The 2002 Ethics code is a conservative revision that retained the format, structure and most of the standards of the 1992 ethics code. It reviews the important changes that were made. However the overview can do justice to the nuances and the careful wording found in the specific standards and to the extensive debates that were important to the crafting of the final wording of each section. The wording of the statements in the ethics code is very important because according to law it may imply something different from the intended.
Other smaller changes which were not covered in these articles may be significant to some individuals. The task of developing a revised code to be submitted to the APA fell upon the ethics committee task force (ECTF). This took them several years and it was approved in 2002 and went to effect in 2003. Though well looked at before approval the 2002 ethics code still have areas that are subject to more revision. The overall ethics code is more direct in this language; it is also more definitive and specific.
In certain areas of practice, the code has become broader in its coverage of specific categories like in the introduction. The new standard 3. 10d, requires the documentation of informed consent, and appears to be more of risk management precaution than a standard that would benefit clients. Though it was approved as risk management precaution it as more of an ethical violation in and of itself which is not noticed by many (Knapp, 2002). The new standard 4. 01 retains the wording that psychologists have primary obligation to protect the confidentiality rights.
The word primary is problematic because at times the confidentiality rights of clients/patients are not primary, such as when a client presents danger of harming others, or legal guardians assert their rights over those of a minor client. If the concerned party is more prone or likely to cause danger this should be disclosed to the responsible parties to take precaution. For the junior or minor clients their parents have the right to carry even the confidential information because they are responsible and answerable to the law (APA, 2002, p. 1066).
New standard 7. 07 forbids sexual relationships between students and supervisees and those who have supervisor authority over them. It also forbids sexual relationships between students, supervisees and psychologists who are in their department, agency or training center (APA, 2002, p. 1069). Although it is desirable to stop the sexual exploitation of students and supervisees, the wording of this standard appears to allow unfortunate and broad interpretation. This is because the words “in” their department, training center and agency are not defined.
The terms that identify the psychologist as one in the department are not known. Whether it is when he or she teaches a course as an adjunct, or is a supervisor to a student in an external site practicum, serves as a member of the dissertation committee or is a full time tutor in the department (O’Donohue & Ferguson, 2003). If such psychologists are to be in the those departments, then the psychologists could be presumed to have violated the ethics code if a sexual relationship develops with a student, or if the psychologist’s spouse or life partner is a student or supervisor in the same department.
This standard therefore should be restricted to sexual contact only between students and those faculty members with evaluative authority over the students and the parties are not married or established life partners. If the standard is to be applied as it is, it will necessitate an intrusive inquiry into private sexual relationships or encourage them to lie to protect a spouse or a life partner (Knapp, 2002). The APA had a wide coverage hence it would be more effective if it is combined with the HIPAA document of regulations.
HIPAA seeks to protect individually identifiable health information through regulations that standardize the format of electronically transmitted records related to this particular information and also secure it. It also seeks to use and releases of this information, increase patient control of the use and disclosure of the private health information. The psychologist should also include a relevant provision of the heath insuarance portability and accountability act (HIPAA) to help determine their actual behavior.
The ethics code applies to all members of the American psychologist Association, to an extent it is incorporated into the licensing board regulations. This makes it applicable to psychologists who are non members of APA. HIPAA is only applicable to psychologists who use electronic transmission of data delivery health care services. In other words it applies to most psychologists which deliver health care ,therefore a large majority of professional psychologists are covered by HIPAA and it regulations will influence the way in which they practice (Newman, 2002).
The 2002 APA ethics code needs to be read in conjunction with the HIPAA. This is because HIPAA seeks to increase the patient’s accessibility to their health records. For example the new standard 9. 04 of the ethics code permits the psychologists to withhold test data from clients if it is clinically indicated to do so. While the current HIPAA allows the clients to be provided with their records except under more limited circumstances such as when the information is got from someone else other than the health care provider.
This should be a promise of confidentiality and when the access requested is likely to call for the revelation of the source of the information. Also the new standard 6. 03 permits psychologists to withhold records for non payment unless they are needed for an emergency treatment. Where else the HIPAA has no provision for withholding records for non payment (Knapp, 2002). The new code as recommended by HIPAA should seek to establish legal accountability and penalties for authorized uses and disclosure and violation of transactions and security standards.
They should identify the public welfare and health needs that permit the use and disclosure of individually identifiable health information without patient authorization. This would make the ethics code more practical in the current world situation and occurrences (Fisher, 2003). Conclusion Several views may appear in relation to changes to be made in APA ethic code. The ethics code as designed to keep the ethics code from being unnecessary punitive for psychologists.
It also gives increased attention to the possibility of harm that occur to members of groups tat have been traditionally disenfranchised and to students. A purpose should be to proved clear statements of the types of behaviors that are considered ethical violation to guide psychologists to avoiding them and assist consumers in making ethical complaints can be clearly and fairly be achieved through the APA and other organizations.
The APA serves as licensing boards, courts and other institutions guide for evaluation of the psychology conduct responsibility. Thus it should avoid unethical laws or standards set by non psychologists. The ethical code also helps the psychologists defend their decisions to courts, institutions or government agencies that would encourage them to go against the values of the profession. This implies that the ethics code should be subject to modification to eliminate the clauses which violate human rights like discussed above (Fisher, 2003).