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BOARD OF LICENSED SOCIAL WORKERS

 

DIVISION 30

CODE OF ETHICS FOR REGULATED SOCIAL WORKERS

877-030-0025

Applicability

The following rules in this division of rules provide a standard of ethics to be followed by regulated social workers and applicants for licensure or certification to practice as a regulated social worker.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 675.510 - 675.600 & 675.900
Stats. Implemented: ORS 675.595
Hist.: BCSW 1-2001, f. & cert. ef. 5-4-01; BLSW 3-2010, f. 12-15-10, cert. ef. 1-1-11; BLSW 1-2012, f. 12-14-12, cert. ef. 1-1-13

877-030-0030

Ethical Responsibility

Regulated social workers' ethical responsibilities to their clients begin when the client-provider professional relationship is entered into by the regulated social worker and the client and remain in effect until the relationship is terminated by either party, except as provided in OAR 877-030-0070.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 675.510 - 675.600 & 675.900
Stats. Implemented: ORS 675.595
Hist.: BCSW 2-1993, f. & cert. ef. 10-13-93; BCSW 1-1994, f. & cert. ef. 2-17-94; BCSW 1-2001, f. & cert. ef. 5-4-01; BLSW 3-2010, f. 12-15-10, cert. ef. 1-1-11

877-030-0040

Conduct and Reporting Requirements of Regulated Social Workers

(1) Conduct: The following minimum standards of professional conduct apply to regulated social workers:

(a) Private conduct of regulated social workers is a personal matter to the same extent as with any other person, except when that conduct compromises the fulfillment of professional responsibilities.

(b) Regulated social workers may not participate in, condone, or be associated with dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

(c) Regulated social workers may not misrepresent their professional qualifications, education, experience, or affiliations.

(2) Reporting Requirements:

(a) Regulated social workers must report to the Board as soon as practicable, but not later than 10 days after:

(A) Being convicted of a misdemeanor or felony;

(B) Being arrested for a felony crime;

(C) Receiving notice of a civil lawsuit that names the regulated social worker as a defendant and makes allegations related to the regulated social worker’s practice of clinical social work or the regulated social worker’s license or certificate;

(D) Becoming an in-patient in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric day treatment facility; or

(E) Receiving notice of a regulatory action related to the regulated social worker’s license or certificate.

(b) Regulated social workers must report child and elderly abuse as required by ORS 419B.005 to 419B.050 and 124.050 to 124.095.

(c) Unless state or federal laws relating to confidentiality or the protection of health information prohibit disclosure, a regulated social worker is required to report to the board any information the regulated social worker has that appears to show that a regulated social worker is or may be an impaired professional or may have engaged in unprofessional conduct according to the guidelines of the code of ethics, to the extent that disclosure does not conflict with the requirements of ORS 675.580. A regulated social worker is an impaired professional if the regulated social worker is unable to practice with professional skill and safety by reason of habitual or excessive use or abuse of drugs, alcohol or other substances that impair ability or by reason of a mental health disorder.

(d) Unless state or federal laws relating to confidentiality or the protection of health information prohibit disclosure, a regulated social worker licensee who has reasonable cause to believe that a licensee has engaged in prohibited or unprofessional conduct is required to report the conduct to the board responsible for the licensee who is believed to have engaged in the conduct. The reporting regulated social worker must report the conduct without undue delay, but in no event later than 10 working days after the reporting regulated social worker learns of the conduct. In this section:

(A) “Licensee” means a health professional licensed or certified by or registered with a board.

(B) “Board” has the meaning given that term in ORS 676.150.

(C) “Prohibited conduct” means conduct by a licensee that:

(i) Constitutes a criminal act against a patient or client; or

(ii) Constitutes a criminal act that creates a risk of harm to a patient or client.

(D) “Unprofessional conduct” means conduct unbecoming a licensee or detrimental to the best interests of the public, including conduct contrary to recognized standards of ethics of the licensee's profession or conduct that endangers the health, safety or welfare of a patient or client.

(3) Administrative Reporting Requirements: Regulated Social Workers must notify the Board as soon as practicable, but no later than 30 days, after changes in the regulated social workers name of record, address of record, and employer of record, including changes in the mailing address of the employer of record, as defined in OAR 877-001-0009.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 675.510 - 675.600 & 675.900
Stats. Implemented: ORS 675.595
Hist.: BCSW 2-1993, f. & cert. ef. 10-13-93; BCSW 1-2001, f. & cert. ef. 5-4-01; BCSW 2-2005, f. & cert. ef. 12-22-05; BCSW 1-2008, f. 6-27-08, cert. ef. 7-1-08; BLSW 1-2010, f. & cert. ef. 1-15-10; BLSW 2-2010(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 7-1-10 thru 12-28-10; BLSW 3-2010, f. 12-15-10, cert. ef. 1-1-11; BLSW 1-2012, f. 12-14-12, cert. ef. 1-1-13

877-030-0070

Ethical Responsibility to Clients

A regulated social worker's primary responsibility is to clients. Regulated social workers must serve clients with professional skill and competence including but not limited to the following:

(1) Dual Relationship:

(a) Regulated social workers must not violate their position of power, trust, and dependence;

(b) Regulated social workers may not enter into a relationship with a client that conflicts with the ability of the client to benefit from social work practice;

(c) Regulated social workers may not enter into a relationship with a client that may impair the regulated social worker's professional judgment or increase the risk of exploitation of the client;

(d) Regulated social workers may not enter into a relationship with a client that increases the risk of exploitation for the client for the regulated social worker's advantage;

(e) Regulated social workers may not provide professional social-work services to an employee, supervisee, close colleague, or relative, or to any other person if there is a risk that providing the service would impair the regulated social worker's judgment or increase risk of client exploitation.

(f) Regulated social workers may not enter into an employer, supervisor, or any other relationship if there is a potential for exercising undue influence on a client. This includes the sale of services or goods in a manner that might exploit a client for the financial gain or personal gratification of the regulated social worker or a third party, or if there is a risk that such a relationship would be likely to impair the regulated social worker's judgment and increase the risk of client exploitation. This applies both to current clients and to those to whom the regulated social worker has, at any time in the previous year, rendered services as a regulated social worker.

(g) Regulated social workers may not, under any circumstances, engage in or solicit sexual acts or engage in any conduct, verbal behavior or other communication with or towards a client that may reasonably be interpreted as sexual, seductive or sexually demeaning. This prohibition applies to current clients and to clients to whom the regulated social worker has at anytime within the previous three years provided social work services. The client's consent to, initiation of, or participation in, sexual behavior with the regulated social worker does not change the prohibited nature of the conduct.

(2) Regulated social workers must provide services with professional skill, cultural awareness, and language competency with respect to each client's needs.

(3) Regulated social workers may not provide inappropriate or unnecessary professional services to clients.

(4) Regulated social workers must provide clients with accurate and complete information regarding the extent and nature of services available. This includes the risks, rights, opportunities, and obligations associated with the provision of professional services to the client.

(5) Regulated social workers must seek consultation or make referrals whenever it may improve the provision of social-work services and is in the best interest of the client.

(6) Regulated social workers may not attempt to provide professional social-work services to clients outside their area of competence, training, and qualifications.

(7) Regulated social workers must terminate professional social-work services to clients when the services are no longer required or no longer serve the client's needs or interests.

(8) Regulated social workers may withdraw professional social-work services precipitously only under unusual circumstances, giving careful consideration to all factors in the situation and taking care to minimize possible adverse effect. Regulated social workers in fee-for-service settings may terminate services to clients who are not paying an overdue balance if the client does not pose an imminent danger to self or others; if the financial arrangements have been made clear to the client; and if the clinical and other consequences of nonpayment have been addressed and discussed with the client.

(9) Regulated social workers who anticipate the termination or interruption of service to clients must notify those clients promptly and provide for transfer, referral, or continuation of service in relation to the client's needs and preferences.

(10) Regulated social workers may not violate the legal rights of their clients.

(11) When a regulated social worker must act on behalf of a client who has been adjudged legally incompetent, the regulated social worker must safeguard the interests and rights of that client.

(12) When another individual is legally authorized to act on behalf of a client, regulated social workers may conduct business with that person, always keeping the client's best interests in mind.

(13) Except as permitted in ORS 675.580 and ORS 40.250, regulated social workers must respect the privacy of clients and hold in confidence information obtained in the course of professional contact between client and the regulated social worker.

(14) Information received by a regulated social worker from a potential client at the point of initial contact must be treated with the same respect for privacy as that of information received from a client.

(15) Regulated social workers must inform clients fully about the limits of confidentiality requirements.

(16) Access to records:

(a) Regulated social workers must provide clients reasonable access to records concerning them and should take due care to protect the confidences of others contained in those records. Client access to their own records should be restricted only in exceptional circumstances when there is compelling evidence that access would cause harm to the client. Regulated social workers who are concerned that client access to their own records could cause serious misunderstanding or harm to the client should assist the client in interpreting the records. Both the client's request and the rationale for withholding some or all of the record should be documented by the regulated social worker in the case file.

(b) The provisions of sub-section (a) of this section do not apply in the case of a request for a public record.

(c) The provisions of sub-section (a) of this section do not apply in the case of regulated social worker who practices within an agency.

(17) Regulated social workers must obtain informed consent from clients before taping, recording, or permitting third party observation of their activities.

(18) Regulated social workers, when making reports, must obtain a release of confidentiality and shall avoid undue invasion of privacy by only presenting patient data pertinent to the purpose of the report.

(19) Fees. Regulated social workers in fee-for-service settings may charge reasonable fees and must inform clients of the fee arrangement before providing services.

(20) Regulated social workers may not solicit the clients of colleagues.

(21) Regulated social workers may not solicit clients from their employer for private practice.

(22) Regulated social workers may not assume professional responsibility for the clients of another agency or colleague without appropriate communication with that agency or colleague.

(23) Regulated social workers must relate to the clients of colleagues with full professional consideration.

(24) A regulated social worker who serves the clients of colleagues, during a temporary absence or emergency, must serve those clients with the same professional competence as to his or her own.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 675.510 - 675.600 & 675.900
Stats. Implemented: ORS 675.510 - 675.600 & 675.900
Hist.: BCSW 2-1993, f. & cert. ef. 10-13-93; BCSW 1-1994, f. & cert. ef. 2-17-94; BCSW 1-1997, f. & cert. ef. 3-25-97; BCSW 1-2001, f. & cert. ef. 5-4-01; BCSW 2-2005, f. & cert. ef. 12-22-05; BLSW 3-2010, f. 12-15-10, cert. ef. 1-1-11

877-030-0080

Administrators, Supervisors, and Teachers of Clinical Practice

(1) A regulated social worker serving as an administrator, supervisor, or teacher must promote conditions that foster and support ethical and competent professional performance.

(2) Clinical social workers in the role of administrator, supervisor, or teacher may not, under any circumstances, engage in a sexual relationship with a supervisee or student.

(3) Clinical social workers in the role of administrator, supervisor, or teacher may not enter into a therapeutic relationship with any employee, supervisee, or student.

(4) Clinical social workers in the role of administrator, supervisor, or teacher must explicitly define the conditions of their professional relationship to their supervisees or students.

(5) Clinical social workers as an employer, or in the role of administrator, supervisor, or teacher, must support and emphasize the need for formulation, development, enactment, and implementation of policies and agency rules which provide for safeguarding the rights of clients.

(6) Clinical social workers as employer, or in the role of administrator, supervisor, or teacher, bear the ethical responsibility for persons practicing under their direct supervision who are not regulated by professional registration, certification, or license.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 675.510 - 675.600 & 675.900
Stats. Implemented: ORS 675.510 - 675.600 & 675.900
Hist.: BCSW 1-1982, f. & ef. 1-29-82; BCSW 1-1986, f. & ef. 7-7-86; BCSW 2-1991, f. & cert. ef. 5-30-91; BCSW 2-1993, f. & cert. ef. 10-13-93; Renumbered from 877-030-0015; BCSW 1-1994, f. & cert. ef. 2-17-94; BCSW 1-1997, f. & cert. ef. 3-25-97; BCSW 1-2001, f. & cert. ef. 5-4-01; BLSW 3-2010, f. 12-15-10, cert. ef. 1-1-11

877-030-0090

General Provisions Governing Conduct

(1) A regulated social worker must cooperate with the Board, its investigators, and its committees in investigations made under OAR Chapter 877.

(2) A regulated social worker must fully comply with a final order issued to the regulated social worker by the Board.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 675.510 - 675.600 & 675.900
Stats. Implemented: ORS 675.595
Hist.: BCSW 2-1993, f. & cert. ef. 10-13-93; BCSW 1-2001, f. & cert. ef. 5-4-01; BCSW 2-2005, f. & cert. ef. 12-22-05; BLSW 3-2010, f. 12-15-10, cert. ef. 1-1-11

877-030-0100

Retention of Client Records; Disposition of Client Records in Case of Death or Incapacity of Licensee

(1) In this rule, “client record” means information maintained in a written or electronic form regarding treatment or billing of a client.

(2) A regulated social worker who serves clients outside of an agency setting must ensure that a client record is maintained for each such client and that all client records are legible and are kept in a secure, safe, and retrievable condition. At a minimum, a client record must include an assessment of the client, a treatment or intervention plan, and progress notes of therapy sessions, all of which should be recorded concurrently with the services provided.

(3) Retention of records. A regulated social worker must retain a client record for seven years from the date of the last session with the client.

(4) A regulated social worker in private practice must make necessary arrangements for the maintenance of and access to client records that ensure the clients’ right to confidentiality in the event of the death or incapacity of the licensee. In regard to this requirement:

(a) The regulated social worker must name a qualified person or appropriately qualified records management company to intercede for client welfare and to make necessary referrals, when appropriate.

(b) The regulated social worker must keep the board informed of the name of the qualified person or records management company.

(c) The board will not release the name of the qualified person or records management company except in the following cases:

(A) The death or incapacity of the regulated social worker

(B) A client is unable to locate the regulated social worker.

(5) To be a qualified person under this rule a person must be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker or other licensed mental health professional licensed under Oregon law or a certified alcohol and drug abuse counselor.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 675.510 - 675.600 & 675.900
Stats. Implemented: ORS 675.595
Hist.: BCSW 2-2005, f. & cert. ef. 12-22-05; BCSW 1-2009, f. 6-15-09, cert. ef. 7-1-09; BLSW 3-2010, f. 12-15-10, cert. ef. 1-1-11

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