Ethics and Risk Management: Legal and Ethical Risks and Risk Management in Professional Practice
Experts agree that regardless of what happens with healthcare reform legislation at the state and national level, the industrialization of the healthcare system is going to continue. New practice models will require psychologists to confront an increasingly complex legal environment. The development of an effective risk management strategy will be essential for career and economic survival.
These are a few of the developments that have increased the liability and disciplinary exposure that psychologists now face. At the same time, many sources report an increase in the number of complaints to licensing boards and professional ethics committees, where even a minor disciplinary sanction can seriously damage or even destroy a career. It is not uncommon for managed care to reject practitioners who have been sanctioned by any disciplinary body or have lost or agreed to non-nuisance settlements in a malpractice case.
Amanda Zelechoski, J.D., Ph.D., ABPP Joe Scroppo, Ph.D., J.D., and Daniel O. Taube, J.D., Ph.D. draw upon their extensive experience in law and clinical practice as well as consultations to psychologists in all aspects of professional practice to develop these nationally acclaimed risk management workshops, specifically designed for psychologists. In addition to reducing the risk of a successful malpractice action, these workshops will show practitioners how to cope with potential complaints to licensing boards and ethics committees, as well as how to respond to the increasing accountability requirements mandated by third party reimbursement sources.
The Trust and The Trust Practice and Risk Management Association (TrustPARMA) currently provide risk management workshops in eight sequences, each with core learning objectives as well as more specific issues and objectives related to the particular sequence. The workshops are often produced in conjunction with state psychological associations, state licensing boards, and other related organizations.
Workshops are designed to help you:
- Recognize the major elements of disciplinary complaints and malpractice suits;
- Identify situations that present the greatest risk to practitioners, both now and in the future;
- Implement a system of specific procedural strategies that will reduce the risk of malpractice actions and disciplinary complaints;
- Recognize essential information about laws governing therapeutic confidentiality and its exceptions;
- Implement an effective procedure of providing "informed consent" to clients, including a sample psychologist/patient contract; and,
- Determine how and when to consult with others to reduce the risk of malpractice.
The depth of suffering experienced by patients who seriously consider, attempt, or die by suicide is profound, as are the technical, personal, and ethical challenges clinicians face in the assessment and treatment of such patients. These challenges are also unavoidable for a good portion of psychologists, with almost a quarter losing a patient to suicide during the course of their careers. As a result, a substantial portion of risk management calls to The Trust’s Advocate 800 Program’s consultation service involves suicide, whether threatened or completed.
Further, advances in treatment approaches, and a historical lack of specific training at the graduate level, have prompted an increasing number of jurisdictions to mandate post-graduate training regarding suicidality. This workshop is intended to address clinical, ethical and risk management aspects of working with people who are suicidal, in addition to meeting the training requirements for a number of jurisdictions.* It will review basic risk management approaches, and relevant aspects of assessment, intervention and postvention. Time permitting, the course will also include a review of basic issues in addressing clinician involvement in end-of-life issues.
*This course will not fulfill requirements of all jurisdictions. It is important that potential participants review their respective state licensing board requirements prior to registering for this workshop.
- Identify four major risk factors for those patients who die by suicide;
- Name two suicide myths;
- Describe three aspects of assessment and intervention that can foster reduced risk;
- List three risk management strategies as they relate specifically to working with suicidal patients;
- Describe two aspects of a clinician’s roles in working with end-of-life issues (time permitting).