every year. I have heard for a few years of universities and hospitals starting to use Teletherapy. Only recently have I met individual practitioners using it. The information you can find at the AAMFT website, or the NASW website, or the websites of the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, MFT Board or the Ohio Psychology Board is similar. If you're considering doing Teletherapy it would behove you to become familiar with the laws and regulations.
http://www.aamft.org - click on "MFT Resources", then "Legal and Ethics", then "Code of Ethics", then scroll down to "Standard VI"
https://www.socialworkers.org/default.asp - click on "Resources", then "Legal Defense Fund", then "Legal Issue of the Month", the select "2011" or "2012" then look for "Social Workers and Skype: Part I" or "Social Workers and Skype: Part II", then you'll have to log in. It is only available to NASW Members
http://cswmft.ohio.gov/ - click on "Laws and Regulations", then scroll down to page 92
http://psychology.ohio.gov/ - click on "Laws and Rules", then on "Psychology Laws and Rules", then "Rules of Professional Conduct", then (I) "Telepsychology".