Mental Health and the Law Conference – 2015




Who Should Attend:

Psychologists, physicians, and attorneys will find this conference helpful in understanding the various dilemmas encountered in mental health and the law, as well as for both personal and professional growth. This includes all mental health and healthcare professionals, administrators, court administrators, legal professionals, law enforcement officers, as well as students in these fields.

Continuing Education Credits

Burrell Behavioral Health is committed to an ongoing process consisting of formal learning activities that (1) are relevant to psychological practice, education and science, (2) enable psychologists to keep pace with emerging issues and technologies, and (3) allow psychologists to maintain, develop, and increase competencies in order to improve services to the public and enhance contributions to the profession.

Burrell is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Burrell maintains responsibility for the program and its content. This day-long conference is approved for 8.5 hours of continuing education. This workshop is to be considered an intermediate to advanced level of training.

The Greene County Medical Society (GCMS) designates this live educational activity for a maximum of 8.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Missouri State Medical Association through the joint sponsorship of the Greene County Medical Society and Burrell Behavioral Health.

The Greene County Medical Society is accredited by the Missouri State Medical Association to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association has designated this program as approved for 8.5 MCLE, including 2 Ethics.

For questions regarding educational credit please contact Johnelle Ethridge, Education Coordinator at 417-761-5025 or via email at

Accreditation approval only refers to these educational activities and does not imply endorsement of any commercial products by Burrell Behavioral Health or any other participating organization.

Participants will receive statements of credit at the end of the program when all requirements for credit have been met. Satisfactory completion of objectives will occur through program attendance. Therefore contact hours will be given only for hours the participant attends. In order to receive a statement of credit, all participants must sign-in at the registration desk and turn in a completed evaluation form at the end of the program. Continuing education statements will be e-mailed within 30 days to participants who complete and return evaluation forms and sign in on the program roster.

Conference at a Glance

Thursday, September 3

7:30 am – 8:00 am Registration Opens
7:30 am – 5:00 pm Exhibits Open
8:00 am – 8:15 am Welcome
8:15 am –10:15 am Morning Plenary
10:30 am – 12:00 noon Late Morning Plenary
12:00 noon – 1:00 pm Lunch (provided)
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Afternoon workshops

Morning Plenary Events

Welcome Address

Senator Bob Dixon

8:00 to 8:15 a.m.

Morning Plenary – Putting “Counselor at Law” Back into the Legal and Healthcare Professions

Michael Merrigan, JD

8:15 to 10:15 a.m.
Arizona/Georgia Room

There are shades of psychology/sociology in every legal and healthcare practice. Those who are most successful have likely learned how to interact with people in a means that accommodates and facilitates a flow of information and an active role in problem solving. As professionals, we encounter a wide variety of people and situations in our practices – and, it is how we respond to these variances that in the end determines outcomes. Some believe that “Attorney and Counselor at Law” is redundant. Frankly, most want a counselor so they don’t need an attorney. As healthcare providers, we take oaths to be of service to others and to do no harm. In practice, it’s important to remember that if your action makes you relevant, so does your inaction. A failure to act may be as harmful as taking the wrong course of action. This workshop will explore what it means to get in the game as an agent with your clients and patients, and utilizing your license as another way to serve.
Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. Describe the ethical practice of law and the role of “counselor;”
2. Describe the ethical practice of healthcare and the role of “counselor;”
3. Explain the term “practical wisdom” and how it applies to your practice; and
4. Discuss client and patient needs for effective counsel, representation, and guidance.


Mid-Morning Plenary – Identifying the Troubled Professional

Christina A. Pietz, PhD, ABPP

10:30 to 12:00 noon
Arizona/Georgia Room

Whether you are in healthcare, the legal, or the mental health field, you are likely working long hours with incredible amounts of stress at times. These two factors impact neurobehavioral functioning, including reaction time, difficulty staying focused, compromised problem solving, memory lapses, poor communication, and slowed or faulty information processing and poor judgment. People often think that if you are a real professional, you won’t suffer the effects of fatigue or stress. That is simply not the case. These are biological events. There is no amount of professionalism, skill, or being a good physician, attorney or psychologist that will overcome a biological trait. Identifying a colleague or even a client/patient in trouble is generally not difficult. There are certain signs that trigger almost natural concern. However, our interpersonal relationships with colleagues and roles as professionals often make us hesitant to intervene, and even if we did, what would we say? This workshop will explore identifying the troubled professional and provide recommendations on what to do once that identification has been made.
Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. List the warning signs of the troubled professional;
2. List the symptoms often seen in the potentially suicidal professional;
3. Discuss possible treatment referrals; and
4. Analyze the United States Supreme Court decision in Jaffe v. Redmond, that governs the confidentiality of patients receiving mental health treatment.


Lunch and Panel Presentation

Panel Presenters: Kathryn Boone, LPC; Abby Welytok, JD; Frank Cottey, JD; and Doug Guccione

Moderator: Mike Merrigan, JD

12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Enjoy a fabulous meal with fabulous people. These inspiring panel presenters will provide a brief introduction about themselves and their personal experiences with behavioral health from both a personal and professional perspective. Time permitting, a question and answer session will follow.


Afternoon Workshops


A. Steven Frankel, PhD, JD, ABPP

1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Iowa Room

For attorneys and mental health professionals: collisions, derisions, partitions and conditions in the Law/Psych interface: working together, with and against each other. This workshop addresses ways in which ethical and professional issues arise between attorneys and mental health professionals.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. State at least two forms of legal errors made in the context of joint practice between legal and mental health professionals;
2. State at least two forms of mental health professional errors made in the context of joint practice between legal and mental health professionals; and
3. List two ways in which the above errors may be prevented.


Guardianships, Holds and Other Legal Issues Involving Mental Disorders and Mental Illness

Judge Doug Bacon

1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Nebraska Room

This presentation will focus on Missouri’s statutory and legal options and obligations regarding individuals with mental disorders and mental illness. The issues can range from substance abuse to organic and other emotional impairments. The presentation will also address the appointments of guardians, and the role of guardians, as well as what are referred to as 96-hour and 21-day holds.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. Explain the difference between mental disorders and mental illness;
2. Discuss the role of the judiciary in addressing individuals with mental disorders and impairments; and
3. Define the scope and role of guardians.


The Psychological Autopsy

Paul Thomlinson, PhD

2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Nebraska Room

This workshop will provide participants with an introduction and overview of the purpose, goals, and methods of the psychological autopsy, which is an approach aimed at better understanding cases of completed suicide or suspected suicide. The presentation will be based on materials used in the certification training prepared by the American Association of Suicidology.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. Explain the rationale for conducting psychological autopsies, including reference to the historical development of the method, as well as the specific purposes of such reviews;
2. Recount a series of defensible decision criteria leading to a ruling of probable suicide;
3. Explain the use of the IS PATH WARM tool developed by the American Association of Suicidology as a way to potentially prevent suicide attempts, as well as to better understand risk factors in place in a retrospective, post-mortem review; and
4. Apply the basics of the psychological autopsy method to a case study.


Practice Dilemmas and How to Resolve Them

Andrew B. Israel, MSW, JD

2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Georgia Room

Mental health, legal and healthcare professionals are faced every day with making practice decisions involving ethical, cultural, moral, legal, regional, and personal considerations. This workshop presents participants with a straightforward system for resolving practice dilemmas efficiently through a structured application of essential legal principles. Unlike other decision making frameworks that approach problem solving either from a purely ethical or legal perspective, the system presented offers a unified perspective that stresses the integration of fundamental legal, ethical, cultural and pragmatic factors influencing practice.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. Describe the elements of a law-based framework for the simplification and streamlining of professional decision making;
2. Identify specific examples of the framework’s application in case scenarios and dilemmas displaying cross-cultural practice problems;
3. Through group involvement, apply the framework in the resolution of problems presented by participants during the workshop; and
4. Explain the basic common law principles that can be applied daily by professionals and administrators in the resolution of practice dilemmas.


The Emergency Department –Where It Often All Begins

Stephanie Lewis, MD, FACEP

2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Arizona Room

Emergency department (ED) health care professionals often care for patients with previously diagnosed psychiatric illnesses who are ill, injured, or having a behavioral crisis. ED health care professionals also need to identify and manage patients with previously undiagnosed and/or undetected conditions such as suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, psychosis, substance use and abuse, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This workshop will address the roles that the ED and ED health care professionals play in emergency mental health care. Patients who arrive with a psychiatric emergency require a rapid, thoughtful response by the ED team to assess the degree of stress and safety of the patient, provide medical stabilization, and use specific interventions to alleviate symptoms and increase safety for the patient and ED staff and other patients. Triage involves special considerations in this population, and often requires more resources than many medical or trauma patients, and is also made more difficult with legal issues that are presented simultaneously with the admission (e.g. guardianship, law enforcement involvement, and HIPAA regulations).Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. Describe the Emergency Department’s role in behavioral health issues;
2. List the differential diagnosis commonly addressed in the ER setting and describe the special issues associated with those diagnosis; and
3. Discuss the special measures ER physicians take with behavior and attendant legal issues.


Professionals are NOT Always Professional

Robert Bondurant, RN, LCSW

3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Nebraska Room

In addition to working with substance abuse and mental illness, behavioral issues such as boundary violations and disruptive behavior are also a major concern. The first involves inappropriate dual relationships with clients. The second is angry, intimidating and demoralizing actions toward colleagues, staff and clients. While the Missouri Physicians Health Program exclusively deals with these issues in physicians, it is also quite prevalent in other professions.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. Describe how to identify and intervene with individuals having substance abuse issues and/or mental illness symptoms;
2. Define and describe boundary issues;
3. Define and describe disruptive behavior; and
4. Explain the role of personality disorders in working professionals.


Comprehensive Care for Complex Patients

A. Steven Frankel, PhD, JD, ABPP and Paul Thomlinson, PhD

3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Iowa Room

“Complex patients” are a sizeable population who generally require disproportionate attention for their management and respond poorly to treatment. Their systemic medical, psychiatric and personal needs have a tendency to drain or exceed the capabilities of those who treat them while over-utilizing health care resources. As this patient population grows, we move ever closer to a crisis in health care delivery. This workshop examines an innovative team-based approach for assessing and managing diagnostically complex and management intensive patients. This model improves patient care while providing for the containment of costs by reducing redundancy and curbing excess in the use of services. Other benefits include improved diagnostic accuracy and decision making, as well as better communication among physicians and allied health professionals.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. Explain the advantages of a team-based approach for assessing and managing diagnostically complex patients;
2. Describe how an integrated model improves patient outcomes; and
3. List the essential phases of a successful integrated model as well as potential pitfalls and risks.


Diminished Capacity

Fred Ulam, PhD

4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Nebraska Room

Questions regarding mental capacity of adults are frequently encountered in the course of professional practice for physicians, psychologists and attorneys. Decisions regarding an individual’s ability to competently engage in various crucial aspects of independent living can be extremely challenging. Given that recommendations regarding diminished capacity almost invariably involve restriction of the rights of another person, it is incumbent upon professionals who make these recommendations to exercise the greatest of care in arriving at their determination. In this workshop, multiple forms of capacity will be considered, along with specific procedures for assessing them. The importance of psychological and neuropsychological evaluations in reaching conclusions will be emphasized.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. Identify at least three of the major forms of capacity commonly assessed;
2. List common conditions, and associated symptoms, that indicate the need for capacity assessments; and
3. Assess when psychological or neuropsychological testing may be of value in making capacity determinations.


HIPAA – Lessons Learned (The HIPAA compliant subpoena, identifying protections as well as common pitfalls, etc.)

Abby Welytok, JD

4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Arizona Room

For most non-healthcare professionals (and even some healthcare professionals), HIPAA is a mysterious set of regulations that seemingly can impact many non-healthcare related situations. The key is understanding when HIPAA is implicated and how it applies to the outside-of-the-hospital world. After looking at the basics of HIPAA’s application to many fields of practice, we will examine how it affects the information healthcare professionals can and should release to others and on what basis that information can be released. Finally, we will look at ways in which attorneys and others can best get the material they need when there are healthcare components to needed information.

Specific Goals and Learning Objectives:

1. Explain the basics of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and its amendments;
2. Explain how HIPAA affects your interactions with healthcare professionals and their interactions with non-healthcare professionals:

a. Law Enforcement
b. Attorneys
c. Healthcare Professionals
d. Others; and

3. Describe how to draft a HIPAA compliant subpoena, consent and request for release of information.



Judge Doug Bacon, JD

is an Associate Circuit Judge in Christian County, Ozark, Missouri. He was elected to the bench in 2014, and started his term on January 1, 2015. Prior to that time, he served as a practicing attorney and prosecutor, handling a wide variety of cases throughout Greene and Christian County. He served as a prosecutor for the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, the Christian County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Springfield City Prosecutor’s Office. He received his undergraduate degree from Missouri State University, and his law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1995.


Robert Bondurant, RN, LCSW

is the Executive Director for the Missouri Physicians Health Program, operated by the Missouri State Medical Association, and based in St. Louis, Missouri. He obtained his MSW at the St. Louis University and his Associates degree of nursing at St. Louis Community College. Mr. Bondurant has served as the Executive Director for 21 years. In this role he has managed the statewide monitoring program for physicians impaired by chemical dependence, mental illness, sexual boundary issues and behavioral problems. Bob has managed and conducted interventions and has provided advocacy on the behalf of physician clients to all professional regulatory agencies. He also has a private practice conducting interventions nationwide. Additionally, Mr. Bondurant was an adjunct professor of Social Work for Clinical Field Instruction for both St. Louis University and Washington University Schools of Social Service. He has been an invited speaker to several hundred professional meetings and conferences. Mr. Bondurant has a rich background in human services, working as both a licensed clinical social worker, a registered nurse, and in the corrections field.


Kathryn Boone, LPC

is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Springfield, Missouri. She has been in practice for 25 years, and has worked with numerous families and individuals. Having heard numerous stories of hurt, trauma, anxiety, depression and anger, her observation is that at the heart of the stories is a foundational wound, or the wound of “not good enough.” Kathryn’s own over-active shame has been a frequent issue throughout her personal and professional life. She will share her personal journey, including her recent book, Enough! Finding the Connection to Your Essential Self Worth.


Frank Cottey, JD

is an accomplished attorney in Springfield, Missouri, handling complex claims and litigation throughout Missouri for more than 25 years. He is also a frequent mediator. Frank’s personal and professional life reached a breaking point a number of years ago, and his addiction to alcohol nearly ended his life. Frank will share his story of self-medication and recovery.


Steven Frankel, PhD, JD, ABPP

is a clinical psychologist, an Attorney at Law, a Diplomat in both Clinical and Forensic Psychology, and a Clinical Professor of Psychology at USC. He received the USC Award for Teaching Excellence early in his academic career. He was similarly honored by his state professional society some years later. He has spoken at local,national and international conferences on trauma and dissociation and his full-day continuing education curriculum in law and ethics for mental health professionals (over 50 workshops/year) has earned him his latest Outstanding Teacher Award. An Adjunct Professor of Law at Golden Gate University School of Law, he has taught courses on healthcare policy, mental disorders and the law and regulation of healthcare practice.


Doug Guccione

is an accomplished businessman who settled with his wife, Mary, in Springfield Missouri several years ago. Doug and Mary ran the celebrated Sorella’s Table in Springfield. He currently works for one of the few remaining Missouri-owned grocery chains in Missouri. Unbeknownst to many for years, Doug dealt with the personal heartache of having a child addicted to drugs. Doug and Mary later reached out to the community to assist with their struggle and the struggle faced by many other families, and faced further setbacks when people were unwilling to accept their insight and recommendations.


Andrew B. Israel, MSW, JD

is Professor and Interim Dean at New Mexico Highlands University School of Social Work. Prior to his teaching career, he practiced law in New Mexico, mainly in the areas of civil rights, child welfare, and family law, and is a past director of the State Bar of New Mexico Section on Public Law. He is both a licensed attorney and social worker and is active as a researcher, lecturer, and consultant in the areas of forensic mental health issues and law-based decision making in the mental health professions. He is the author of Applied Law in the Behavioral Health Professions (Peter Lang, 2002) and Using the Law: Practical Decision Making in Mental Health (Lyceum, 2010). He is also the webmaster of, a website devoted to the discussion and resolution of mental health legal and ethical practice dilemmas.


Stephanie Lewis, MD, FACEP

has been an Emergency Physician with Mercy Emergency Trauma Center since 2004. She is board certified in her specialty and has been a fellow of the American College of Emergency Medicine since 2005. She has had various leadership positions while at Mercy including serving on Mercy Clinic Board of Directors and Medical Director for Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Prior to Springfield, she was a teaching attending at Covenant Health Care Emergency Care Center, in Saginaw, MI, with a Michigan State University based emergency medicine residency program. She did her Residency training at Saginaw Cooperative Hospitals/Michigan State University in Saginaw, Michigan. Dr. Lewis attended medical school at Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica, West Indies. She is an active member of the Wilderness Medical Society and enjoys many outdoor activities such as camping and running. She is married and has 2 young boys.


Michael Merrigan, MBA, JD

has been a full-time Clinical Assistant Professor at Missouri State University for the past two years and was recently appointed to serve as the program coordinator of the Masters in Health Administration (MHA) program. He teaches a number of courses in the MHA program in the areas of Human Resource Management, Organizational Behavior and Leadership Development. Each of his courses includes business ethics and ethical decision-making, and he has spoken to a number of community businesses and organizations on these topics. Prior to joining Missouri State, he served as Senior Vice-President and Regional General Counsel for Mercy Health for over twenty (20) years. During that time he was part of a leadership team that saw extensive growth of Mercy Health Springfield, which has been consistently ranked as one of top integrated healthcare systems in the country. In addition to his legal duties, he oversaw the day to day operations of the Mercy Medical Research Institute, assisted with the Risk Management and Compliance programs and provided backup call to the medical ethicist. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law and his Masters in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota.


Christina A. Pietz, PhD, ABPP

worked as a forensic psychologist at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners for over 24 years In this capacity, she conducted a wide range of criminal forensic evaluations for federal courts, military courts, and state courts. She is board certified in forensic psychology (ABPP). She has qualified as an expert witness in federal and state courts throughout the United States. She has extensive experience preparing court ordered reports and testifying as an expert witness. Dr. Pietz is the past president of the American Board of Forensic Psychology. Recently, she rejoined the Board as the Maintenance of Certification representative. She is also a member of the Examination Faculty for the American Board of Forensic Psychology. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) and the representative to the ethics committee for the ABPP. Dr. Pietz holds teaching positions at The School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute and Drury University. She maintains an independent private practice at Burrell Behavioral Health conducting forensic evaluations. She has provided training and supervision to practicum students, psychology interns, and postdoctoral fellows. Recently, she edited a book entitled Violent Offenders: Understanding and Assessment.


Paul Thomlinson, PhD

is a licensed psychologist with specialties in organizational, clinical, and experimental psychology, and serves as a Vice President for Burrell Behavioral Health. He obtained bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology from Southwest Baptist University, and went on to earn the M.A. degree in General/Experimental Psychology, and the Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, both from the University of Southern Mississippi. Subsequently, Dr. Thomlinson completed a post-doctoral respecialization in Clinical Psychology and holds the license to practice as a psychologist in the state of Missouri. He has been on the faculties of several universities and graduate schools, including Union University, Webster University, SBU, Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, the University of Phoenix, and Central Michigan University, and is a regular contributor to the professional psychological literature and to national and international conferences. He has been the architect and chief grant writer responsible for nearly $60 million in funding for the Springfield area. Some of his other interests include playing guitar, singing, songwriting, recording, traveling almost anywhere, mountain hiking, reading, and watching great movies. He is married to Melodie Thomlinson, and has three beautiful children, Sarah, Aidan, and Presley.


Fred Ulam, PhD

has been engaged in the practice of clinical neuropsychology for the past 30 years. This practice has included work in inpatient hospital and rehabilitation settings, and in outpatient clinics. A portion of his practice, throughout his career, has involved medical-legal consultations, in personal injury and competence cases. Dr. Ulam is also involved in the broader field of applied neuroscience, with research endeavors emphasizing the development of noninvasive methods for treating brain dysfunction.


Abby Welytok, JD

is the Assistant Compliance Officer for the CoxHealth system and the Compliance Officer for Cox Medical Center Branson. Although licensed to practice law in both Missouri and Arkansas, Ms. Welytok does not specifically focus on legal issues as part of her job duties. Her areas of focus are HIPAA, EMTALA (the Emergency Medical Transfer and Active Labor Act), ethics, the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute, Medicare/Medicaid billing and compliance issues, physician compensation, property management and leasing, and the concomitant related policies and procedures for the CoxHealth organization. Further, she provides HIPAA and Compliance education to new employees at CoxHealth, to healthcare students at Cox College and Missouri State University, to area law enforcement organizations, and to other not-for-profit organizations. Ms. Welytok received her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2000, and her juris doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2003. Prior to joining CoxHealth, she worked for the Southern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals for both Judges Robert S. Barney and William Francis. She is a member of the Missouri Bar Association, the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, the American Health Lawyers Association, the Arkansas Bar Association, the Missouri Hospital Association and is the current President of the Springfield Ballet.

Hotel Reservations

RamadaMental Health and the Law Conference will be held at the University Plaza Hotel Convention Center, Springfield, Missouri

Located in the heart of downtown Springfield – surrounded by great restaurants, lounges and coffee shops – this first class hotel has terrific resort-style amenities like a fitness center, whirlpool, sundeck and indoor and outdoor pools.

Special Room Rates

We have special room rates for conference at $89 (plus applicable taxes) single/double.

Call the reservations department at 417.864.7333 and be sure to ask for the Burrell Mental Health and the Law conference block to receive the discounted conference rate.

Click here to make your reservations now, and use online booking code BBHMH for the discounted rate option

NOTE: Rooms at the special rate are subject to availability and sell out quickly! Hotel reservations are separate from conference registration and must be booked and paid for separately.

University Plaza

See their website and take a tour of the hotel at:

University Plaza Hotel
333 John Q. Hammons Parkway
Springfield MO 65806

Hotel Phone: 417.864.7333
Hotel Fax: 417.831.5893