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Avoiding the “Medical Model” for Telemental Health

Over the last few months, I’ve unfortunately had the occasion to hear a number of online practitioners claim that they do not adhere to the “medical model” but rather believe in the ” business model.”  Somehow, these practitioners hold strong in the belief that online practice is not related to traditional practice in the brick-and-mortar world. This position could be hazardous.

Medical ModelIn the words of one of California malpractice attorney, Brandt Caudill, Jr., Esq.:

“Faced with the complexities of informed consent, standard of care, note taking, etc., some therapists have tried to opt out of these requirements by simply taking the position that they do not believe in, or endorse the medical model, and therefore they should not be held to it. This has the same effectiveness as reporting to the Internal Revenue service that you do not believe that the tax laws are valid, and that you should not have to comply with them. While this may lead to making the acquaintance of interesting criminal defense and bankruptcy lawyers, it will not cause any change in the IRS’s view of the applicability of the tax laws. By the same token, for a psychotherapist to assert that he or she should not be subject to the medical model will be ineffective. The medical model will generally be imposed with or without your agreement.”

For more about traditional face-to-face malpractice issues see Mr. Caudill’s article: Malpractice & Licensing Pitfalls for Therapists: A Defense Attorney’s from which the above was excerpted.

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