Counselors have numerous professional, ethical, and legal obligations related to court-ordered requests for client records and/or other information. At times, the demands of the legal system may conflict with a counselor’s ethical obligation to maintain confidentiality of records. In particular, two federal statutes, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) have influenced the maintenance and release of counseling records. It is important for counselors to have a working knowledge of how to respond to court orders, the release of client records, or compelled testimony.
Additionally, counselors should operate under the assumption that at some point, a variety of interested parties, including colleagues, third-party payers, attorneys, courts, employers, schools, and the client, may obtain access to these records. Clinical case notes, administrative and bill records, appointment books, intake notes, digital notes, and memos reflect the various types of possible counseling records of interest to the parties mentioned above.
Note: Students with the last name A–M will answer Discussion A. Students with the last name N–Z will answer Discussion B
Discussion B: For this Discussion, review the ethical challenges related to court-ordered reporting of counseling records. Then, consider how to address each of these challenges.
Post by Day 3 a brief description of two ethical challenges related to record keeping and/or reporting when the legal system is involved. Specifically, one of these challenges must relate to adherence to court-ordered reporting of counseling records. Note which challenge and provide details. Then, explain how you would address each of these challenges. Be specific and reference the relevant ethical codes.