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I was impressed by Joseph McMenamin, MD, JD, when he presented last week at APA on the laws related to providing therapy online. Like, one therapist asked, “What if I’m providing therapy to someone who lives in a neighboring state?” I thought, geez, obvious, you have to follow the laws of that state (and probably be licensed in that state). No. In fact, you might have to follow the laws of BOTH states, your state and your client’s state. This attorney was recommending that you include in your paperwork an attestation from the client that s/he does, in fact, live in the state they say.

Also, there are some regulations proposed in California which will include direct liability for the therapist if a business associate discloses client information. More to worry about, but I’m not clear what’s to be done except to be extra careful in picking those associates (like bookkeepers, for example), and get them to sign statements of responsibility.

Some interesting arcana, for example if the security of your records is breached, you’re required to contact all your clients AND TAKE OUT AN AD in a newspaper announcing it has happened. There’s an encouragement for psychotherapy notes security. Interesting, too, to hear that there have only been six cases of malpractice nation-wide related to breach of confidentiality, and all six have settled with a clause forbidding the parties from disclosing the settlement terms.

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