Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 18. Professional and Occupational Licensing
Agency 115. Board of Counseling
Chapter 30. Regulations Governing the Certification of Substance Abuse Counselors and Substance Abuse Counseling Assistants

18VAC115-30-140. Standards of Practice.

Part V
Standards of Practice; Disciplinary Actions; Reinstatement

A. The protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and the best interest of the public shall be the primary guide in determining the appropriate professional conduct of all persons whose activities are regulated by the board.

B. Persons certified by the board shall:

1. Practice in a manner that is in the best interest of the public and does not endanger the public health, safety, or welfare.

2. Be able to justify all services rendered to clients as necessary for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

3. Practice only within the competency area for which they are qualified by training or experience.

4. Report to the board known or suspected violations of the laws and regulations governing the practice of certified substance abuse counselors or certified substance abuse counseling assistants.

5. Neither accept nor give commissions, rebates, or other forms of remuneration for referral of clients for professional services.

6. Disclose counseling records to others only in accordance with the requirements of state and federal statutes and regulations, including, but not limited to §§ 32.1-127.1:03 (Patient Health Records Privacy Act), 2.2-3704 (Virginia Freedom of Information Act), and 54.1-2400.1 (Mental Health Service Providers; Duty to Protect Third Parties; Immunity) of the Code of Virginia; 42 USC § 290dd-2 (Confidentiality of Drug and Alcohol Treatment Records); and 42 CFR Part 2 (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records and Regulations).

7. Not engage in dual relationships with clients, former clients, supervisees and supervisors that are harmful to the client's or supervisee's well being, or which would impair the substance abuse counselor's, substance abuse counseling assistant's or supervisor's objectivity and professional judgment, or increase the risk of client or supervisee exploitation. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, such activities as counseling close friends, former sexual partners, employees or relatives; or engaging in business relationships with clients.

Engaging in sexual intimacies with current clients or supervisees is strictly prohibited. For at least five years after cessation or termination of professional services, certified substance abuse counselors and certified substance abuse counseling assistants shall not engage in sexual intimacies with a client or those included in collateral therapeutic services. Since sexual or romantic relationships are potentially exploitative, certified substance abuse counselors and certified substance abuse counseling assistants shall bear the burden of demonstrating that there has been no exploitation. A client's consent to, initiation of or participation in sexual behavior or involvement with a certified substance abuse counselor or certified substance abuse counseling assistants does not change the nature of the conduct nor lift the regulatory prohibition.

8. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of obligations, responsibilities and loyalties to third parties.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-3505 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-03 § 5.1, eff. May 8, 1991; amended, Volume 10, Issue 14, eff. May 4, 1994; Volume 16, Issue 07, eff. January 19, 2000; Volume 19, Issue 01, eff. October 23, 2002; Volume 19, Issue 18, eff. June 18, 2003.

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