A Colleague’s Dilemma
Ricardo’s approach to counseling to providing mental health services to lower-income adolescents and families is a remarkable ideal but on the other hand there are ethical guidelines that he must follow as a counselor. Ricardo is taking a big chance in trying to help his clients. His ideal of billing and using an individual diagnosis for the family members may seem as if he is practicing fraudulent billing procedure. According to the ACA (2005), Standard C.6.b. Reports to Third Parties, wherein “Counselors are accurate, honest, and objective in reporting their professional activities and judgments to appropriate third parties, including courts, health insurance companies, those who are the recipients of evaluation reports and others” (p.10). The diagnosis that he reported to the insurance company was not the correct diagnosis. ACA (2005), Standard E.5.a. Proper Diagnosis, “Counselors take special care to provide proper diagnosis of mental disorders” (p.12). It is very good for counselors to try to do what they can for a client but the counselor has to think about the ethical guidelines that are set up to practice counseling. Counselors have a legal obligation to follow these guidelines. One of the key ethical issues in this case include Ricardo provides services for clients who have a limited ability to pay for ongoing counseling. The ACA Code of Ethics (2005), Standard A.10.b.) states that in establishing fees, counselors should consider the financial status of clients and locality. Another ethical issue in this case is Ricardo lowers his fee substantially so the clients can afford their counseling sessions. Remley and Herlihy (2009), discovered that legally, counselors and other professionals may set any fees that they wish for their services. The counselor can even charge different clients different amounts for the same service as long as they do not discriminate based on constitutionally protection categories of persons....
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