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RULE §781.204Relationships with Clients

(a) A social worker shall inform in writing a prospective client about the nature of the professional relationship, which can include but is not limited to office procedures, after-hours coverage, services provided, fees, and arrangements for payment.

(b) The social worker shall not give or receive a commission, rebate, or any other form of remuneration for referring clients. A licensee shall not intentionally or knowingly offer to pay or agree to accept any remuneration directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to or from any person, firm, association of persons, partnership, corporation, or entity for securing or soliciting clients or patronage for or from any health care professional. In accordance with the provisions of the Act, §505.451, a licensee is subject to disciplinary action if the licensee directly or indirectly offers to pay or agrees to accept remuneration to or from any person for securing or soliciting a client or patronage. Payment of credentialing or other fees to insurance companies or other third party payers to be part of an approved provider list shall not be considered as a violation of this chapter.

(c) A social worker shall not enter into a business relationship with a client. This rule does not prohibit a professional social work relationship with a client, as described in this subchapter.

(d) A social worker shall not engage in activities that seek to primarily meet the social worker's personal needs or personal gain instead of the needs of the client.

(e) A social worker shall be responsible for setting and maintaining professional boundaries.

(f) A social worker shall keep accurate records of services to include, but not be limited to, dates of services, types of services, progress or case notes and billing information for a minimum of five years for an adult client and five years beyond the age of 18 years of age for a minor, or in compliance with applicable laws or professional standards. If the foregoing provision conflicts with the standards, requirements, or procedures for records generated in the course and scope of rendering services as a social worker, either directly or indirectly, for an educational institution, or a federal, state, or local governmental entity or political subdivision, the foregoing provision does not apply.

(g) A social worker shall bill clients or third parties for only those services actually rendered or as agreed to by mutual written understanding.

(h) A licensee shall not make any false, misleading, deceptive, fraudulent or exaggerated claim or statement about the effectiveness of the licensee's services; the licensee's qualifications, capabilities, background, training, experience, education, professional affiliations, fees, products, or publications; the type, effectiveness, qualifications, and products or services offered by an organization or agency; or the practice or field of social work.

(i) If the licensee learns that false, misleading, deceptive, fraudulent or exaggerated statements about the services, qualifications, or products have been made, the licensee shall take all available steps to correct the inappropriate claims, prevent their reoccurrence, and report the incident to the board.

(j) A licensee shall provide social work intervention only in the context of a professional relationship.

(k) Electronic practice may be used judiciously as part of the social work process and the supervision process. Social workers engaging in electronic practice, providing services to clients located in the State of Texas, must be licensed in Texas and adhere to provisions of this chapter.

(l) The licensee shall not provide social work services or intervention to previous or current family members; personal friends; educational or business associates; or individuals whose welfare might be jeopardized by a dual or multiple relationship.

(m) The licensee shall not accept from or give to a client any gift with a value in excess of $25. If the licensee's employer prohibits giving or receiving gifts, the licensee shall comply with the employer's policy.

(n) The licensee or relatives to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of the licensee may not intentionally borrow or lend money or items of value to clients or relatives to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of clients.

(o) The licensee shall take reasonable precautions to protect individuals from physical or emotional harm resulting from interaction within individual and group settings.

(p) A licensee shall not promote the licensee's personal or business activities that are unrelated to the current professional relationship.

(q) A licensee shall set and maintain professional boundaries, avoiding dual or multiple relationships with clients. If a dual or multiple relationship develops, the social worker is responsible for ensuring the client is safe.

Source Note: The provisions of this §781.204 adopted to be effective January 27, 2011, 36 TexReg 242; amended to be effective March 28, 2013, 38 TexReg 1977; amended to be effective May 13, 2018, 43 TexReg 2780

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