What is The Trust Advocate 800 Program?
The Trust Advocate 800 Program is intended to help those individuals insured through the Trust Sponsored Professional Liability Insurance Program to avoid or reduce the risk of malpractice actions and disciplinary complaints. The principal service of The Trust Advocate 800 Program is the availability of clinical and legal risk management consultation from a licensed psychologist with extensive legal and risk management experience to those individuals insured through the Trust sponsored Professional Liability program.
The Trust Advocate 800 Program also includes a preventative educational
component which will provide
CE workshops, newsletter articles, and other risk management
products and services designed to heighten recognition of
high risk situations and general risk management strategies.
Who should use The Trust Advocate 800 Program?
The Trust Advocate 800 Program is designed to assist psychologists insured
through the Trust Sponsored Professional Liability Insurance Program
who are confronting a problem which currently has, or may
have, legal or ethical ramifications for their day-to-day
practice. The question may be generic or specific. In
addition, psychologists who believe that they are at high
risk of a suit or who have been notified of circumstances
that might result in a suit but who have not, as of that
time, been assigned an attorney by the insurance carrier
should contact The Trust Advocate 800 Program for
consultation on procedures to reduce the possibility of a
suit or to control potential damages.
How do I use the service?
Call The Trust Advocate 800 Number (1-800-477-1200) at the first sign of
a potential problem. If you wait until the problem has
developed it is much harder to limit the potential damage.
Remember, in risk management, there is no such thing as a
"stupid" or unnecessary call. Your call will be
answered by a member of the Trust staff who will record some
basic information and will schedule an appointment for the
Risk Management Consultant to call you back. When the
Consultant calls, be prepared to discuss the issues in some
detail. Have your case files and other related documents
readily available. In complex situations, the Consultation
may include a recommendation that you consult with an
attorney or a clinical consultant.
What types of issues are covered and what are excluded?
The Trust Advocate 800 Program is limited to issues that are subject to
coverage under the Trust Sponsored Professional Liability Insurance
Program. This includes, but is not limited to, questions
- minor children, parents,
divorce, custody issues or problematic patients;
- confidentiality and its
exceptions; including duty to protect, suicidal
client, mandated reporting of child abuse, bill
- forensic issues and court
involvement, including expert testimony;
- employment related
- conflicts between managed
care demands and responsibilities to patients,
including certain contractual provisions of managed
- responding to complaints
before licensing boards and ethics committees ;
- potential conflicts of
interests, multiple relationships, allegations of
- informed consent, record
keeping, access to professional records;
The service is not designed to
provide advice on business questions, such as advantages and
disadvantages of different organizational structures,
anti-trust issues, analysis of business contracts, office
leases and employee-employer relations. The service also is
not designed for consultation on personal legal questions
which are unrelated to professional liability, such as the
purchase of a house, tax matters, and interpretations of a
legal document such as a will. These types of questions
should be addressed by your personal attorney. Questions on
types of insurance, pricing, and coverage issues related to
your professional liability insurance policy should be
addressed to The Trust office (1-800-477-1200).
Other important information about the service.
- The Advocate 800
consultations constitute confidential professional
legal advice and receive the
confidentiality/privilege protection of the
attorney-client relationship. Identifying information
cannot be released without an appropriate signed
release and, with very rare exceptions, cannot be
- While the consultations
represent legal advice, they do not constitute legal
representation or a contract to provide legal
representation. In some cases, follow-up calls may be
recommended, but the Consultant will be the sole
judge of whether such calls are appropriate.
- The Trust staff will
request basic information from each caller as part of
the initial intake process. Only aggregate case
information about the problem raised will be supplied
by the Consultant to The Trust.
The Trust Advocate 800 Consultant.
Eric A. Harris, Ed.D., J.D., a
member of the Massachusetts Bar since 1970, received his law
degree from Harvard Law School in 1969 and his Doctorate in
Clinical Psychology and Public Practice from the Harvard
University in 1978. In addition to his part time private
clinical practice since 1982, Dr. Harris has served as a
consultant to the Legal and Regulatory Affairs Division of
the APA Practice Directorate and was Legal Counsel for Choate
Health Management. He is a faculty member at the
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Harris
has served as a member of the APAs Committee for the
Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP), the Committee on
Legal Issues (COLI), the Board of Directors Task Force on
Child Issues, and as Treasurer of Division 31. Dr. Harris
served as the Director of Professional Affairs for the
Massachusetts Psychological Association for 10 years.
Dr. Harris has consulted and
lectured throughout the country on risk management and
managed care. He has represented psychologists before both
ethics committees and state licensing boards and has been a
consultant to both plaintiffs and defendants in mental health