We have been informed that the health care provider review website CareDash.com has created thousands of profiles for mental health providers, including professional counselors, that are not associated with their platform without their consent or knowledge. Profiles of therapists are being created containing content that drives traffic to other online therapy platforms for the monetary gain of CareDash as well as the platforms that enter a financial arrangement with the website. Under their affiliate disclosure, CareDash clearly states, “We support our site with revenue from affiliate links.”
We encourage our members to see if they have a profile on CareDash.com to determine whether there is a profile under their name included. This is also recommended to see if personal information is listed, such as one’s personal home address or phone number. CareDash’s website states under unclaimed profiles, “Please note this data was collected from the public NPPES NPI Registry.” Unless a provider has claimed their profile, the information provided is most likely inaccurate. Inaccurate profiles of professional counselors can be misleading, which does not support the informed decision-making and welfare of the public.
The choice to align oneself with any organization as a professional counselor is a personal choice, as well as an ethical one that must involve a thorough ethical decision-making process. CareDash has removed the ability to consent to having a profile on their website, creating an ethical dilemma for counselors through no fault of their own. Counselors should have the right to choose which organizations they support or are affiliated with in any way. This choice is crucial for counselors to be able to maintain their adherence to the ACA Code of Ethics.
Ensuring the safety and well-being of the general public is also an ethical imperative for counselors. The presence of inaccurate and misleading profiles of professional counselors puts those seeking care and support at risk of harm. The inability to remove their name and information from a website jeopardizes the ability of counselors to protect those seeking care from harm and exploitation.
American Counseling Association members have choices of action steps to take if they choose to do so. We offer these potential action steps for those who are looking to explore their options and to decide what course of action is most appropriate:
ACA cares deeply about the professional reputation, privacy and safety of professional counselors and the entire community of mental health care providers. Because of this, we also encourage our members and all providers of mental health services to complete a broader internet search to identify any other websites that may contain incorrect or personal information.
ACA leadership and governance are currently exploring potential courses of action, and we thank our membership for their patience and their advocacy surrounding this situation.