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Ethics and Assessing Disclosure of Information

Margie C. (Ms. C), a self-described lesbian mother of two, referred herself to the clinic for an evaluation to assess her capacity to parent in ways generally considered as those to positively impact healthy growth and development in children. The results of this evaluation are to be used in a child custody dispute with her soon to be ex-husband.

Test results indicated that Margie was above average intelligence with verbal and analytical skills more highly developed than perceptual motor and short-term memory. She was referred to as having "a strong sense of social expectations" and "good understanding of means end relationships." The therapist described Ms. C.'s personality as showing signs of anxiety, defensiveness, and of being "generally angry." When Ms. C, a nurse, cancelled her feedback appointment because she was called into work, the therapist called the court to provide verbal feedback of the assessment. Shortly thereafter, Mr. C. called the therapist wanting to know about the therapist's impressions of Ms. C. and to learn about her test results and findings. The therapist invited Mr. C. in and an appointment was offered so he could discuss these matters with the therapist.

QUESTION: Using the above vignette can you please help me with eliciting one ethical and one legal breach. What are the state/country laws for instance in New York or New Jersey and organizational standards that the psychologist has violated. In this how would multicultural competency and sensitivity to the client's culture, diversity population, and/or special needs would have changed the breaches detected? Thank you for any offered help.

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(1) What are state/country laws for instance in New York or New Jersey and organizational standards that the psychologist has violated?

Relative to the current case, the ethical issues that may have been violated include the sharing of information and confidentiality based on both state and federal mandates. For instance, HIPAA provides uniform privacy protections over patients' health information (PHI). This federal mandate includes measures against access to the sharing of both medical and financial records. Psychologists are required to obtain a patient's consent to using personal health information (PHI) to administer the transfer, treatment, payment and health care operations [e.g.. utilization review, auditing, ] (Beresoff, 2003). In addition, they must also indicate on the original consent form that the patient may revoke the consent in writing at any time.

According to Beresoff (2003), beyond consent, patients have a right to (a) inspect and copy PHI (not therapy notes); (b) request a change in their PHI if they feel it is incorrect; and (c) receive a listing of all disclosures of PHI for the past 6 years (p. 529. In addition, another issue could arise concerning information that is to be kept confidential (Standard 4.01), and the explanation of limits of confidentiality (Standard 4.02) of the information given to the therapist. Thus, the therapist must be responsible for protecting the rights and privacy of the client. For example, the legal ...

Solution Summary

This solution reviews the privacy and confidentiality laws of New York as applied to a specific case study regarding the disclosure of personal health information (PHI).

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