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Legal Issues

The greatest number of complex phone calls coming into the office is related to legal issues and the practice of social work. NASW staff devote a large part of their telephone consultation time to discussing these concerns with NASW members. In addition, the Chapter has published numerous "Ask Our Attorney" articles in our FOCUS newsletter pertaining to legal issues in social work practice.

These articles serve as guides to members. Some of the most commonly asked questions that are dealt with include "What do I do when I get a subpoena," and "Do I need to release the record?" Neither "Ask Our Attorney" nor the free telephone consultation time are substitutes for legal advice from an attorney when the situation is complicated and requires legal counsel. Referral to attorneys are then suggested.

The Chapter's prime concern is to provide a service to NASW members that will assist them in practicing that social workers practice ethically, professionally and within the law.

You can order the Legal Issues Handbook that contains answers to the most common legal questions facing social workers.

Examples of "Ask Our Attorney" articles available to NASW Members:

  • Confidentiality: Faxes, E-Mails, and Ethics
  • Legal Issues Involved in Patient Suicide: Disclosing Records and Meeting Family Members
  • Social Workers in the Workplace
  • Reporting Past and Future Crimes, and Constraints on Social Workers Advertising
  • The Patient Stalker
  • When May Non-51A Filers Speak with DSS?
  • Payer Access to Social Workers Client Records
  • Third Party Payer Access to Social Workers
  • Commonly Asked Questions About the Treatment of Minors
  • When Can a Guardian Ad Litem or DSS Investigator Access Confidential Information?
  • When You Receive a Subpoena
  • Appeals Court Upholds Confidentiality of NASW Peer Review Process
  • Client Confidentiality - What The Insurance Company Doesn't Need To Know
  • Risk Management For Social Work Supervisors
  • Non-Competition Agreements
  • Testifying In Court
  • On-Line Treatment Records: Social Workers Must Inform Patients
  • Evaluating Managed Care Contracts
  • Subpoenas
  • Public Policy Exception to At-Will Termination
  • Social Worker Duty to Warn Third Persons of Client HIV Infection
  • Responding to a Complaint from the Board of Registration of Social Workers
  • New Statute Gives Clients Full Access to Social Work Records
  • Confidential and Privileged Communications Law Revised for Social Workers
  • The Need To Regulate HMOs

If you are a member who wishes to access this information, please click here.

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See also:


more Featured Events

Greater Boston Private Practice Meeting

Portraits of Professional Caregivers: Their Passion. Their Pain. - 2 CEUs

National Association of Social Workers - Massachusetts Chapter
11 Beacon Street, Suite 510, Boston MA 02108
tel: (617)227-9635 fax: (617)227-9877 email:
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