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Constructing an Ethical Approach to Private Practice in Mental Health

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Constructing an Ethical Approach to Private Practice in Mental Health:

A Step by Step Guide for Social Work Clinicians

Presented by Charles D. Safford, LCSW


9:00 AM – 4:30 PM each day

Friday, May 19, 2017 & Saturday, May 20, 2017

4 Ethics & 8 Core (Including 1 TeleMental Health) Continuing Education Hours


NASW Georgia Chapter Resource Room

Woodruff Volunteer Center, 100 Edgewood Avenue NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA  30303


Presenting a two-day program to provide the social work mental health clinician with a practical, hands-on guide to constructing and maintaining a private practice in compliance with the highest standards of ethical practice and the NASW Code of Ethics. In each phase and with each step of building a private practice, there are practical complications and challenges that intersect with laws, statutes, Code of Ethics elements, and the practical demands of establishing a viable and successful private practice. This course will examine all the nuts and bolts components involved in building a private practice while exploring where ethical traps may present themselves for clinicians in private practice.


Introduction and Overview

  • Introductions and establishing learning community

  • Goals and objectives

  • Operating a service based business in a market based culture: the essential conflict of values

  • Developing a vision statement and career management plan that helps shape the direction of an ethical private practice

  • Complications of opening and maintaining an ethical private practice in the era of managed care, including creating an NPI and tax ID number, getting established with NCQA, choosing the right malpractice coverage and working with managed care panels and EAP companies

  • Marketing your practice in a legal and ethical way

  • Practice complications prior to licensure at the independent level

Systems, Structures, Forms and Ethical Compliance

  • Understanding HIPAA, the Hi-Tech Act of 2010 and the Omnibus Act of March 2013 and what this means for your private practice infrastructure

  • Addressing issues of informed consent in private practice

  • Dealing with assessment, diagnosis, DSM-5 and ICD-10, and CPT codes in a best practices way

  • Billing, coding for insurers, the HCFA billing form, and addressing client relations while still getting paid

  • Maintaining ethical best practices records

  • Round the clock coverage, client communications and preparing to handle emergencies, crises and 1013s

TeleMental Health and Technology in 21st Century Private Practice

  • Incorporating electronic modes of client interaction for mental health services into ethical practice

  • Social media, internet presence and ethical practice

Emerging and Future Trends and Issues in Ethical Private Practice

  •  Meaningful use, best practices approaches and emerging trends in private practice

This program will include interactive scenario analysis, interactive role playing, and the practice of techniques incorporating knowledge from the presentation of material

Course Objectives

  • Comprehend the complications and challenges of constructing and maintaining an ethical private practice.

  • Know the structural components that must be developed in order to operate a successful private practice while maintaining appropriate levels of informed consent, client privilege and privacy, and compliance with best practice guidelines for mental health practice and case records.

  • Learn the key complications related to the financial aspects of private practice, including dealing with payers, addressing finances with clients in an ethical and respectful way, and HIPAA compliant billing procedures.

  • Grasp the special complexities of interacting with clients via electronic modes of communication.

  • Comprehend special considering in caseload coverage, crisis management and client safety, when operating a private practice.

Charles D. Safford, LCSW, is the founder and President of, Inc., a knowledge company that works with professional organizations to provide continuing education curriculum to social workers and other mental health clinicians nationwide. He has over 30 years of experience as a clinician, consultant, and coach, with over 20 years of experience developing and delivering best practices training programs for business and mental health audiences.


Early Bird Registration: (by May 7, 2017)

NASW Member - $175; NASW Retired Member - $150; NASW Student Member - $150; Nonmember - $250


Regular: (after May 7, 2017)

NASW Member - $200; NASW Retired Member - $175; NASW Student Member - $175; Nonmember - $275


Registration limited to 25 participants
(Pre-Registration Required - includes light lunch)

Please Note: NASW Georgia Chapter is not responsible for personal possessions of attendees during a conference, workshop, training or other Chapter hosted events.



Please note: Continuing education programs approved by NASW Georgia Chapter meet social work continuing education requirements of the Georgia Composite Board for social workers licensed in Georgia (see Chapter 135.9 Continuing Education,


Social workers licensed/certified in another professional discipline and/or state should check with their licensure/certification/regulatory entity to determine if the above program meets their continuing education needs.