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Reporting Requirement for LCSWs in the New York State Gun Control Legislation Passed into Law
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Reporting Requirement for LCSWs in the New York State Gun Control Legislation Passed into Law

NASW examining the implications for social workers
 

January 2013

As has been reported in the news in the past few days, certain mental health professionals will be required to report clients who appear to be a danger to themselves or others. This was included in the new gun control legislation.

Below is the actual wording in the relevant sections of the law, and LCSWs are specified as responsible for reporting, but not LMSWs.

Of importance in this requirement is that LCSWs will be permitted to exercise "reasonable judgment" as to whether a client will need to be reported.

It is too early to know precisely how this law will be implemented, and regulations need to be developed. This could be placed on a fast track through emergency regulations, but it remains to be seen what the timetable will be.

NASW will be keeping members updated as more is known.

The following is the section of the legislation that pertains to mental health professionals:

§ 9.46 Reports of substantial risk or threat of harm by mental health professionals.

(a) For purposes of this section, the term "mental health professional" shall include a physician, psychologist, registered nurse or licensed clinical social worker.

(b) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, when a mental health professional currently providing treatment services to a person determines, in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment, that such person is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others, he or she shall be required to report, as soon as practicable, to the director of community services, or the director's designee, who shall report to the division of criminal justice services whenever he or she agrees that the person is likely to engage in such conduct. Information transmitted to the division of criminal justice services shall be limited to names and other non-clinical identifying information, which may only be used for determining whether a license issued pursuant to section 400.00 of the penal law should be suspended or revoked, or for determining whether a person is ineligible for a license issued pursuant to section 400.00 of the penal law, or is no longer permitted under state or federal law to possess a firearm.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a mental health professional to take any action which, in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment, would endanger such mental health professional or increase the danger to a potential victim or victims.

(d) The decision of a mental health professional to disclose or not to disclose in accordance with this section, when made reasonably and in good faith, shall not be the basis for any civil or criminal liability of such mental health professional.

Click here to read the Governor's press release: http://www.governor.ny.gov/print/4847

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