Therapists, if you are not already aware, there is a website called CareDash that has created unauthorized profiles of thousands of mental health providers. The information posted is often inaccurate, and most colleagues I have spoken with were not aware that they were featured on the site before I told them.
My own profile lists me as an unlicensed, masters-level clinician in Massachusetts. I have not practiced in Massachusetts since 2013. It indicates that I specialize in anger management, eating disorders, and infidelity, none of which falls under my scope of practice. It also apparently lists me as a life coach.
Not only is the information about my practice inaccurate, but there is an option to request an appointment with me. This link does not lead to my practice – it leads to Better Help’s website. So, CareDash is pulling a bait-and-switch, using my name and reputation to funnel traffic to Better Help.
Let’s unpack everything that is wrong with this.
- A client seeking treatment is going to get inaccurate information about my practice. If they manage to get directed to me, they will waste valuable time and energy seeking services that I do not offer. This creates more steps and barriers in connecting them to the provider who can actually help them.
- This creates an administrative burden on me, since I have to then find an appropriate referral for the client, taking time and energy away from my other clients.
- A client seeking treatment who might actually benefit from my services could easily be routed to a different provider who is not a good fit for their needs. Clients seeking me out specifically are getting routed to Better Help instead of my practice.
- CareDash and Better Help are falsely marketing my services to get traffic and referrals for themselves.
- Since CareDash is misrepresenting my credentials, I am ethically “on the hook” for being falsely represented, per my ethics code.
CareDash’s website states that they will not take directory listings down because the information posted is through the NPI database and therefore “freely available.” Regarding complaints about misrepresentation, they state that you can “claim” your profile and update it. However, they will still use your name and accurate credentials to promote Better Help’s services.
I for one will not “claim” a directory listing on a website with unethical practices because doing so implies that I condone that directory.
I have reached out to CareDash demanding that they remove my profile but do not anticipate that they will comply. I have also reached out to my licensing boards to make them aware of the situation, let them know that I have taken steps to correct the ethical problem of misrepresenting my credentials, and to ask them to reach out to other psychologists to let them know that they might also be misrepresented on CareDash.
A PDF of my letter is below. I welcome any professional misrepresented on CareDash’s “directory” to use it as a template in contacting their own licensing board. I would hate for someone to have to waste time responding to a board complaint about misrepresentation they did not consent to or did not know was happening.
I also strongly encourage therapists to see if they are listed on CareDash. If you are, contact them demanding that your listing be taken down. My hope is that, with enough pressure, we can force their hand on ending this unethical and illegal “directory.”
Edit to Add
My friend and colleague, Stefani Goerlich, LMSW, put together a Google document for specific steps therapists can take when they find these fraudulent directory pages! This is not specific to CareDash and can be used with any website that surfaces with inaccurate information about your practice.
The document that Stefani put together is available here. Thank you, Stefani, for sharing!