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Chapter 510-5 SUPPLEMENTAL CODE OF CONDUCT

Rule 510-5-.01 Code of Ethics and Supplemental Code of Conduct

(1) Licensure by the State of Georgia mandates compliance with the Code of Ethics1 and the Supplemental Code of Conduct delineated in Chapters 510-4 and 510-5 respectively.
(2) This Code of Ethics and Supplemental Code of Conduct constitutes the standards against which the required professional conduct of a psychologist is measured. Psychologists shall be governed by the rules delineated in this Code of Ethics and Supplemental Code of Conduct whenever they provide psychological services in any context. These codes shall apply to the conduct of all licensees and applicants, including the applicant's conduct during the period of education, training, and employment which is required for licensure; the term "psychologist," as used within these codes, shall be interpreted accordingly. A violation of this Code of Ethics and Supplemental Code of Conduct constitutes unprofessional conduct and may constitute sufficient grounds for disciplinary action, or for denial of licensure.

Rule 510-5-.02 Definitions

(1) Patient or Client. The term clients/patients may be defined through the following roles:
(a) a recipient of psychological services,
(b) a corporate entity or other organization when the professional contract is to provide services of benefit primarily to the organization rather than to individuals unless the contract specifies otherwise,
(c) individuals including minors and legally incompetent adults who have legal guardians. The legal guardian shall be the client for decision-making purposes, except that the individual receiving services shall be the patient or client for:
1. Issues directly affecting the physical or emotional safety of the individual, such as sexual or other exploitative dual relationships; and
2. Issues specifically reserved to the individual, and agreed to by the guardian prior to rendering of services, such as confidential communication in a therapy relationship.
(2) Student. Students are individuals matriculating in a predoctoral training program or internship.
(3) Confidential Information. Confidential information refers to information for which a psychologist or other health professional is ethically obligated not to disclose without client permission. This standard is protected by state statute except when compelled to disclose as a result of a court order.
(a) When a corporation or other organization is the client, rules of confidentiality apply to information pertaining to the organization, including personal information about individuals when such information is obtained in the proper course of that contract. Such information about individuals is subject to confidential control of the organization, not of the individual, and can be made available to the organization, unless there is an understanding between the psychologist and such individual that such information was obtained in a separate professional relationship with that individual and is, therefore, subject to confidentiality requirements in itself.
(4) Court Order. A court order is an action taken by a judge that compels disclosure unless appealed, in contrast to a subpoena which compels only a response and may be issued by an attorney.
(5) Professional Relationship. A professional relationship is a mutually agreed upon relationship between a psychologist and patients, clients, students, supervisees, or employees. The professional relationship status is not contingent upon nor defined by a payment transaction.
(6) Psychological Services are all actions of psychologists in the context of a professional relationship with client/patients, students, supervisees, or employees.
(7) Supervisee. Supervisees are individuals who are not authorized or licensed to practice psychology independently and who function under the extended authority of the psychologist, the internship/SWE supervisor or secondary supervisor in the provision of psychological services. Supervisees are individuals who are either:
(a) employees of the supervisor,
(b) employed by the supervisor's employer, or
(c) in training.
(8) Supervisor. Supervisors are psychologists who have responsibility for the professional activities of individuals who are supervisees.
(9) Telepsychology. The provision of psychological services using telecommunication technologies. Telecommunication technologies include but are not limited to telephone, mobile devices, interactive videoconferencing, e-mail, chat, text, and Internet (e.g. self-help websites, blogs, and social media).

Rule 510-5-.03 Competence

(1) Scope of Practice. Psychologists who intend to or begin to practice in areas outside of their educational, internship, or SWE experiences must obtain sufficient training in those areas to insure their competence. When psychologists are developing competency in a service or technique that is either new to the psychologist or new to the profession, they shall engage in ongoing consultation with other psychologists or relevant professionals and shall seek and obtain appropriate education and training in the new area.
(2) Maintaining Competency. Psychologists shall maintain current competency in their areas of practice, through continuing education, consultation, and/or other procedures, in conformance with current standards of scientific or professional knowledge.

Rule 510-5-.04 Maintenance and Retention of Records

(1) Records include information that may be used to document the nature, delivery, progress, and results of psychological services. The psychologist who renders professional services shall maintain records that include the following:
(a) Records of psychological services include:
1. identifying data (e.g., name, client ID number);
2. contact information (e.g., phone number, address, emergency contact);
3. fees and billing information;
4. where appropriate, guardianship or conservatorship status;
5. documentation of informed consent or assent for treatment (Ethics Code 3.10);
6. documentation of waivers of confidentiality and authorization or consent for release of information (Ethics Code 4.05);
7. documentation of any mandated disclosure of confidential information (e.g., report of child abuse, release secondary to a court order);
8. complaint, diagnosis, or basis for request for services;
9. plan for services, updated as appropriate (e.g., treatment plan, supervision plan, intervention schedule, community interventions, consultation contracts);
10. relevant health and developmental history;
11. date of service and duration of session;
12. types of services (e.g., consultation, assessment, treatment, training);
13. nature of professional intervention or contact (e.g., type of treatment, referral, letters, e-mail, phone contacts);
14. formal or informal assessment of client status.
(2) Psychologists are aware of relevant federal state and local laws and regulations governing records. Laws and regulations supersede requirement of these rules. In the absence of such laws and regulations, psychologists maintain complete records for seven years after the last date of service delivery for adults. If the client is a minor, the record period is extended until three years after the age of majority, or at least for seven years after the last date of service delivery, whichever is later.
(3) The psychologist shall store and dispose of written, electronic, and other records of patients and clients in such a manner as to ensure their confidentiality.

Rule 510-5-.05 Impairment

(1) The psychologist shall not undertake or continue a professional relationship with a client when the psychologist is, or could reasonably be expected by the Board to be, impaired due to mental, emotional, physiological, pharmacological, or substance abuse conditions. If such a condition develops after a professional relationship has been initiated, the psychologist shall terminate the relationship in an appropriate manner, shall notify the patient or client in writing of the termination, and shall assist the patient or client in obtaining services from another professional.
(2) Reporting Procedures and Investigation. The Board provides the following mechanism for the identification, intervention, and referral for treatment of a licensed psychologist or applicant who may be identified as impaired:
(a) A written statement shall be submitted to the Board. The statement should include a description of the incidents which led to the belief that the said licensee or applicant may be impaired. The individual making the report/complaint does not need to have proof of the impairment, but must state the facts which form the basis for their belief that the individual is impaired.
(b) If, after investigation of the complaint, the Board has reasonable grounds to believe that the individual may be impaired, the Board may do any or all of the following:
1. The Board may require a licensee or applicant to submit to a mental, physical, or mental and physical examination by an appropriate licensed practitioner designated by the Board.
2. The Board may require a licensee or applicant to produce or authorize the Board to obtain, any and all records relating to the alleged incapacitating mental and/or physical condition, including that individual's personal psychiatric and psychological records.
3. The Board may refer said licensee or applicant to an Impaired Colleague Assistance Program to establish a diagnosis, a plan of treatment, and to determine a prognosis.
(c) If sufficient evidence supports the diagnosis of impairment, the Board will inform the licensee or applicant of its belief that the licensee or applicant suffers from an impairment which may effect his or her care of clients and/or the ability to provide appropriate psychological services. Depending upon the severity of the problem and the prognosis, the Board may require the licensee or applicant to undertake a rehabilitation program recommended and monitored by a Colleague Assistance Program approved by the Board, and may impose appropriate restrictions on the licensee's or applicant's practice.
(d) If, at any point during the process of evaluation or rehabilitation, the licensee or applicant refuses/fails to comply with this procedure, such conduct may constitute the basis for the imposition of disciplinary sanctions.

Rule 510-5-.06 Welfare of Clients and Other Professional Relationships

(1) Consultations and Referrals.
(a) Psychologists arrange for appropriate consultations and referrals based principally on the best interests of their client/patients, with appropriate consent, and subject to other relevant considerations, including applicable law and contractual obligations.
(b) Psychologists' referral practices are consistent with law.
(2) Continuity of Care.
(a) Psychologists shall make arrangements for another appropriate professional or professionals to deal with the emergency needs of his/her patients or clients, as appropriate, during periods of foreseeable absence from professional availability, unless section 10.10 of the Code of Ethics is applicable.
(b) Psychologists make reasonable efforts to plan for continuity of care in the event that psychological services are interrupted by factors such as the psychologist's illness, death, unavailability or by the client/patient's relocation or financial limitations.
(c) Confidentiality After Termination of Professional Relationship. Psychologists shall continue to treat as confidential, information regarding client/patients after the professional relationship between the psychologist and the client/patient has ceased.
(3) Delegation to and Supervision of Supervisees of Psychological Services.
(a) Psychologists shall not delegate professional responsibilities to a person who is not qualified to provide such services. Psychologists delegate to supervisees, with the appropriate level of supervision, only those responsibilities that such persons can reasonably be expected to perform competently and ethically based on the supervisee's education, training, and experience.
(b) Psychologists shall not delegate responsibilities or accept supervisory responsibilities for work which they are not qualified and personally competent to perform. Psychologists must retain full, complete, and ultimate authority and responsibility for the professional acts of supervisees.
(c) The supervisee must have appropriate education and training, including training in ethical issues, to perform the delegated functions. The psychologist is responsible for determining the competency of the supervisee and will not assign or allow the supervisee to undertake tasks beyond the scope of the supervisee's training and/or competency. The psychologist is also responsible for providing the supervisee with specific instructions regarding the limits of his/her role as supervisee.
(d) The supervisee must fully inform the patient or client receiving services of his or her role as supervisee and the right of the patient or client to confer with the supervising psychologist with regard to any aspect of the services, care, treatment, evaluation, or tests being performed.
(e) When clinical psychological services are rendered, the psychologist must take part in the intake process, must personally make the diagnosis when a diagnosis is required, and must personally approve and co-sign a treatment plan for each patient or client. The psychologist must meet personally with the supervisee on a continuous and regular basis concerning each patient or client and must review the treatment record, including progress notes, on a regular basis as appropriate to the task(s). The psychologist must provide a minimum of one hour of supervision for every 20 hours of face-to-face clinical contact. The psychologist shall not take primary supervisory responsibility for more than three supervisees engaged in psychological services concurrently without Board approval.
(f) The selection and interpretation of psychological tests shall only be made by the psychologist. The psychologist must personally interview the patient when a diagnosis is made or is requested. In any written report, including psychological evaluations, the psychologist must approve and sign the report. When the supervisee does not participate in the actual writing of a report, but does administer and/or score psychological tests, the supervisee is not required to sign the report, but his or her name must be listed as the person who participated in the collection of the data in the report. When the supervisee personally participates in the writing of any report, then both the psychologist and the supervisee must sign the report.
(g) When the delegation and supervision of psychological services is being conducted for training purposes towards licensure, psychologists must comply with the Rules regarding internships, fellowships and/or postdoctoral supervised work experience.

Rule 510-5-.07 Representation of Services

(1) Possession of License. The psychologist must possess a current, valid, Georgia license to practice psychology.
(2) Practicing via Electronic Transmission. The provision of psychological services by electronic transmission (e.g. internet, telephone, computer.) must meet the same legal and ethical standards as psychological services provided in person. This rule applies to both psychologists who are licensed in Georgia and to other psychologists residing elsewhere who are providing psychological services to clients/patients in Georgia who must meet the requirements of section 510-9-.03. The Georgia Board will report out of state psychologists to their respective licensing boards for practicing psychology via these means in the state of Georgia without a Georgia license.
(3) Psychologists do not exploit recipients of services or payers with respect to fees.
(4) Telepsychology Practice.
(a) Competence:
1. Psychologist assume responsibility to continually assess both their professional and technical competence when providing telepsychology services. Psychologists have read and are regulated by the Georgia State Board of Examiners of Psychologists rules for the practice of Telepsychology.
2. Psychologists are encouraged to examine the available evidence to determine whether specific telecommunication technologies are suitable for a client/patient, based on the current literature available, current outcomes research, best practice guidance, and client/patient preference.
(i) Psychologists understand the need to consider their client/patient's ability to engage in and fully understand the risks and benefits of the proposed intervention utilizing specific technologies.
(ii) Psychologists understand the manner in which cultural, linguistic, socioeconomic, and other individual characteristics (e.g. medical status, psychiatric stability, physical/cognitive disability, personal preferences) may impact effective use of telecommunication technologies in service delivery.
3. Psychologists identify and learn how to access relevant and appropriate emergency resources in the client/patients' local area such as emergency response contacts.
(b) Standards of Care in Telepsychology Services:
1. Psychologists delivering telepsychology services apply the same ethical and professional standards of care and practice that are required when providing in -person psychological services.
2. Psychologists who are providing telepsychology services conduct an initial assessment to determine the appropriateness of the telepsychology service to be provided for the client/patient which includes the examination of potential risks and benefits for the client/patients' particular needs, the multicultural and ethical issues that may arise, and a review of the most appropriate medium (e.g., video teleconference, text, e-mail).
3. Psychologist are aware of such other factors as geographic location, technological competence, diagnosis, use of substances, treatment history, and therapeutic needs relevant to appropriateness of telepsychology services.
4. Psychologists communicate any risks and benefits of the telepsychology services in relation to in-person services.
5. Psychologists assess carefully the remote environment in which services will be provided to determine what impact there might be on efficacy, privacy, or safety of the proposed intervention.
(c) Informed Consent:
1. Psychologists make efforts to offer a clear description of those telepsychology services they provide and they seek to obtain and document informed consent.
2. Psychologists document written informed consent from their clients/patients that specifically addresses the unique concerns relevant to services.
3. Psychologists make an effort to use language that is understandable by their clients/patients and to be aware of cultural linguistic and other issues.
4. Psychologists discuss the billing documents with client/patients.
5. Psychologists include in the informed consent the manner in which telecommunication will be used and the boundaries they will establish, and the procedures for responding to electronic communications.
(d) Confidentiality of Data and Information:
1. Psychologists protect and maintain the confidentiality of the data and information relating to their clients/patients and inform them of the potentially increased risks of loss of confidentiality inherent in the use of the telecommunication technologies.
2. Psychologists become knowledgeable about the potential risks to confidentiality before utilizing such technologies.
3. Psychologists understand and inform their clients /patients of the limits to confidentiality and the risks of possible access to or disclosure of confidential data and information.
4. Psychologists are cognizant of the ethical and practical implications of researching online personal information about their clients/patients.
5. Psychologists who use social networking sites for both personal and professional purposes educate themselves about the potential risks to privacy and confidentiality and to utilize available privacy settings to reduce these risks.
(e) Security and Transmission of Data and Information:
1. Psychologists take reasonable steps to ensure that security measures are in place to protect data and information related to their clients/patients from unintended access or disclosure.
2. When keeping records of e-mail, online messaging, and other work using telecommunication technologies, psychologists are cognizant that preserving the actual communication may be preferable to summarization.
(f) Disposal of Data and Information and Technologies:
1. Psychologists make reasonable efforts to dispose of data and information and the technologies used in a manner that facilitates protection from unauthorized access and accounts for safe and appropriate disposal.
(g) Testing and Assessment:
1. Psychologists are knowledgeable about the unique impact of tests, their suitability for diverse populations, and the limitations on test administration and on test and other data interpretations when these psychological tests and other assessment procedures are conducted via telepsychology.
2. Psychologists strive to maintain the integrity of the application of the testing and assessment process and procedures when using telecommunication technologies.
3. When a psychological test or other assessment procedure is conducted via telepsychology, psychologists are encouraged to ensure that the integrity of the psychometric properties of the test or assessment procedure and the conditions of administration indicated in the test manual are preserved when adapted for use with such technologies.
4. Psychologists are cognizant of the specific issues that may arise with diverse populations when providing telepsychology and to make appropriate arrangements to address those concerns (e.g., language or cultural issues, cognitive, physical, or sensory skills or impairments, or age may impact assessment).
5. Psychologies use test norms derived from telecommunication technologies administration if such are available.
6. Psychologists recognize the potential limitations of all assessment processes conducted via telepsychology and to be ready to address the limitations and potential impact of those procedures.

Rule 510-5-.08 Forensic Assessment

(1) Psychologists' forensic assessment, recommendations, and reports are based on information and techniques (including personal interviews of the individual, when appropriate) sufficient to provide appropriate substantiation for his/her findings.
(2) Psychologists provide written or oral forensic reports or testimony of the psychological characteristics of an individual only after they have conducted an examination of the individual adequate to support his/her statements or conclusions.

Provided, however, that when, despite reasonable efforts, such an examination is not feasible, psychologists clarify the impact of his/her limited information on the reliability and validity of his/her reports and testimony, and they appropriately limit the nature and extent of his/her conclusions or recommendations.

(3) In forensic testimony and reports, psychologists testify truthfully, honestly, and candidly and, consistent with applicable legal procedures, describe fairly the basis for his/her testimony and conclusions.
(4) Whenever necessary, psychologists acknowledge the limits of his/her data or conclusions.
(5) In most circumstances, psychologists avoid performing multiple and potentially conflicting roles in forensic matters. When psychologists, may be called on to service in more than one role in a legal proceeding (for example, as consultant or expert for one party or for the court and as a fact witness) they clarify role expectations and the extent of confidentiality in advance to the extent feasible, and thereafter, as changes occur, in order to avoid compromising his/her professional judgment and objectivity, and in order to avoid misleading others regarding his/her role.
(6) When a judge authorizes an order for a psychologist to conduct a psychological custody evaluation of a family, the court appointed psychologist shall not be subject to disciplinary action resulting from any act or failure to act in the performance of his or her duties unless such act or failure to act was found in bad faith by the judge (see O.C.G.A. § 19-9-3). If found in bad faith by the judge the following is considered by the Board in deciding whether or not a rule violation has occurred: The definition of "working in good faith" shall be based on compliance with the APA's 2010 "Guidelines for Child Custody Evaluations in Family Law Proceedings." Any Board filed complaint that alleges misconduct by a psychologist acting as a court-appointed custody expert must cite a specific breach of the APA's guidelines before any action is taken against the psychologist.

Rule 510-5-.09 Violations of Law

(1) Violation of Applicable Statutes. The psychologist shall not violate any applicable statute or administrative rule regulating the practice of psychology.
(a) Psychologists have an obligation to be familiar with these codes, other applicable ethics codes, and their application to psychologists' work. Lack of awareness or misunderstanding of a standard is not itself a defense to a charge of unprofessional conduct.
(b) When a psychologist is uncertain whether a particular situation or course of action would violate these codes, the psychologist shall consult with other psychologists who are knowledgeable about ethical issues, with state or national psychology ethics committees, or with other appropriate authorities, in order to choose a proper response or course of action.
(2) Use of Fraud, Misrepresentation or Deception. The psychologist shall not use fraud, misrepresentation, or deception in obtaining a psychology license, in passing a psychology licensing examination, in assisting another to obtain a psychology license or to pass a psychology licensing examination, in billing clients or third party payers, in providing psychological services, in reporting the results of psychological evaluations or services, or in conducting any other activity related to the practice of psychology.

Rule 510-5-.10 Aiding Illegal Practice

(1) Providing Supervision.
(a) The psychologist shall exercise appropriate supervision over the supervisee, as set forth in the rules and regulations of the Board.
(b) A person licensed under this chapter may not supervise or employ as an assistant, or in any other capacity, an individual who has:
1. voluntarily surrendered his/her license to practice psychology in this or any other state;
2. been disciplined by this Board pursuant to O.C.G.A. Sec. 43-1-19 and/or 43-39-13;
3. been disciplined by any other lawful licensing authority; or
4. been convicted of a felony, and/or is under criminal probation.
(c) Rule 510-5-.10(1)(b) may be waived or modified by the Board, in its discretion, upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances.
(2) Psychologists shall cooperate in national investigations, proceedings, and resulting requirements of the Board or any affiliated state or national psychological associations to which they belong. In doing so, they make reasonable efforts to resolve any issues as to confidentiality. Failure to cooperate is itself a violation.
(3) Psychologists do not file or encourage the filing of complaints that are frivolous or maliciously intended.

Rule 510-5-.11 Reporting of Sanctions

A Psychologist shall report within thirty (30) days to the Board:

(a) Any sanctions or disciplinary actions by any other lawful authorities.
(b) Any voluntary surrender of his/her license to practice psychology in another state.

Rule 510-5-.12 Repealed

Rule 510-5-.13 Repealed

Rule 510-5-.14 Repealed