clinical social work association

The National Voice of Clinical Social Work 

Log in


<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • November 15, 2023 12:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Medicare Advantage – FOLLOW-UP

    November 15, 2023

    The recent communication about Medicare Advantage led to several questions. Please see answers below:

    Will Medicare Advantage reimburse traditional Medicare paneled LCSWs?  Since Medicare Advantage is a separate program from traditional Medicare, it does not reimburse claims for traditional Medicare.

    Why does Medicare Advantage often pay less than traditional Medicare?  Because Medicare Advantage plans are run by commercial insurers, some reimburse at less than traditional Medicare and some at a higher rate. Remember that traditional Medicare rates vary from region to region as well.

    Should LCSWs accept Medicare Advantage, even if rates are lower, because it is all that some people can afford?  Some people think of Medicare Advantage as a midway point between Medicare and Medicaid and want to accept these plans to offer services to lower income patients.

    How can we make Medicare Advantage have reimbursement parity with traditional Medicare?  Medicare Advantage is a completely different system from traditional Medicare with different reimbursement. Medicare Advantage reimbursement has reimbursement governed by commercial insurers; traditional Medicare has reimbursement governed by CMS. While CSWA has advocated for reimbursement parity in traditional Medicare (with medical/surgical reimbursement) and in commercial plans (with medical/surgical), there is no way to create parity between Medicare Advantage and traditional Medicare.

    How can we improve access to mental health treatment in general? There is no one way to accomplish this but the new mental health parity rules and integration of primary care and mental health should help.

    Do LCSWs have to be credentialed with Medicare to be eligible for Medicare Advantage?  No. The reverse is true as well, i.e., LCSWs can be credentialed with Medicare without accepting Medicare Advantage patients.

    Do LCSWs have to be credentialed with the commercial insurer sponsoring the Medicare Advantage plan?  This varies, but in general it is not necessary to be credentialed with a commercial insurer to be reimbursed for a Medicare Advantage plan. Check with each plan.

    How much will Medicare Advantage plans affect Medicare beneficiaries going forward?  Many analysts have said that the Medicare Advantage plans will continue to grow to cover 50-60% of Medicare beneficiaries by 2030.

    Please continue to send questions on Medicare Advantage as they occur.

      Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice

    • November 13, 2023 11:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      What is Medicare Advantage?

      Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have been heavily marketed for the past year or so. LCSWs have had many questions about what the difference is between MA plans and traditional Medicare. This summary of those differences may be helpful in understanding what mental health coverage patients have in these plans and how MA plans may affect coverage overall.

      MA plans, known as Part C plans, are overseen by commercial insurers, i.e., United, Aetna, Cigna, BCBS, etc. The general goal of these plans is to improve profits; this is not different from the other plans that commercial insurers offer. Traditional Medicare, a public plan with Federal oversight, has an interest in keeping costs down balanced with an interest in giving the elderly and disabled reasonable health care. 

      Some Medicare Advantage plans inappropriately delay and deny critical care; have low premiums but then charge exorbitant copays that prevent people from getting care; have limited networks and few providers available; and may have networks with poor quality providers.  Additionally, MA plans do not have the Medigap component that traditional Medicare offers to cover the “gap” that Medicare does not allow for certain conditions, including mental health treatment.

      There is little doubt that the for-profit MA plans will put the needs of their shareholders first. Most Medicare-eligible beneficiaries are drawn to the low premiums and do not read the fine print about the limitations of MA plans. This may happen when there is a health crisis and the limitations on what care is covered by which paneled clinicians becomes suddenly clear.

      According to the Psychotherapy Action Network, “Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans have been demonstrably disadvantageous to people who are sicker. If you have Part C and wait until you are sick to shift over to a Traditional Medicare plan, you may not be able to get a Medigap policy to cover copays and coinsurance, or that premium may be much higher.” 

      How do the MA plans affect mental health treatment coverage? For acute or short-term treatment, the lower premiums may be an advantage. The advantage will disappear in an MA plan if a beneficiary needs long-term psychotherapy. The cost of copays may be so high that the total cost of treatment may be much more expensive. Further, beneficiaries cannot purchase a Medigap policy (which covers co-pays) if MA is their primary insurance.

      There are many articles on what can be done to prevent the “bait-and-switch” approach of MA plans, from lawsuits against commercial insurers to advocating for a single payer health care plan. For now, the best option in the view of CSWA, is to think carefully about the pros and cons of MA plans and traditional Medicare before choosing MA plans. Please contact me if you have any other questions about MA plans.

      Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
    • August 10, 2023 7:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Please see the below link for an editorial written by our Director of Policy and Practice and Board President:

    • July 29, 2023 10:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      For the past year, I have been working on a document with NASW on Clinical Social Work Standards. A draft of this document has been released for public comment. I hope all CSWA members will take a look at it and offer your comments. You can find it at The comment period is open until September 15, 2023.

      This is kind of a condensed version of the Private Practice in Clinical Social Work: A Reference Manual, which I also participated in developing with NASW, released in 2021.

      Please send me your thoughts as well.

      Laura Groshong, LICSW, CSWA Director of Policy and Practice

    • July 12, 2023 2:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Social Work Compact Update - July 12, 2023

      Good news! On July 7th, 2023, Governor Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 670 and Senate Bill 157 making Missouri the first state to enact the Social Work Licensure Compact. This is a milestone development in supporting the mobility of licensed social workers.

      SB 670 was sponsored by Senator Travis Fitzpatrick and Senator Lauren Arthur, and SB 157 was sponsored by Senator Rusty Black.

      The Social Work Licensure Compact seeks to increase public access to social work services, provide licensees with opportunities for multistate practice, support relocating military families, and allow for expanded use of telehealth technologies. Currently, the model compact legislation is available for other states to introduce and enact like Missouri. Thus far there have been nine other states that have introduced: Utah, Kentucky, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Ohio.

      How is the Social Work Compact progressing in your state?

      If you have not reached out to your legislators to let them know about the Compact, please start the process now. You can find the materials to use at  

      Please let me know when you have 1) a pending or passed bill in your state, 2) a legislator who is willing to sponsor the bill, 3) if you need assistance in finding a legislator to sponsor the Compact bill, and/or 4) have talked to NASW about working together to get the Compact going.  

      Let me know when you have any information on the above issues.  

      Many thanks,  

      Laura Groshong, LICSW, CSWA Director of Policy and Practice

    • June 21, 2023 9:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

      Looking for a way to be more involved?

      Organizations that Offer Support for Trans People

      June 2023

      To follow up on our Position Paper released in April, please find resources below that may be helpful in promoting efforts to block anti-trans bills, notably relative to the provision of gender-affirming care.

      • ACLU is one of the main organizations opposing bills to limit trans rights. Below is a link to an effort to protect a trans woman in prison in DC and a map that shows which states have the most bills to limit trans rights:

      • has an excellent list of 100 organizations in all 50 states that are fighting anti-trans rights:

      • has a report on anti-trans legislation in sports:

      • Here and Now on NPR has a discussion of the impact of anti-trans campaigns on the mental health of trans youth in particular:

      • CNN has a graph showing the increase in anti-LGBT bills.  In 2018 there were 42 bills filed in state legislatures; in 2023 there were 412:

      • Here is a newly published article by Allan Barsky, PhD, that offers some ideas about the ethical responsibilities of clinical social workers to oppose anti-trans bills: 

      Barsky, A. E. (2023, June 16). Ethics Alive: Urgent Alert – “Some states have banned gender-affirming care for transgender minors. What are our responsibilities?” The New Social Worker.

        Please let us know if you have other resources that we can share with CSWA members. CSWA will continue our efforts to oppose anti-trans legislation and other harmful practices.

        Contact: Laura Groshong, LICSW, CSWA Director, Policy and Practice 

      • June 08, 2023 12:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        Below are the materials to use to begin lobbying for the creation of the Social Work Compact. They are hopefully self-explanatory but let me know if you need any further information or direction. Please start the process in the next couple weeks. 

        Many thanks,

        Laura Groshong, LICSW, CSWA Director, Policy and Practice 

        Background on SW Compact 6-23

        LCSW Compact - Lobbying 6-23

        SW Compact - Bullet Page 2023
      • June 02, 2023 8:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        Here is some clarifying information about Medicare’s requirement that patients that are being seen through telemental health must have an in-person session every six or twelve months.

        The language from Medicare is as follows: (yellow outline is mine):

        Telehealth includes certain medical or health services that you get from your doctor or other health care provider who's located elsewhere (or in the U.S.) using audio and video communications technology (or audio-only telehealth services in some cases), like your phone or a computer. You can get many of the same services that usually occur in-person as telehealth services, like psychotherapy and office visits.

        Through December 31, 2024, you can get telehealth services at any location in the U.S., including your home. After this period, you must be at an office or medical facility located in a rural area (in the U.S.) for most telehealth services.

        You can get certain Medicare telehealth services without being in a rural health care setting, including:

        • Monthly End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) visits for home dialysis.
        • Services for diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of symptoms of an acute stroke wherever you are, including in a mobile stroke unit.
        • Services to treat a substance use disorder or a co-occurring mental health disorder (sometimes called a "dual disorder"), or for the diagnosis, evaluation or treatment of a mental health disorder in your home. (

        In short, diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders will be covered by traditional Medicare until at least 12/31/24 without an in-person session. Audio only treatment will be covered “in some cases” so more guidance is needed on what the cases are that will be covered.

        Treatment overseen by Medicare Advantage, or commercial insurers, may or may not require in-person sessions, and may or may not cover telemental health or audio only treatment.

        I hope this clarifies the situation for now. Let me know if you need more information.

        Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice 

      • May 25, 2023 3:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        Here is a clarifying announcement from CMS about coding and requirements for in-person meetings. Most of this information was sent last month. There is coding information about audio only which should be followed. Though the information is for rural health clinics it also applies to private practice elsewhere.

        The information can be found at:

        Please let me know if you have any questions.

        All best,

        Laura W. Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice

        Clinical Social Work Association
      • May 01, 2023 6:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        The Aware Advocate

        Telemental Health Coverage When PHE Ends: Part 2

        Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice

        May 1, 2023

        As was noted in the CSWA Announcement of March 16, 2023, “Telemental Health Coverage When PHE Ends” (, there will be changes to clinical social work practice when the Public Health Emergency (PHE) ends on May 11, 2023. This paper elaborates on these additional changes which affect many more areas of practice.

        HIPAA Changes

        As we know, the kinds of video platforms that were allowed to conduct mental health treatment during the pandemic were relaxed. Platforms that did not meet the security requirements of HIPAA including Facetime, Skype, and others which did not provide a Business Associate Agreement (BAA), were accepted by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and not seen as a violation of HIPAA rules. This relaxation will change with the end of the PHE. The relaxation of providing the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) for telemental health will also be back in effect.

        OCR is providing a 90-calendar day transition period for covered health care providers to come back into compliance with the HIPAA Rules with respect to their provision of telehealth. The transition period will be in effect beginning on May 12, 2023 and will expire at 11:59 p.m. on August 9, 2023. OCR will continue to exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties on covered health care providers for noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules that occurs in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the 90-calendar day transition period.

        In other words, by August 9, 2023, all LCSWs will need to demonstrate that they are using a HIPAA compliant platform, e.g., ZoomPro,, and other platforms offer a BAA. OCR has not been penalizing LCSWs for the failure to give a GFE to patients who are self-pay or pro bono.  These penalties will be back in effect as of August 9 if LCSWs are found to be non-compliant.

        For more information go to:

        Changes to Codes and Modifiers for Medicare

        Medicare has added more guidance in regard to codes which will be covered and modifiers needed for coverage. In addition to psychotherapy codes, there are several new codes available to clinical social workers for Behavioral Care Management which would include care integration and other services that have not been covered until now. The code will be G0323 for Care Management Services for Behavioral Health Conditions.

        The details are:
        ● New for CY 2023: Describes general BHI that a clinical psychologist (CP) or clinical social worker (CSW) performs to account for monthly care integration
        ● A CP or CSW, serving as the focal point of care integration furnishes the mental health services
        ● At least 20 minutes of CP or CSW time per calendar month

        Additionally, the modifier for Medicare claims is “GT” though “95” can be used for other claims.  

        For more details go to:


        Medicare Advantage Changes

        Medicare Advantage (MA) plans may offer continued telehealth benefits. Individuals in a Medicare Advantage plan should check with their plan about coverage for telehealth services. Remember that MA plans are commercial insurance and have their own coverage. Some MA plans may require patients to be seen in person at least once a year. After December 31, 2024, when these flexibilities expire, some MA Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) may offer telehealth services that allow primary care doctors to care for patients without an in-person visit, no matter where they live. If your health care provider participates in an ACO, check with them to see what telehealth services may be available. In short, the coverage for MA plans may be more variable than coverage for traditional Medicare.

        For more information, go to:

        Private Health Insurance and Telehealth

        As is currently the case during the PHE, coverage for telehealth and other remote care services will vary by private insurance plan after the end of the PHE. When covered, private insurance may impose cost-sharing, prior authorization, or other forms of medical management on telehealth and other remote care services. For additional information on your insurer’s approach to telehealth, contact your insurer’s customer service number located on the back of your insurance card.


        For more detailed information in general, go to

        The next few months will bring many changes. Let me know if you have any questions.


        Laura Groshong, LICSW,
      << First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 

      PO Box 105
      Granville, Ohio  43023

      Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software