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(1) In addition to unprofessional conduct as identified in 37-1-410, MCA, a violation of one or more of the following constitutes unprofessional conduct:

(a) soliciting or engaging in a sexual or intimate relationship with a client, a supervisee, client's family member, a client's household member, or other persons with whom a client has had a significant relationship;

(b) soliciting or engaging in a sexual or intimate relationship with a former client within two years after the termination of professional services;

(c) committing an act of sexual misconduct or committing a sexual offense , as defined in 46-23-502(9), MCA;

(d) soliciting or engaging in sexual relations with the client of another counselor employed in the same program providing services;

(e) recklessly or carelessly causing physical, mental, or emotional harm to a client;

(f) providing unnecessary or unneeded services, or providing services for longer than necessary, or abandoning a client;

(g) engaging in sexual or other harassment of a client, former client, or supervisee;

(h) interfering with or encouraging termination of any legitimate personal relationship of a client, or interfering with a therapeutic relationship of another counseling professional;

(i) recommending a client discontinue prescribed medication, or failure to provide a supportive environment for a client who is receiving prescribed medication;

(j) failing to make an appropriate referral of a client to another professional when requested to do so by the client, or when the scope of services is beyond the training, experience, or competence of the counselor;

(k) failing to disclose to the client, or prospective client, the fee to be charged for the professional services, or the basis upon which such fees will be computed;

(l) failing to keep the client informed as to the purpose and nature of any evaluation, treatment, or other procedures, and of the client's right to freedom of choice regarding services provided;

(m) accepting gifts or gratuities of significant monetary value or borrowing money from a client or former client within two years after termination of services, except when this is a culturally accepted practice;

(n) misrepresenting the types or status of licensure by performing or holding oneself out as able to perform professional services beyond the counselor's field of competence, or outside the scope of the license, or delegating professional responsibilities to a person not appropriately qualified to provide such services;

(o) committing any dishonest, corrupt, or fraudulent act which is substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the licensee;

(p) discriminating against or refusing professional services to anyone on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or any basis prohibited by law;

(q) conviction of any felony;

(r) conviction of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), or criminal possession of dangerous drugs at any time after issuance of a license, and within the two years preceding an application for licensure;

(s) failing to comply with federal rules and regulations regarding client's rights of confidentiality, throughout the course of treatment and following termination of services;

(t) using mood altering chemicals in a manner adversely affecting work performance, effectiveness, credibility, or professional integrity;

(u) committing a fraudulent act or providing false information in billing insurance companies or other third-party payers, or the exchange of compensation for referral of clients;

(v) providing false or misleading information or documentation in the application or renewal process, or in submission of continuing education information;

(w) failing to provide clients with complete explanation of the purpose of an assessment and limitations regarding content, validity, reliability, and norms for the persons served;

(x) using techniques including automated interpretation services or administering, scoring, or interpreting results of an assessment, without being able to produce appropriate evidence for the content validity of the procedures used in arriving at interpretations;

(y) failing to ensure that assessment results are accurate, detailed, and valid;

(z) encouraging and/or promoting the use of assessment techniques by inappropriately trained or otherwise unqualified individuals through teaching, sponsoring, or supervision;

(aa) exploiting in any manner the professional relationships with clients, former clients, supervisees, or students;

(ab) failing to exercise appropriate supervision over persons who are practicing under the supervision of the licensee;

(ac) entering into a treatment relationship that the licensed addiction counselor knows or reasonably ought to know has the potential to be exploitative in nature, compromises the licensed addiction counselor's objectivity or professional judgment, or creates or increases the risk of harm to the client due to:

(i) a prior association with the client or someone the client knows; or

(ii) knowledge about a client or someone the client knows without disclosing such potential for conflict to a client or potential client, and obtaining the client's consent for treatment despite the existing or potential conflict;

(ad) causing a dual relationship with a client without first ensuring that the client's well-being is not compromised and that no harm occurs as a result of the following:

(i) seeking consultation from supervisors or peers;

(ii) adhering to a credible decision-making process prior to entering the relationship;

(iii) supervision;

(iv) documentation; and

(v) disclosure and written informed consent from the client;

(ae) failing to resolve a treatment relationship that the licensed addiction counselor knows or reasonably ought to know has the potential to be exploitative in nature, compromises the licensed addition counselor's objectivity or professional judgment, or creates or increases the risk of harm to the client;

(af) participating in bartering, unless bartering is considered to be essential for the provision of services negotiated without coercion, and entered into at the client's initiative and with the client's informed consent. Licensees who accept goods or services from clients as payment for professional services assume the full burden of demonstrating that this arrangement will not be detrimental to the client or the professional relationship;

(ag) falsifying or misrepresenting a record of supervision submitted in connection with an application for licensure;

(ah) engaging in the practice of licensed addiction counseling when the licensee's license is inactive, has expired, is terminated, or has been suspended or revoked;

(ai) failing to take reasonable steps to avoid abandoning clients;

(aj) failing to make arrangements for consultation, co-therapy, or referrals in situations where the licensed addiction counselor cannot work effectively with the clients;

(ak) failing to refer clients whose impairment statuses are beyond the scope of the licensed addiction counselor's expertise;

(al) failing to obtain informed consent from the clients regarding their treatment;

(am) failing to create, maintain, disseminate, store, retain, and dispose of client records in an ethical manner that is in accordance with the law;

(an) habitual intemperance or excessive use of an addictive drug, alcohol, or any other substance to the extent the use impairs the user physically or mentally; or

(ao) conviction or violation of a federal or state law regulating the possession, distribution, or use of a controlled substance, as defined by the federal Food and Drug Administration or successors, whether or not an appeal is pending.

History: 37-35-103, 37-35-301, MCA; IMP, 37-1-316, 37-1-410, 37-35-103, 37-35-301, MCA; NEW, 1998 MAR p. 1914, Eff. 7/17/98; TRANS, from Commerce, 2008 MAR p. 380; AMD, 2013 p. 1688, Eff. 9/20/13; AMD, 2014 MAR p. 118, Eff. 1/17/14.

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