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Refusal to Provide Documentation

Scenario

“I am having a disagreement with management at my company and would like some guidance. I believe that stakeholders are entitled to their child’s treatment plan in order to know the goals that are working on and current progress. When I meet with them we discuss the goals and progress together, they sign a copy and keep a copy. My company is telling me that they need a release of information to gain access to their child’s treatment plan and even then I can only give them a summary.”

 

Committee Input (e.g., considerations for pathways forward, potential barriers, potential solutions):

The committee recommends that the reportee review, in accordance with Ethics Code 2.04, Disclosing Confidential Information. The Ethics Code statute states, Behavior Analysts may share confidential information when informed consent is obtained – confidential information may be released about the client and stakeholders, among others.  In this example, the ‘client’ represents The direct recipient of the behavior analyst’s services, while ‘stakeholder’ would represent the legal guardian of the client.  

If the stakeholder in question is the client’s legal guardian, they are entitled to a thorough description of the entire scope of treatment including but not limited to client assessment procedures, therapeutic interventions, ongoing data collected, results from progress monitoring and ongoing, detailed documentation of services provided (Codes 2.08, 2.09, 2.14, 3.11).  Failure to provide information in an accessible manner could be considered a breach of these ethical codes on the part of the practitioner as well as a direct violation of Arizona Revised Statute 32-2091 under 12s of unprofessional conduct wherein client records are required to be made available promptly when requested.

Considerations for exploration, 

  • the stakeholder is not the client’s legal guardian –  it may be required to obtain additional consents for sharing the information.  
  • The same is true if the client is their own legal guardian and has not consented to the sharing of their private medical information.  

Further, the committee acknowledges that any breach in the BACB Ethics Code is also reportable to the Arizona State Licensure Board.  The Committee would encourage the reportee to explore filing a complaint with the licensure board, against the party in the organization who is implementing the policy, if mediation using other more informal methods does not yield an improved result.  

 

Ethics Codes (specific standards that could apply to support/oppose):

  • 2.04, 2.08, 2.09, 2.14, 3.11
  • A.R.S. 32-2091 (12) S
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