clinical social work association

The National Voice of Clinical Social Work 

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  • March 01, 2024 4:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ProPublica is preparing a series on the difficulties with getting access to mental health treatment. They have asked for CSWA’s help in gathering information about this topic.

    If you are open to being a source for them, whether you have had direct experience with denials of care or not, visit their newly published form at this link: It should not take more than 2 minutes to fill out. If you are interested, please complete the form by March 10th.

    Also, please let me know if and when you have sent your information.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
  • February 28, 2024 8:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Social Work Workforce Coalition (a group comprised of various social work leaders across North America) will launch a social work census in March 2024.

    To ensure our demographics and broad range of services and specialties are fully captured, everyone is encouraged to participate. 

    Please visit now to sign up for the census. You will then receive an email when the census opens.

  • January 30, 2024 1:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here is an article in which I was quoted about the Social Work Compact extensively. The article is about the Social Work Compact, not a “single social work license”, but the text is very well done. Please find the article at this link:

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
  • December 04, 2023 9:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) are the largest group of licensed mental health clinicians in the country, working in the public and private sector, providing psychotherapy and counseling on an individual, family and group basis in every state and jurisdiction. The acronyms below are the titles used in each state/ jurisdiction to designate independent clinical social work practice in that state. Here is a list of the number of LCSWs in each state with the exact title used in that state. This data was collected from state social work Boards and administrators in November, 2023. All LCSWs have requirements of two-three years post-graduate supervised experience and have taken a national exam. Most LCSWs are licensed to diagnose all mental health disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5-TR and future editions and to treat these disorders through psychotherapy when appropriate.

  • 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 

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