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Client Relationships

Avoiding Malpractice: Tips for Social Workers to Manage Risk

Client Relationships

The bad news: Errors and omissions in practice are common.
The good news: Many can be easily prevented.

Taking the necessary steps to manage your malpractice risk is extremely important. And here are a few risk-reduction tips to practice by.

ADVISE clients of your policy regarding records retention and under what circumstances the records will be released.

BE CLEAR with your client under what circumstances a relationship will be terminated (i.e. a certain amount of no shows, nonpayment, etc.) and your process for doing so.

DOCUMENT all no-shows, canceled appointments and terminated or incomplete sessions in your client’s records.

KNOWLEDGE IS KEY when it comes to your state’s reporting requirements. Be sure to always start your client relationships with clear expectations regarding abuse reporting obligations.

NEVER admit liability, accept responsibility or offer to pay for a client’s expenses without first consulting with your professional liability insurance claim department.

REPORT any letters received from a regulatory board regarding your professional services to your professional liability insurance administrator immediately upon receipt and before preparing a response.

Social Work is a rewarding career that demands personal commitment. But helping others can put you at risk of being sued by someone dissatisfied with an outcome. NASW Assurance Services works to ensure that our valued NASW members are properly protected and equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to maintain a high standard of client care.

Published April 2013

Resources and References