clinical social work association
The National Voice of Clinical Social Work
Strengthening IDENTITY | Preserving INTEGRITY | Advocating PARITY
Advocacy Priorities for CSWA – 2021 (*=Major)
Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Government Policy and Practice
The Clinical Social Work Association mission - Identity, Integrity, and Parity - guides our advocacy. This year our advocacy priorities, in order of importance, are:
1. *Pass Legislation for Permanent Telemental Health, Including Audio Only, Psychotherapy Coverage – in the time of COVID it is crucial that psychotherapy through videoconferencing and audio-only means continues to be covered by Medicare and private insurers. CSWA will be supporting the many bills in Congress that will make this a reality.
2. *Pass Legislation to Implement Mental Health Parity According to the Wit v. UBH Standards – the huge victory in California against United Behavioral Health, i.e., Wit v. UBH, in 2019 gave mental health policy a shot in the arm and should lead to the long overdue enforcement of mental health parity through Congressional action. CSWA will make this a priority.
3. *Immigrant Families – the crisis created by separating immigrant parents and children has been a special concern of CSWA. We have worked with the Mental Health Liaison Group to stop the cruel policies that were implemented by the outgoing administration. CSWA will continue to work to reunite the 18,600 children still separated from their parents and make DACA individuals permanent US citizens.
4. *Keep Affordable Care Act Intact – the many efforts to repeal ACA are going to harm millions of people who have gained health care as a result of the ACA. All plans which have been proposed to ‘replace’ the ACA will do nothing to lower costs or provide better care. Keeping the ACA intact with some minor tweaks to funding, maintaining the essential benefits, and continuing to expand Medicaid are all a primary goal of CSWA.
5. * Educate Public about Psychotherapy and Text Therapy by LCSWs – text therapy has some value in the way that LCSWs communicate with their patients. Using it to actually provide treatment asynchronously is a way to undermine the value of psychotherapy. CSWA will use our position paper on this topic.
6. *Social Determinants of Health – integrate social issues which contribute to mental health and substance use problems into services covered by LCSWs through Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and commercial insurers. The issues include services related to basic needs like food, shelter, transportation, and special services needed for patients with cognition problems.
7. * Disparities in Mental Health and Substance Use Access to Treatment and Treatment Outcomes – people of color, particularly Black people, have been unable to find adequate mental health and substance use services. Congressional funding for these services to eliminate these disparities is a primary goal of CSWA.
8. Consider the Value of Single Payer – a discussion is developing about the possibility of creating a nationwide health care system. CSWA is still considering the pros and cons of this option, practically and politically, and will be looking at the feasibility of this goal.
9. Treatment of Addiction – increased awareness of addiction and state regulation of endorsement to provide treatment for addiction may require more training in treatment of substance abuse for LCSWs who wish to work in this area.
10. Privileging of Medication over Psychotherapy – over the past 30 years, psychotropic medication has become the primary treatment for emotional distress, recommended by primary care physicians and insurers. Building bridges with PCPs and making psychotherapy a fundamental part of the way that emotional disorders are treated is a major goal.