The Affordable Care Act (2015) defines equality to both lower and upper classes in receiving mental health treatment through insurance programs, determining that all insured individuals have the right to access quality mental health services (NCSL, 2015). It is both a legislative and ethical guideline to provide clients with equal services, including offering a non- discriminatory environment. The author will provide equal opportunity based on cultural beliefs or disabilities, i.e. providing braille or oral explanation of informed consent agreements to individuals who are blind, and welcoming clients who have differing values or beliefs (Forester- Miller & Davis, 2016). The principle of fidelity should ensure that the client feels confident about the abilities or competency of the counselor. The author will provide a sense of trustworthiness and responsibility to the client by providing multiple outlets of treatment and availability. The author will actively treat and assess clients, determining when more sessions should be offered and required, as well as allowing an open-dialogue for availability by providing afterhours phone lines and at-home treatment options when the counselor is not available (i.e. tapping methods,
4 COUNSELOR ETHICS AND RESPONSIBILITIES meditation, suicide hotline phone numbers, etc.). The author will also ensure that the client completely understands the informed consent agreement. Along with a counselor’s responsibility to ethically provide treatment plan based on principles, it is their responsibility and a best practice for liability to create and present an informed consent agreement to each client. The ACA code of ethics states that each client has the right to decide if they want to receive services based on informed consent. Counselors have an obligation to review their informed consent agreement with the client both verbally and in writing (ACA, 2014, pg. 4) to ensure that the client agrees to continue the mental health services with the counselor. Confidentiality is defined as a “client’s right to privacy” (Corey, C., Corey, M., Corey, C., & Callanan, 2015, pg. 206). There are certain ethical and legal guidelines which require a counselor to breach confidentiality based on safety and legality. An informed consent should be created, which is within the sole discretion of the counselor, based on topics which they believe to be pertinent (Corey C., Corey, M., Corey, C., & Callanan, 2015, pg. 153). Some of the main components which should be included within the informed consent are billing, right to privacy, HIPAA compliance, and Board regulation compliance. A client has the right to understand, and the counselor to inform of billing information which may be disclosed to insurance companies if the client is paying for services through an insurance program. Insurance companies may require medical records which include diagnosis, test results, clinical information, treatment plans, and possibly a full clinical record of the client to ensure coverage for services being provided. A counselor should include within the consent form that certain services may not be covered by insurance companies, and the ramifications
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