Presentation on theme: "The Complaints Director wrote a letter to the complainant (Ted) dismissing the complaint with no reasons provided and the complainant has now appealed."— Presentation transcript:
The Complaints Director wrote a letter to the complainant (Ted) dismissing the complaint with no reasons provided and the complainant has now appealed the decision to (us) the Complaint Review Committee (CRC)
Within 60 days after receipt of the report against the psychologist under subsection (2) of the HPA, the complaint review committee would commence a review of the report and the decision to dismiss the complaint. Step 1
(a)refer the matter to the hearings director for a hearing, (b) direct the complaints director to conduct or appoint an investigator to conduct a further investigation and to prepare a report on the further investigation and submit it to the complaint review committee for its consideration before acting under clause (a) or (c), or (c) confirm that the complaint is dismissed if in the opinion of the complaint review committee (i) the complaint is trivial or vexatious, or (ii) there is insufficient or no evidence of unprofessional conduct. Step 2
One CRC Option
can interview witnesses and request all documentation (by court order if necessary) would require identification of the individuals and groups potentially affected by the decision they do not resolve or mediate but provide an objective report to the Hearing Director Another CRC Option
the hearing director reviews all relevant documentation and reports and will identify all ethically relevant issues and practices (Review of the Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice and Legislation relevant to the investigation). provides written documentation of any decisions and actions to complainant and psychologist along with reasons for such actions. Another CRC Option
If complainant or psychologist disagree with the decision of the hearing director (they have 30 days to appeal the decision) it goes to a hearing tribunal who will render the final decision. Step 3 Hearing tribunal will determine if the conduct occurred and additionally determines whether the conduct does in fact constitute “unprofessional conduct”
dismiss the complaint against the psychologist or issue a penalty, orders/sanctions and They will provide a copy of all factual findings and decisions and reasons for decisions in writing to the complainant and psychologist. Step 4
1.She disclosed private information about Ted’s past to his daughter. 2.She was verbally abusive and called him a “control freak”. 3.She physically shoved him out of her office. 4.She refused to provide a copy of the notes when requested.
I. Respect for the Dignity of Persons II. Responsible CaringIII. Integrity of Relationship I.3 use respectful language in all written and oral communication II.1 Protect the welfare of clients III.11 be clear in communications, distinguish fact from opinion I.9 Obtain informed consent from all II.5 Ensure psychological knowledge is not used to harm others III.14 Be clear about informed consent and get signatures I.21 used signed consent forms that specify the dimensions of consent II.19 Create and maintain records III.16 Fully explain reasons for actions I.44 clarify the boundaries of consent especially with families or groups II.21 Strive to provide the best possible services III.36 Abide by the rules of the profession unless they can cause harm I.45 Share confidential information only with informed consent of those involved II.30 Be discrete in record keeping: avoid conjecture and labeling
Spoke about informed consent (I.9) Kept records for each session (II.19) Acted to protect and promote the welfare of clients (II.1) Was available and accessible to the family when they needed her (II.21) Acted to protect herself and clients from harm when Ted became aggressive (II.1)
Be clear about the limits of informed consent (I.45) Have signed consent indicating that all parties understand the limits of confidentiality (I.21) Keep adequate and appropriate records (II.30) Avoid using labeling terms that could be misunderstood (III.11) Refused to provide records to Ted (III.16) Did not respond to Ted’s written request (III.16)
Legislation In Alberta, the profession of psychology is regulated in pursuant with Alberta’s Health Professions Act (HPA) and the Psychologists Profession Regulation. The HPA and Regulation are the primary legislation that applies to all members of the College of Alberta Psychologists. The legislation establishes the provisions relating to the discipline process.
Legislation HPA Complaint Process Person makes a complaint to the Complaints Director Complaints Director Investigator, Action or Dismissal Complaint Review Committee Investigator, Dismissal or Referral Hearings Director Sets Hearing Tribunal Date Hearing Tribunal Witnesses, Dismissal or Action
Legislation “unprofessional conduct” is broadly defined in the HPA, and includes: Displaying a lack of knowledge of or a lack of skill or judgment in the provision of professional services Violation of this Act, a code of ethics, or standards of practice; and Conduct that harms the integrity of the profession
Legislation Under the HPA, a psychologist may be found guilty of unskilled practice for a number of reasons, including where the psychologist has breached the Code of Ethics. Although a psychologist who breaches the Code of Ethics may be found guilty of unskilled practice, the Code itself acknowledges that possibility of differences of opinion in some areas, such as the ethical decision-making process. A psychologist who is the subject of a disciplinary proceeding may be asked to explain to what extent he or she considered the principles set out in the Code when faced with an ethical issue.
Legislation The HPA authorizes the Council to adopt Standards of Practice for the profession. Under the HPA, a breach of the Standards of Practice may constitute unprofessional conduct. The Standards of Practice differ from the Code of Ethics in that the Standards are more definitive in nature. The rules established in the Standards of Practice are often utilized in disciplinary hearings as a standard against which to judge a psychologist’s conduct, and violations of any of the individual rules may be the basis for a finding of unprofessional conduct.
Standards of Practice The HPA authorizes the Council to adopt Standards of Practice for the profession. Under the HPA, a breach of the Standard of Practice may constitute unprofessional conduct. The Standards of Practice differ from the Code of Ethics in that the Standards are more definitive in nature. The rules established in the Standards of Practice are often utilized in disciplinary hearings as a standard against which to judge a psychologist’s conduct, and violations of any of the individual rules may be the basis for a finding of unprofessional conduct.
Informed Consent 2(1) Psychologists shall obtain the informed consent of all persons who are competent to give such consent for psychological services provided to them except in circumstances of urgent need (e.g., disaster or other crisis). In urgent circumstances, psychologists may proceed in accordance with the expressed preferences of such persons, and obtain informed consent as soon as possible.
Informed Consent 2(3) Psychologists shall provide, in obtaining informed consent, such information as a reasonable person would want to know to make a decision to consent to the service. The psychologist must relay this information in language that the persons understand (including providing translation into another language, if necessary) and will take whatever reasonable steps are needed to ensure that the information is understood
Informed Consent 2(6) Psychologists shall document the discussion held with their clients and whether informed consent was obtained.
Multiple Clients 21 When professional services are rendered to more than one client during a joint session (for example, to a family, a couple, a parent and child or a group), psychologists shall at the beginning of the professional relationship clarify for all parties the manner in which confidentiality will be handled and all parties must be given an opportunity to discuss and accept whatever limitations to confidentiality apply.
Release of Information to Client 27 (1) When a Psychologist has control of a client's file, he/she shall provide access to, and shall, within 30 days of a request, permit the reproduction and release of confidential information about a client to the client unless there is a significant likelihood that disclosure of the information would cause (a) a substantial adverse effect on the client’s physical, mental or emotional health, or (b) harm to a third party.
Where files contain information about several persons obtained in the context of a professional relationship (for example, in couples or family therapy), the psychologist must secure the consent of all such persons before releasing the information. Psychologists may release file information without the consent of the third parties in this circumstance if it is possible to obscure information about third parties identified in the file or sever third party information from the file. Professional Guidelines for Psychologists Release of Confidential Information:Special Issues in Client and Third Party Requests Adopted by CAP 1998 Revised November 2001 Revised May 2002 Revised September 2005 Professional Guidelines for Psychologists
What to do? CRC Options Dismissal Appoint an Investigator Refer to the Hearings Director for a Hearing
To dismiss or not to dismiss…
Possible Outcomes of the Hearing Tribunal Recommend the psychologist practice under increased supervision for a specified time Recommend the psychologist practice with one or more other regulated members Suspend the practice permit of the psychologist Dismiss the complaint
What We Predict…
If No Additional Evidence is Found… Complaints Dr. Meyer was physically abusive Dr. Meyer was verbally abusive Dr. Meyer refused to release her notes will be dismissed on grounds that the complaints: Are trivial and vexatious in nature Yield insufficient evidence of professional misconduct
If No Additional Evidence is Found… Complaint regarding confidentiality will be addressed with a cautionary letter citing: Alberta College of Psychologists Standard 2(6): Psychologists shall document the discussion held with their clients and whether informed consent was obtained CPA Code I.21 Establish and use signed consent forms that specify the dimensions of informed consent or that acknowledge that such dimensions have been explained and are understood, if such forms are required by law or if such forms are desired by the psychologist, the person(s) giving consent, or the organization for whom the psychologist works.
Included in the Letter… Psychologist will receive a written reminder of her obligation to use discretion in written notes (as per standard II.30) Psychologist may be required to attend professional development workshops
Included in Letter to Ted: Dismissal of first three complaints citing vexatious nature and insufficient evidence of an ethical breach Acknowledgement of a possible nondisclosure of informed group confidentiality, and assure him she will be advised to change this practice
The Bigger Picture
From the CPA Code: In determining corrective action for an individual psychologist, one of the judgments the adjudicating body needs to make is whether an individual conscientiously engaged in an ethical decision- making process and acted in good faith, or whether there was a negligent or willful disregard of ethical principles. (Preamble) If the psychologist can demonstrate that every reasonable effort was made to apply the ethical principles of this Code and resolution of the conflict has had to depend on the personal conscience of the psychologist, such a psychologist would be deemed to have followed this Code. (Preamble)
References Alberta Heath and Wellness (2002). Health professions act: A new law for regulated health care professionals. Edmonton: Author. Canadian Psychological Association. (2000). Canadian code of ethics for psychologists (3 rd ed.). Professional Guidelines for Psychologists Release of Confidential Information:Special Issues in Client and Third Party Requests Adopted by CAP 1998 Revised November 2001 Revised May 2002 Revised September 2005 College of Alberta Psychologist (2005). Professional guidelines for psychologists: The status of regulatory documents in the regulation of the psychology profession in Alberta. Edmonton: Author. Province of Alberta (2000). Health professions act. Edmonton: Author.