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RULE §140.423Professional and Ethical Standards for all License Holders

(a) A licensee shall not discriminate against any client or other person on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or economic condition.

(b) A licensee shall maintain objectivity, integrity, and the highest standards in providing services to the client.

(c) A licensee shall:

  (1) in addition to complying with any other applicable reporting requirements, promptly report to the department any suspected, alleged, or substantiated incidents of abuse, neglect, or exploitation committed by oneself or another licensee under this subchapter;

  (2) unless otherwise prohibited by law, promptly report to the department violations of Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 504 (relating to Chemical Dependency Counselors), or rules adopted under the Act, including violations of this subchapter by oneself or another licensee;

  (3) recognize the limitations of the licensee's ability and shall not offer services outside the licensee's scope of practice or licensure or use techniques that exceed the person's license authorization or professional competence; and

  (4) make every effort to prevent the practice of chemical dependency counseling by unqualified or unauthorized persons.

(d) A licensee shall not engage in the practice of chemical dependency counseling if impaired by, intoxicated by, or under the influence of chemicals, including alcohol.

(e) A licensee shall uphold the law and refrain from unprofessional and unethical conduct. In so doing, the licensee shall:

  (1) comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and orders;

  (2) not make any claim, directly or by implication, that the person possesses professional qualifications, licensure, or affiliations that the person does not possess;

  (3) include, as applicable, their current credentials when signing all professional documents;

  (4) not mislead or deceive the public or any person; and

  (5) refrain from any act that might tend to discredit the license or profession.

(f) A licensee shall:

  (1) report information fairly, professionally, and accurately to clients, other professionals, the department, and the general public;

  (2) maintain complete, accurate, and appropriate documentation of services provided;

  (3) not submit or cause or allow to be submitted to a client or third party payer a bill for services that were not provided or were improper, unreasonable, or medically or clinically unnecessary, with the exception of a missed appointment for which notice has been given that a charge will be assessed, and as permitted by law concerning third party billing; and

  (4) provide responsible and objective training and supervision to interns and subordinates under the LCDC, CCS, or CTI's supervision. This includes properly documenting supervision and work experience and providing supervisory documentation needed for licensure.

(g) In any publication, a licensee shall give written credit to all persons or works that have contributed to or directly influenced the publication.

(h) Licensees shall respect a client's dignity, and shall not engage in, or permit their employees or supervisees to engage in, any action that may injure the welfare of any client or person to whom the licensee is providing services. The licensee shall:

  (1) make every effort to provide access to treatment, including advising clients about resources and services, taking into account the financial constraints of the client;

  (2) remain loyal and professionally responsible to the client at all times, disclose the counselor's ethical code of standards, and inform the client of the counselor's loyalties and responsibilities;

  (3) not engage in any activity that could be considered a professional conflict, and shall immediately remove oneself from such a conflict if one occurs;

  (4) terminate any professional relationship or counseling services that are not beneficial, or are in any way detrimental to the client;

  (5) always act in the best interest of the client;

  (6) not abuse, neglect, or exploit a client;

  (7) not engage in a sexual, personal, or business relationship with a client or a member of the client's immediate family (including any client receiving services from the licensee's employer) for at least two years after the client's services end;

  (8) not request a client to divulge confidential information that is not necessary and appropriate for the services being provided;

  (9) not offer or provide chemical dependency counseling, supervision, or related services, nor meet with a client, in settings or locations which are inappropriate, harmful to the client or others, or which would tend to discredit the profession of chemical dependency counseling; and

  (10) refrain from using any method or engaging in any conduct that could be considered coercive or degrading to the client or another, including, without limitation, threats, negative labeling, or attempts to provoke shame or humiliation.

(i) A licensee shall protect the privacy of all clients and shall not disclose confidential information without express written consent, except as permitted by law. The licensee shall remain knowledgeable of and obey all state and federal laws and regulations relating to confidentiality of chemical dependency treatment records, and shall:

  (1) inform the client, and obtain the client's consent, before tape-recording the client or allowing another person to observe or monitor the client;

  (2) ensure the security of client records;

  (3) not discuss or divulge information obtained in clinical or consulting relationships except in appropriate settings and for professional purposes which clearly relate to the case, to the extent authorized by law;

  (4) avoid invasion of the privacy of the client;

  (5) provide the client his/her rights regarding confidentiality, in writing, as part of informing the client in any areas likely to affect the client's confidentiality; and

  (6) ensure the data requested from other parties is limited to information that is necessary and appropriate to the services being provided and is accessible only to appropriate parties.

(j) A licensee shall inform the client about all relevant and important aspects of the professional relationship between the client and the licensee, and shall:

  (1) in the case of clients who are not their own consenters, inform the client's parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of circumstances that might influence the professional relationship;

  (2) not enter into a professional relationship with members of the counselor's family, close friends or associates, or others whose welfare might be jeopardized in any way by such relationship;

  (3) not establish a personal relationship with any client (including any individual receiving services from the licensee's employer) for at least two years after the client's services end;

  (4) neither engage in any type or form of romantic or sexual behavior with a client (including any individual receiving services from the licensee's employer) for at least two years after the client's services end nor accept as a client anyone with whom they have engaged in romantic or sexual behavior; and

  (5) not exploit relationships with clients for personal gain.

(k) A licensee shall treat other professionals with respect, courtesy, and fairness, and shall:

  (1) refrain from providing or offering professional services to a client who is receiving chemical dependency treatment and/or counseling services from another professional, except with the knowledge of the other professional and the consent of the client, until treatment and/or counseling services with the other professional ends;

  (2) cooperate with the department, professional peer review groups or programs, and professional ethics committees or associations, and promptly supply all requested or relevant information, unless prohibited by law; and

  (3) ensure that the person's actions in no way exploit relationships with supervisees, employees, students, research participants or volunteers.

(l) Prior to providing treatment and/or counseling or substance abuse services, a licensee shall inform the client of the licensee's fee schedule and establish financial arrangements with a client. The counselor shall not:

  (1) charge exorbitant or unreasonable fees for any service;

  (2) pay or receive any commission, consideration, or benefit of any kind related to the referral of a client for services;

  (3) use the client relationship for the purpose of personal gain, or profit, except for the normal, usual charge for services provided; or

  (4) accept a private professional fee or any gift or gratuity from a client if the client's services are paid for by another funding source, or if the client is receiving treatment from a facility where the licensee provides services (unless all parties agree to the arrangement in writing).

Source Note: The provisions of this §140.423 adopted to be effective September 9, 2008, 33 TexReg 7520; ; amended to be effective August 9, 2012, 37 TexReg 5788

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