Psych Crime Reporter

May 31, 2012

Arizona social worker Alfred Dodini surrenders license over interference in custody matter, recordkeeping failures, etc.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 1:42 pm

On August 1, 2011, the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners accepted the surrender of licensed clinical social worker Alfred Dodini’s license. The surrender is deemed a revocation.

The Board’s disciplinary document on Dodini covers a number of issues, including his treatment of a 12-year-old boy with behavioral issues related to marital problems between his parents. In this case, Dodini failed to perform a suicide risk assessment on the father, who repeatedly threatened to commit suicide and admitted to suicidal ideation.

Dodini wrote a letter to the court identifying the father as a client, though the father had never signed a release of information authorization. Dodini failed to file a report with child protective services after receiving a report that the father hit his son. Following the mother filing for divorce, Dodini communicated with the custody evaluator and advised them that the mother might be experiencing aspects of schizophrenia, even though the mother had never been his patient. He threatened to disclose personal damaging information about the mother and her son to the licensing board if she proceeded to file a complaint against him. He failed to keep separate patient records on the son and the father, intermingling their progress notes together and he failed to document important aspects of their treatment.

The Board’s document details Dodini’s conduct in another family divorce-custody case in which, among other things, he refused to release a minor patient’s records to the father and numerous documentation failures.

Source: Entry on Alfred Dodini, Adverse Action Tracking Form, Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners, 2011.

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4 Comments »

  1. There are a number of incorrect statements in this post including: (1) a suicide assessment was done and a safety plan agreed upon and successfully implemented. The problem was that it was only mentioned in the progress notes briefly and no additional documentation occurred; (2) the letter to the court was written upon request by the client and with his full knowledge and approval. The problem was that we forgot to sign a release form; (3) a report to child protective services was made and acknowledged in correspondence with the mother. Since CPS did not accept the referral, the intake person told me I did not have to provide identifying information. The problem was that Arizona statutes require a written report to CPS following up on the verbal report made on the phone. I was not aware of that requirement and failed to do that. (4) the information regarding the mother’s mental health history was provided by the mother herself at the time of intake for her son. I also had many hours of interaction with the mother and the court ordered her to sign a release so I could provide any pertinent information to the custody evaluators; (5) in an email to the mother I encouraged her to talk with me about any concerns she had. She made derogatory statements about me during the divorce trial and had accused me of alienating the relationship between herself and and her son when in reality, her various actions has caused egregious harm to that relationship. The custody evaluators mentioned in their report to the court about my efforts to reconcile the relationship between the mother and her son in spite of all that the mother had done to harm it. In the divorce decree the judge made mention of what both parents had done to damage the parent-child relationship. My letter warned the mother that a board hearing would likely involve releasing more information about what the mother had done that could further alienate her relationship with her son. Since I had no previous experience with any kind of board disciplinary hearings, I was concerned that the son might be exposed to that additional information. No mention of any “personal damaging information” about the son was ever made in the email nor was it implied in any way because there was none. The boy was an innocent victim of his parents’ bad choices. After the divorce the mother went after me, the custody evaluators and the judge in the case because she was not given custody of the son in the divorce;(6) The second divorce/custody case involved a court order that reports on the child’s therapy be shared ONLY with the court and not with either parent. Also, the father (who filed the complaint just prior to the final divorce hearing in an effort to invalidate my report and who lost custody of all three children because his years of poor choices) never provided me with a properly written request for a copy of the files. Other than a threatening phone message where he threatened to come to my office and forcibly take the files, there was no other contact. I understand that Federal HIPPA law requires a written and signed request for files before they can be released. I never received one

    There is a list of violations of procedures by the licensing board investigator and board members who at one point in the initial hearing had to stop the proceedings and call the investigator on the phone to bring them a copy of one of the files. Not only had they not bothered to read all of the supporting information I provided, they had not even received a copy of the file from the investigator. Information was provided that refuted some of the allegations and was ignored and not even acknowledged by the investigator and board members.The Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners has a long history of being one of the most punitive and Draconian licensing organizations in the country to the point where the governor began attending some of the hearings to see why so many people had complained about them. The decision to surrender my license was made after consulting with an attorney who has many years of similar experiences with this board.

    Comment by Alfred Dodini — June 12, 2012 @ 10:44 am | Reply

    • Well, take it up with the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners, Mr. Dodini. They are the source of the information. I see you surrendered you license so, really, what does it matter?

      Sue

      Comment by Psych Crime Reporter — June 14, 2012 @ 2:01 pm | Reply

      • Sue, I can see that you and the Board play by the Golden Rule —- He who has the gold makes all the rules. As it stands, the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners gets to interpret those rules as well. Judge and jury is a powerful position to be in when wisdom, restraint, and, in the case of Dr. Dodini, common sense are not exercised. It appears that Dr. Dodini did all that he could with the Board. It fell on deaf ears. A complaint was filed, a preformed conclusion was made, and the witch hunt began. It is no wonder why fewer and fewer therapists are willing to get involved with court/custody cases. I understand how these proceedings transpired and no one would have been able to escape the wrath of the Board. As a Psych Crime Reporter, you may have the power to keep something like this from happening again to another competent therapist. However, if the Board keeps up this mode of operation they will successfully run out of business all of the good ones, and the children who need protection and counseling will have nowhere to turn. In the course of my own divorce, I have met with 3 therapists, 2 Mediators, and 2 Evaluators. There are good ones and bad ones. Competent and incompetent ones. Ones that have their own agenda and ones that look out for the best interest of the child regardless of the circumstances. In the case of Dr. Dodini, the Board successfully beat down and ran out of business one of the good and competent ones. Instead of sanctioning Dr. Dodini and diplomatically stripping him of his license, the Board should consider sanctioning itself, reevaluating the case, and reinstating Dr. Dodini’s license.

        Comment by Jon — October 22, 2013 @ 10:13 am

      • Jon,

        As far as I am concerned, the fewer mental health “professionals” in the family court system (hell, in the legal system in general), the better. Judges can and should judge cases on the facts, not on opinions–and that is what psych “expert witnesses” and evaluators provide: opinions. And they will provide the opinion they are paid to provide. They only muddy up the legal water and need to be removed entirely.

        So, sorry: I won’t be doing anything about preventing anything like this happening to another therapist like Mr. Dodini.

        You should take up your concerns with the AZBBHE, not me. All I do is summarize health care licensing boards’ reports so that general public can understand them.

        Sincerely,

        Sue

        Comment by Psych Crime Reporter — October 28, 2013 @ 9:02 pm


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