The Clinical Social Work Association mission - Identity, Integrity, and Parity - guides our advocacy. This year our advocacy priorities, in order of importance, are:
1. *Medicare LCSW Review by Global Tech – the review of 10,000 LCSWs who are Medicare providers has become a major priority for CSWA since it began on August 13. We are working to contact Medicare leadership (and NASW) to explain the many inaccuracies in the letter sent by Medicare.
2. *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.
3. *Tricare/Humana Changes – the implementation of Humana as the administrator for the eastern states has led to some serious concerns about how well the Health Defense Agency will provide mental health services through Tricare. CSWA is working with the military and our members to see how the Humana administration is working.
4. Immigrant Families – the crisis of separating immigrant parents and children has been a major concern of CSWA. We have worked with several organizations, notable the Psychotherapy Action Network, to stop the cruel policies that were implemented by the current administration.
5. *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.
6. *Implementation of Mental Health Parity – federal mental health parity laws have not changed the denials of care or restrictions on care that have plagued mental health clinicians for decades. The primary obstacle is that insurers do not allow licensed clinicians to make clinical decisions about mental health treatment. Collaborative efforts with other mental health groups are a key to success.
7. *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.
8. *Degradation of Psychotherapy for Treatment of Chronic Disorders – over decades emotional disorders that require long term treatment have been denied coverage by many insurers. Even with the passage of mental health parity, personality disorders, dysthymia, and anxiety disorders are covered as if crisis management is the only need for treatment that should be covered. Using parity, legal means, and our own expert judgment to make true mental health treatment a reality has been a primary goal.
9. 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.
10. Telemental Health Development and Confidentiality– the rise of telemental health psychotherapy is a complicated issue that raises clinical and regulatory concerns. Developing telemental health delivery systems that provide the level of confidentiality needed is a goal.
11. Online MSW Education – the rise of online asynchronous MSW programs is cause for concern. The ability to teach students how learn the way to create human connections and understand the complex experience of each individual is gravely undermined if there is no direct contact with faculty, fellow students, and, in some schools, clients.
* = major priorities