HIPAA and the Future of Mental Health Practice

Presented by Ofer Zur, PhD and Roy Huggins, MS, NCC and Roy Huggins, MS, NCC on 08-09-2013 at 9 a.m. Pacific to 10:30 a.m. Pacific (1:30 p.m. Eastern)

HIPAA was updated in January of 2013, and this changed the standard of care around privacy and technology as well as the future of mental health practice. With national health care on the horizon (or already here for some of us) and technology finding its way into standard mental health practice, understanding HIPAA rules new and old is essential to a healthy, thriving private practice in the United States.

Not only has the legal landscape changed, but the people we treat have changed, too. The people we serve are texting, emailing, asking if we take credit cards or do "Skype therapy." In this program, Dr. Ofer Zur—a "digital immigrant" and well-respected expert on mental health ethics and law—teams up with Roy Huggins, MS, NCC—a "digital native" and expert on mental health technology and HIPAA—to provide a framework for courageously approaching the shifting sands of mental health practice ethically and legally.

While this is not a full HIPAA compliance training, it will be an introduction to what you need to know to have the confidence to move forward with your practice and be effective for those you are treating. HIPAA is important, but not as scary as it may sound. Join us and learn to tame HIPAA for yourself and for those in therapy.

Topics to be discussed during this web conference:

  • HIPAA and the Standard of Care.
  • What is a Covered Entity?
  • Is encryption always required for email and texting?
  • Ways to secure computers to HIPAA-compliance simply and with little or no cost.
  • Ways to secure smart phones or tablets computer (iPad, Android tablet, etc.) in HIPAA-compliant way with little or no cost.
  • What are the concerns with Skype and HIPAA and what other free alternatives are available?
  • Ways to switch to a paperless office.
  • Low cost ways to achieve Safe Harbor for one’s computer simply by encrypting it in a certain way.
  • The importance of how HIPAA compliance adjusts, or "scales," according to the size and capabilities of each practice, and what it means for small or solo mental health practices.

This web conference is intermediate instructional level and designed to help clinicians:

  1. Describe HIPAA's essential requirements around using digital communications technology in mental health care;
  2. Determine the clinician's needs for updating policies and forms in light of 2013 HIPAA requirements;
  3. Assess risk management needs of individuals both in terms of providing standard of care and protecting against potential legal liability for the clinician;
  4. Describe how to balance legal and ethical responsibilities around digital confidentiality with client needs around digital communication.

If you have any questions about this web conference or would like more information, please contact us here.

Event Reviews from Members

"Excellent information on texting and emailing and other new technologies that therapist and clients are using more and more. Thank you!" - Kristin Ingebrigtson, LPC

Continuing Education (CE) Information

1.5 CE credits will be provided by GoodTherapy.org for attending this web conference in its entirety.

GoodTherapy.org is also an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within counseling services.

GoodTherapy.org is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

GoodTherapy.org is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.

To receive CE credit hours for an archived event, you will need to complete a survey as well as a 12 or 15-question exam, verifying that you listened to or watched the event in its entirety. Archived CE events generally are considered "homestudy" by licensing boards.

Registration Information

Premium and Pro Membership with GoodTherapy includes access to this web conference at no additional cost, as well as other member benefits such as a profile listing in GoodTherapy's Therapist Directory. Not yet a member? Sign up for a Premium or Pro Membership, here.

Just want CE credits? Sign up for a monthly or annual CE Subscription with GoodTherapy to get unlimited access to our CE Program, including this event, other live CE web conferences, and hundreds of hours of homestudy courses.

Mental health professionals who are not members can attend this live web conference for $30.95 or access the homestudy recording for $15.50. Sign up here to purchase this CE course and earn a CE certificate.

If the event is canceled by GoodTherapy, registrants who purchased the event will be notified and the charge for the event will be refunded

If you have any questions or would like information regarding disability accommodations, please contact us.


What we’ll do today, we’ll make sure that we don’t scare anybody—that we provide simple solutions and simple answers to the most important parts of HIPAA. And the message also in this webinar is that it’s doable. And it’s doable for us in private practice, without huge costs and without needing to hire a techie full time in our practices. - Dr. Ofer Zur

We want to think about complying with HIPAA regulations, but ultimately what we want to do is just avoid any harm happening. If we just take steps to make sure people don’t get harmed, then we don’t have a problem, and our clients are healthy and everyone is doing great. - Roy Huggins, MS, NCC

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Meet the Presenters

Ofer Zur, PhD

Ofer Zur, PhD

Ofer Zur, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and forensic consultant practicing in Sonoma, CA and a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Div. 42. He is the director of the Zur Institute, which offers over 100 online courses and is one of the most extensive online CE programs for psychologists, counselors, social workers, MFTs, and nurses. His teaching, therapist consultations, and writings focus on private practice outside managed care, ethics, standard of care, boundaries, dual relationships, and Internet addiction. Dr. Zur's books include Dual Relationships and Psychotherapy (Springer, 2002, co-edited with A. Lazarus), HIPPA Friendly (Norton, 2005), Private Practice Handbook (ZI, 2007), and Boundaries in Psychotherapy (APA Books, 2007). He authored the highly popular HIPAA Compliant Kit Understanding & Applying The Regulations in Psychotherapeutic Practice, which is now in its 5th edition. Dr. Zur is deeply concerned about the harm inflicted by dogmatic, inflexible, and ideologically rigid psychotherapeutic practices. His website provides dozens of free articles and guidelines for psychotherapists and the public.

Roy Huggins, MS, NCC

Roy Huggins, MS, NCC

Roy Huggins, MS, NCC, spent seven years as a professional web developer before becoming a counselor. Mr. Huggins directs the Person-Centered Tech and has a passion for teaching therapists about the Internet and enjoys helping them understand how electronic communication is the future of their practice and profession. He also acts as Technology Chair for the Oregon Counseling Association. Mr. Huggins regularly consults with therapists and colleagues on issues involving ethical practices in technology. He currently has a private practice in Portland, OR. Mr. Huggins is also the author of the Zur Institute's HIPAA Security and Privacy in Psychotherapy, Counseling and Mental Health Practices Course. For more information about Roy Huggins, please visit http://www.personcenteredtech.com.

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • aceGoodTherapy.org is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • Logo GoodTherapy.org has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. GoodTherapy.org is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Logo This course has been approved by GoodTherapy.org, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. GoodTherapy.org is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  • GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0395.
  • GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0022 and for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0031.

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