Ethical and Legal Issues in Digital Age Private Practice, 2016 Edition

Portland and Mt Hood

Our popular digital ethics program, updated for 2016

Portland, OR (Downtown). Live and in-person. Schedule is currently TBA.
6 CE Hours. All day. Small audience & intimate setting.
Important!: Attendance is limited to just 13 people per session!

An introductory level, 6-hour training for private practice mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and psychologists in clinical practice to navigate the “digital ethics” and legal pitfalls in modern practice management. We will discuss:

  • confidentiality and other HIPAA/ethics concerns in electronic communications
  • “Cloud”-based practice management and record-keeping as well as electronic health records (“EHR”)
  • The technology used in “skype therapy,” aka telehealth
  • Managing a website ethically and in compliance with HIPAA
  • Dealing with and using online reviews
  • Credit cards and mobile payments among other aspects of practice management

Man In Suit Raising Hands In the AirVery few things can keep up with the speed of tech, and mental health practice is definitely not one of them! Managing a practice in the modern era has significantly increased in complexity. We get a lot of messages about paperless offices, an increasing pressure to get our client records on “the cloud,” using websites to market ourselves, all in an array of advice and messages that leave us wondering what is ethical, legal and good for our clients and ourselves.

Updated for 2016!

In this training, we will explore these questions and more:

  • Is it possible for me to go “paperless” while keeping client confidentiality intact?
  • How are national professional organizations viewing email and texting in 2016? How does HIPAA view it?
  • Am I required to get an Electronic Health Record system for my practice? What do I do with one if I am?
  • What is the state of online therapy technology in 2016?
  • Can I safely use my website as a resource for clients?
  • My clients want me to take credit cards. Can I do that? Will I lose my shirt or violate HIPAA or ethics codes if I do?
  • How do I ethically deal with negative online reviews? Can I ethically use reviews to promote my practice?
  • Can I email or text my clients with scheduling and billing concerns without violating HIPAA?

Important Note: This is not likely a useful resource for learning about marketing or growing a private practice. While we will explore issues around practice promotion, they will be focused on how modern practice promotion raises ethical and legal concerns, what those concerns are, and what people typically do to manage them.

This program will be taught in a seminar format, and will focus on helping attendees to gain the knowledge and tools they currently need to proceed with what I call “conscientious courage” — an ability to proceed without fear due to having the knowledge and motivation necessary to proceed ethically and legally.

Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn to:

  • Maintain content on the practice’s website such that it consistently meets applicable ethical and legal requirements, and adheres to professional guidelines for the attendee’s own profession
  • Create procedures for using modern payment systems to collect payment from clients, including credit cards and online payments, that comply with HIPAA, PCI DSS, and the attendee’s professional ethics
  • Identify telemental health delivery tools that fit clinician and client technology needs and that comply with legal-ethical requirements surrounding the use of Internet-based communications.
  • Create procedures and office policies to use, or not use, email or texting with clients in a manner that is compliant with legal and ethical standards, including HIPAA
  • Respond to the posting of negative online reviews regarding the attendee’s practice without taking actions that violate the attendee’s professional ethics, most notably standards of confidentiality
  • Describe the federal Meaningful Use program and how it applies to members of the attendee’s profession, and use that understanding to make decisions regarding the form of electronic record keeping system to maintain in the practice


Roy Huggins, MS NCCThese seminars are presented by Roy Huggins, LPC NCC, a counselor in private practice who also directs Person-Centered Tech. Roy worked as a professional Web developer for 7 years before changing paths, and makes it his mission to grow clinicians’ understanding of the Internet and other electronic communications mediums for the future of our practices and our professions.

Roy is an adjunct instructor at the Portland State University Counseling program where he teaches Ethics, and is a member of the Zur Institute advisory board. He has acted as a subject matter expert on HIPAA, security and clinical use of technology for Counseling licensure boards and both state and national mental health professional organizations. He has co-authored or authored 2 book chapters, and he routinely consults with mental health colleagues on ethical and practical issues surrounding tech in clinical practice. He served for 5 years on the board of the Oregon Mental Health Counselors Association and then the Oregon Counseling Association as the Technology Committee Chair.

He really likes this stuff.

Vital Stats:

CE Hours: 6 NBCC-approved CE clock hours.
Total Time: The program will occur over the course of 7 hours, including a break for lunch.
Accommodations: Person-Centered Tech always strives to provide comfortable accommodations for all our attendees. We only use ADA-accessible venues and keep some seating clear to accommodate wheelchairs or special seating needs. If you have certain accommodation needs, please contact us before the event at [email protected], so we can plan accordingly.
Meals and Snacks: We always provide coffee, tea and water as well as other snacks during in-person live events. The exact menu will vary depending on venue. Lunch is the attendee’s responsibility, however.
Date: TBA
Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm
511 SW 10th Ave, Suite 605
Portland, OR 97205


Date TBA $120

Program Notices

Accuracy, Utility, and Risks Statement: The contents of this program are based primarily on publications from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, and on the ethics codes of these professional organizations: AAMFT, ACA, APA, NASW, NBCC. Contents are also guided by statements from leadership in those organizations. Some interpretation and analysis presented is made by the presenter, in consultation with knowledgeable colleagues and expert consultants. Statements about applications to technology are according to presenter’s understanding of the technology at the time of the program. The presenter may not know how to apply all principles discussed to every technology type or product. This program discusses strategies for complying with HIPAA and covered ethics codes, and for improving security. It may not include information on all applicable state laws. Misapplication of the materials, or errors in the materials, could result in security problems, data breaches, or non-compliance with applicable laws or ethics codes.

Conflicts of Interest: Program presenter has no known conflicts of interest.

Commercial Support: This program has no commercial support.

All events for this program will be subject to our cancellation/refund policy and complaint policy.

ACEP LogoPerson-Centered Tech, LLC has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6582. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Person-Centered Tech, LLC is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs. 

APA Approved Sponsor LogoPerson­Centered Tech, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Person­ Centered Tech, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


Scheduled Maintenance

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