The Volk Decision Redux: Clinical, Legal, and Legislative Meanings
Time & Location
About the Event
When: Friday, February 5, 2021
Presented by: Laura W. Groshong, LICSW and Frances Schopick, JD, MSW, LICSW
Time: 9am-12 pm Presentation
CE Contact Hours: 3
Location: Virtual - Zoom
Many mental health clinicians were stunned when the Washington Supreme Court found in Volk vs. DeMeerleerlast December that the law to be applied should examine the “special relationship” between a psychiatrist and patient, rather than what had become the customary 3-point test of 1) “an actual threat” 2) “of physical harm” to a 3) “reasonably identifiable client.” This decision has had a chilling effect on all clinicians working with clients who have violent thoughts. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, it appears that the ‘duty to warn’ a particuar person, which has been part of Washington law since 1988, may ultimately be expanded to include ‘forseeability’ of the potential to harm others, or a ‘duty to protect’ the general public-at-large.
There have been many activities to overturn the decision since it was made. Clinicians are concerned about their liability for patients who cause harm without any warning signs that could have caught a clinician’s attention in advance. The legislature allocated $140,000 to the UW Law School in June to determine how consistent this decision is with the rest of Washington law, now under way.
Come to a meeting led by Laura Groshong, LICSW, Mental Health Advocate, and Frances Schopick, JD, LICSW, how to protect your practice, the legal opinions about this decision, and to hear what is happening legislatively.
About the Presenters:
Laura W. Groshong, LICSW: Ms. Groshong is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Washington and has been in clinical practice for the past 43 years. She is also a Registered Lobbyist in Washington for five mental health organizations. She was on the Board of the Washington Coalition for Insurance Parity for 10 years, the organization that was instrumental in passage of mental health parity in Washington in 2005 and 2007, as well as the passage of rules implementing these laws in 2014. She is the Director of Policy and Practice and Government Relations for the Clinical Social Work Association nationally and through the Mental Health Liaison Group worked on passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act of 2008. She has written and lectured extensively on clinical and legislative issues around the country.
Frances Schopick, JD, MSW, LICSW is an attorney with an extensive background in Social Work, Psychology, and Psychiatric Research in hospital settings. She has served on the Faculties of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NYC, and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. She has worked in depth with people with Mood, Personality, and Psychotic Disorders.
Now an attorney in WA State, Ms. Schopick represents healthcare licensees with DOH complaints, provides consultation and continuing education presentations to licensees in behavioral health, and consults for witness prep for deposition and trial. Her background in private, hospital, and agency practices give her unique insight into the risks providers face.
Frances completed her AB at Barnard College at Columbia University in New York City, her Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) at the Hunter College School of Social Work in NYC, and her Juris Doctor (JD) at the University of New Hampshire.
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