A clinical psychologist is generally thought of as a health care provider. A podiatrist is a health care provider. A chiropractor is a health care provider. The status of being a health care provider in Virginia is important because it brings that person within the scope of coverage of the Virginia Medical Malpractice Act which provides certain protections to health care providers. The Virginia medical Malpractice Act sets a cap on how much any person may recover from a health care provider in a civil suit. That is a huge protection. The availability of that protection hinges on whether the person is a health care provider.
Health care providers, in addition, are covered by the HIPPA statute which is a federal statute that provides certain protections to patients in terms of confidentiality. Virginia also has certain laws on patient confidentiality. These laws are designed to preclude the provider from disclosing information to unauthorized persons. In most circumstances the patient must authorize the disclosure of any health care information.
Health care providers in Virginia are held to a standard of reasonable care for the reasonably prudent practitioner. They are not required to be perfect. The fact that a bad result is the outcome of the treatment does not mean that the provider violated the standard of care. That standard of care may be obvious in some cases but it is established through expert testimony from another provider as to what the standard is that should have ben complied with.