A message from NASW in regard to The NYS Safe Act and social worker responsiblity:
Open Ice – Social workers across the state have registered a number of concerns with the Chapter in relation to the recently passed gun control legislation that names LCSW’s as one of four professions expected to report the exhibition or expression of potentially harmful behavior. Primary among such noted concerns is the potential impact on patient confidentiality given that the client-therapist relationship is one rooted in trust; fear of information disclosure generated by the new reporting requirements could actually serve as a deterrent to clients sharing of information or even accessing treatment.
In addition, members are reporting concerns specific to the reporting requirements in that the threshold prompting such a report is much lower than currently exists in mental hygiene laws pertaining to reporting of this nature. The SAFE Act mandates named mental health providers to report if a client is “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others” as opposed to if a client is “deemed to present a serious and imminent danger to self or others.” “Likely to engage” is not only highly subjective and interpretive but may in fact fly in the face of current standards for permissible disclosure outlined in HIPPA regulations, leading to liability concerns. Given these issues, NASW-NYS is working with our national insurance provider to assess liability issues as well as collaboration with peer organizations to seek clarifying amendments. Gov. Cuomo told reporters Wednesday that he hasn’t had any conversations about amending the bill thus far but noted…“I’ve said I’m open to a chapter amendment on this bill.”
NASW-NYS Political Post
February 22, 2013
Karin Moran, MSW
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