“I Didn’t Know That!”
What They Did Not Teach you in Graduate School
This virtual program will provide an overview and discussion of state and federal laws, rules and regulations that govern the practice of a mental health professional in Texas. The presentation will discuss Texas-specific confidentiality statutes, the privacy regulations under the federal Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPAA), the recent consolidation of the mental health licensing boards into the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council, recent amendments to Texas Family Code, Chapter 107 regarding child custody evaluations in family law cases, mandatory reporting of abuse, neglect or sexual exploitation by mental health providers, what to do when you are ready to retire and close your practice, and general risk management for a mental health practice. There will be specific instruction on responding to requests for mental health records, including requests from clients and subpoenas, and appropriate testimony in court by a treating mental health professional who is subpoenaed to a hearing or deposition. The program will review legal requirements for documenting mental health services and highlight best practices for improving the quality of records. Finally, this program will review the most common sources for Board complaints against mental health professionals and provide practical strategies for protecting a professional’s license and livelihood. Attendees will gain an understanding of the laws and regulations that govern their practice, an understanding of common mistakes and specific strategies for managing the risk of a mental health practice.
Specific Learning Objectives:
1. Review Texas privacy statutes and recent amendments to the federal HIPAA privacy regulations and understand how these recent amendments impact a mental health practice and what actions are required to remain in compliance with state and federal law.
2. Understand the recent consolidation of the LPC, LMFT, Social Worker, and Psychology Board Rules into the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council with special emphasis on new procedures and changes that may be needed to ensure compliance with applicable Board/TBHEC rules.
3. Review basic requirements for documentation of mental health services as required by various Board rules and program requirements, and learn specific techniques to improve the quality of mental health records.
4. Review amendments to Chapter 107 of the Texas Family Code regarding social studies, and the expected impact of these amendments on mental health professionals who treat children, adults, and families involved in Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) and how these changes affect a mental health practitioner.
5. Discuss the appropriate scope of testimony for a mental health professional in a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) and common pitfalls in testimony that can result in liability or Board complaint cases.
6. Discuss the proper way to respond to requests for records or subpoenas for records.
7. Review mandatory reporting of suspected abuse or neglect of a child, elderly person or disabled person, or the suspected sexual exploitation by another mental health professional.
8. Review the areas of mental health practice that are most likely to lead to Board complaints and what steps can be taken to protect a professional license and avoid the conflicts that often lead to complaints.
9. Discuss the procedure for closing a mental health practice, and the importance of developing a plan for practice in case of death or disability.
10. Review the complaint, investigation and disciplinary process for mental health boards in Texas and time for questions from the audience.
Kenda Dalrymple is the Managing Partner of Dalrymple, Shellhorse, Ellis & Diamond,
L.L.P. – one of the first woman-owned law firms in Austin, Texas. She earned her B.A.
in Communications from Baylor University and her law degree from Baylor University
School of Law. She practices in the areas of administrative and health law, with an
emphasis on representing licensed professionals before their licensing boards and
advising them on matters related to their practices. She is married to her college
sweetheart, Bill Dalrymple, and they live in Cedar Park with their four poodles.