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The National Voice of Clinical Social Work 

Strengthening IDENTITY  | Preserving INTEGRITYAdvocating PARITY

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  • 14 May 2021 10:32 AM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)


    Several members have pointed out the part of the CDC guidance that is aimed at health care providers:

    “The guidance reiterates the need for health care providers to continue using personal protective equipment (PPE) in health care settings. Continuing to use telehealth strategies while maintaining high-quality patient care remains the prudent option in many circumstances.”

    This guidance is likely to apply to hospitals and high-volume medical offices.  In the typical LCSW office, LCSWs are vaccinated, patients are seen one at a time, waiting rooms and restrooms are often still not being used, HEPA filters are still being used in the office, and patients who are not vaccinated are not being seen in person.  Under these circumstances, the risk of passing on COVID-19 by seeing patients in person who are vaccinated is low.

    As noted in the previous post, LCSWs with weakened immune systems should continue to use masks and have patients do so as well, if patients are seen in person.

    Laura W. Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
    Clinical Social Work Association 

    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org 


  • 13 May 2021 4:59 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)


    Today the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced new guidance on the use of masks indoors.  This guidance has a direct impact on the way LCSWs practice psychotherapy.

    The CDC now recommends that people who are fully vaccinated can meet indoors without wearing a mask or physical distancing.  This is a relatively sudden shift from two weeks ago and is reflective of the increased level of vaccination that has occurred,  About 117 million US citizens are now vaccinated and 154 million have received one vaccine dose.  The recent expansion of vaccination for 12-15 year old children will further increase the number of citizens who are vaccinated.  COVID-19 variants should be stopped by the vaccines available.

    There is no mention of whether building air filtration systems or in office HEPA filters are useful.  It may be a good idea to maintain the use of HEPA filters until herd immunity has been reached.

    One factor that may lead to continued use of masks and physical distancing are for people who have immunosuppressed or weakened immune systems from organ transplants, cancer treatment or for other reasons.  This of course applies to us as LCSWs as well as patients.

    Let me know if you have any questions about the recent CDC guidance on protections against COVID-19.

    Laura W. Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
    Clinical Social Work Association
    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org

  • 21 Apr 2021 9:10 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)


    The project sponsored by Department of Defense and Council of State Governments to create an interstate compact for clinical social workers is moving along.  CSWA is one of the three main stakeholders. The formal kickoff will be on May 20 at 2 pm EDT.  All CSWA members are invited to attend.  This meeting is informational but will be helpful in giving an overview of how the project will move forward.

    The event is free but you must register which you can do at https://csg-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUqdOqqpz8jE9JjZpkwTn2_gHKIuCbtRmpN

    To see the original announcement of the event go to https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2537098/dod-receives-approval-for-grants-to-develop-interstate-compacts-for-licensure-p/

    I hope to “see” you at this Zoom event.  Let me know if you have any questions.

    Laura W. Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
    Clinical Social Work Association  lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org

    CSWA
    "The National Voice for Clinical Social Work"
    Strengthening IDENTITY, Preserving INTEGRITY, Advocating PARITY


  • 21 Apr 2021 9:05 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)


    We at CSWA collectively breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as the guilty verdicts for ex-officer Derek Chauvin were read by the judge. We acknowledge the monumental task of the prosecution team, the on-going protests by people around the world, each sign posted on a lawn or in a window, each hashtag crying for justice for George Floyd. This decision, after years of police murders of Black and Brown people with no accountability, is one to celebrate. The guilty verdicts serve many purposes; they break the long-standing policy of acquittal for police who have murdered Black and Brown people.  They affirm what was a matter of fact – that George Floyd’s life was taken without cause. They provide a way forward that is necessary in dismantling unjust, rogue policing that has created a justifiable mistrust in institutions we all should feel protected by.

    CSWA stands in support of these verdicts.  We consider it the duty of all citizens, and clinical social workers in particular, to repudiate institutionalized racism and support policies that further encourage police accountability. One such potential law is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 introduced in June, 2020, passed by the House last month. A summary of H.R. 7120 is listed below.

    This bill addresses a wide range of policies and issues regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability. It includes measures to increase accountability for law enforcement misconduct, to enhance transparency and data collection, and to eliminate discriminatory policing practices.

    The bill facilitates federal enforcement of constitutional violations (e.g., excessive use of force) by state and local law enforcement. Among other things, it does the following:

    • lowers the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution,
    • limits qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer or state correctional officer, and
    • authorizes the Department of Justice to issue subpoenas in investigations of police departments for a pattern or practice of discrimination.

    H.R. 7120 would also create a national registry—the National Police Misconduct Registry—to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct. It establishes a framework to prohibit racial profiling at the federal, state, and local levels.

    Finally, H.R. 7120 establishes new requirements for law enforcement officers and agencies, including to report data on use-of-force incidents, to obtain training on implicit bias and racial profiling, and to wear body cameras.  CSWA will be advocating for passage of this bill.

    Today the Department of Justice has announced a full investigation of a “possible pattern of misconduct” of the Minneapolis Police department. CSWA welcomes this investigation and hopes it will be one step forward, with many more needed, in the fight for a socially and racially just America.

    Kendra Robeson, LICSW, President 
    Clinical Social Work Association 
    president@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org

  • 18 Feb 2021 3:38 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)


    Below is an excellent summary of the legal protections for telehealth services, including behavioral health treatment, in all 50 states and District of Columbia (seven states do not have laws about telehealth coverage including AL, ID, PA, NC, SC, WI, WY) put together by the law firm of Foley and Lardner.  The link is https://www.foley.com/-/media/files/insights/publications/2021/02/21mc30431-50state-telemed-reportmaster-02082021.pdf

    The areas covered include state laws about coverage for telehealth and audio-only treatment; reimbursement requirements; how long coverage will last; the actual language of the laws in each state; and more. 

    Even if you think you know your state’s laws about telemental health, this is a good review and offers ways to improve telemental health laws based on what other states have done.

    Let me know if you have any questions about this information.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
    Clinical Social Work Association
    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org

  • 27 Jan 2021 11:37 AM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)


    CSWA is thrilled to see President Biden’s new executive orders today which will be huge steps toward anti-racism and true equity in our country.  They are:

    • To require fair housing policies and eliminate ‘red-lining’ of housing for BIPOC individuals and families
    • To end private prisons which have consistently promoted discriminatory policies and actions toward BIPOC incarcerated individuals
    • To combat the xenophobia that exists toward Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans
    • To strengthen nation-to-nation relationships with Native Americans and Alaska Natives

    In addition, President Biden is embedding racial equity in all Federal agencies.  The President wants his team to serve as a model on diversity, including hiring, purchasing, data and access. He has called racial inequality one of the four “converging crises” facing the nation.

    To hear the President’s complete remarks on his new policies go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/01/26/remarks-by-president-biden-at-signing-of-an-executive-order-on-racial-equity/ .

    CSWA is about to begin a series of six presentations on “Racism and the Clinical Process” in a virtual collaborative format on Wednesday evenings.  For more information go to https://www.clinicalsocialworkassociation.org/event-4134868.

    CSWA encourages all members to join us in the anti-racism effort which is finally being addressed at the Federal level.

    Kendra Roberson, PhD, LCSW, President
    Clinical Social Work Association
    cswaorg.pres@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org

  • 10 Jan 2021 2:48 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)


    CSWA leadership has been trying to come to terms with the hatred unleashed by our President and his followers on January 6, the very real threat to our democracy, and the blatant racist actions that were on full display.

    CSWA first reached out to our members, mindful of the traumatic impact experienced by those near the riot and desecration of the Capitol and of the secondary trauma affecting those watching on TVs, phones, and computers.  The immediate message was a reminder that we must take care of ourselves, emotionally and physically.  As we all know, unless we take care of ourselves, we will have difficulty continuing to treat our patients.

    What the so-called “racial-reckoning” of the past summer taught us, was that unjust, unfair treatment of Black and Brown people has, tragically, always been an issue in America. The country, with its obvious privileges for White citizens, has a shaky foundation built on the premise that it is acceptable to colonize and steal Indigenous land, enslave Africans and subjugate anyone non-White, or otherwise marginalized, to second class citizenship.  This foundation allowed Trump’s rhetoric and hate speech to be successful in riling a literal lynch mob to storm the Capitol. The Confederate flag, the White supremacy slogans, and the disturbingly tepid response of the Capitol police to the rioters all conveyed these ideas.  As more comes to light, CSWA will continue working to learn, to educate, to advocate, and to stand with you against institutional and systemic racism and for undisputed equity.

    Our actions now must be to hold the President accountable for his role in promoting the riot, in promoting racism, in promoting police and National Guard brutality in BLM protests throughout 2020, and in undermining the electoral process.  Impeachment will thus create a lasting record of his unlawful behavior and prevent him from holding further federal office.  CSWA encourages all members to notify their members of Congress immediately that the President be impeached for his actions.

    Here is a possible way to send that message: “I am a member of the Clinical Social Work Association and a constituent.  Given the President’s reckless fomenting of destructive acts on the Capitol, police and our elected officials, I believe he should be impeached.“  Email addresses and phone numbers can be found at https://www.congress.gov/members?q={%22congress%22:117}&searchResultViewType=expanded

    As always, let me know when you have sent your messages.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director of Policy and Practice
    Clinical Social Work Association
    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org

  • 08 Jan 2021 12:14 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)


    Below is a summary of the way that the CMS Physicians’ Fee Schedule Rule will impact Medicare psychotherapy reimbursement and telemental health services for LCSWs in 2021. The final Rule was implemented at the end of December, 2020.

    CPT Code Reimbursement Changes

    • 90785 Interactive Complexity -10.2%
    • 90791 Psychiatric diagnostic evaluation +15.7%
    • 90832 Psychotherapy, 30 minutes with patient +3.0%
    • 90834 Psychotherapy, 45 minutes with patient +1.5%
    • 90837 Psychotherapy, 60 minutes with patient -0.1%
    • 90839 Psychotherapy for crisis; first 60 minutes -8.7%
    • 90840 Psychotherapy for crisis; each additional 30 mins -8.4%
    • 90845 Psychoanalysis -9.2%
    • 90846 Family psychotherapy (no patient present), 50 minutes -11.1%
    • 90847 Family psychotherapy (w/ patient present), 50 minutes -11.1%
    • 90849 Multiple-family group psychotherapy -10.2%
    • *90853 Group psychotherapy -9.0%

    *Group Psychotherapy, 90853, has been added to the permanent list of telemental health services.

    In short,

    • diagnostic evaluation, 90791, has the largest increase in reimbursement. 
    • Individual psychotherapy codes, 90832 and 90834 have a slight increase while 90837 has a tiny decrease. 
    • Family therapy codes, 90846 and 90847, have the largest decrease over all, while psychoanalysis and group psychotherapy have a somewhat smaller decrease in reimbursement.
    • Crisis codes and interactive complexity also have a decrease in reimbursement. 
    • Remember that the actual reimbursement varies by region, so consult your Medicare Administrator Contractors if you have questions.


    Telemental Health Services

    Telemental health videoconferencing services have been extended indefinitely which is great news.  Audio only telemental health services, however, will only be covered through the Public Health Emergency, currently scheduled to end on January 20, 2021.  CSWA is working with the Mental Health Liaison Group to have Congress make audio only treatment covered indefinitely as well.  CMS believes that Congress must make a legislative change before audio only services can be covered.  It is likely that the Public Health Emergency will again be extended past January 20th, but has not been extended yet.

    In summary, the cuts were not as severe as had been planned for individual psychotherapy, but somewhat more difficult for family and group therapy and psychoanalysis.  To reiterate: Stay tuned for the extension of the Public Health Emergency, which will allow the continuation of audio only treatment, but videoconferencing has been extended indefinitely.

  • 06 Jan 2021 7:57 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)


    Dear CSWA Members,

    Given the chaos of the situation in Washington, DC, I wanted to let you know that CSWA is thinking of our many members who live in and around the area.  It is very disturbing and frightening to watch from a distance; it would be exponentially worse to be in proximity to the destruction that has been inflicted on the heart of our democracy.

    Please take care of yourselves.  We hope this misery will come to a quick conclusion.  On top of the pandemic, this traumatic situation will only escalate the anxiety and depression we are seeing in our practices.  We must take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others. CSWA is here for you.

    Kendra Roberson, LICSW, President
    Clinical Social Work Association
    kroberson@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, director, Policy and Practice
    Clinical Social Work Association
    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org


  • 30 Dec 2020 5:07 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

    Since The Aware Advocate article, Nine Months into the Pandemic: Practical Telemental Health for LCSWs, came out yesterday, I’ve received several questions about whether LCSWs are essential workers and when will they be eligible to get the COVID vaccines.  I hope this will clarify this complicated situation.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made recommendations about who should have access to the vaccines and in what order.

    There are two Phases, but Phase 1 is divided into three parts when it comes to rolling out the vaccines:

    •  Phase 1a: essential workers who work in hospitals and long term care facilities. 
    • Phase 1b: is for all essential workers not working in 1a facilities, including police firefighters, postal workers, teachers, as well as anyone over 75.
    • Phase 1c: is for all other essential workers such as food service, tech workers, law, public safety, public health, among others, and anyone either between 65-74, and anyone between 16-64 with underlying health conditions. 
    • Phase 2: will be everyone else. 

    These recommendations can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations.html .

    Note: LCSWs are considered essential workers but whether we fall in 1a, 1b, or 1c depends on where we work and the way that the state we live in is organizing the vaccinations. If we work in a hospital or skilled nursing facility it is pretty clear we would be in the 1a group.  Those of us who are over 75 are clearly in the 1b group.  But all the other factors that affect us make it impossible to say for sure when we you will get be eligible to be vaccinated.

    I recommend that everyone google “COVID Vaccination in [your state/jurisdiction]” and find out which state agency is organizing the distribution and policies for how the vaccines will be available.  It may also be prudent to contact your PCP and ask when they may be able to vaccinate you. As you know, some of the vaccines require special refrigeration and may not be storable in doctor’s offices.

    Keep in mind vaccination alone may not necessarily make us immune to COVID, but it may certainly help.  Keep following all guidelines for masking, staying 6 feet apart, washing hands, and not spending time in closed spaces with people you do not live with until CDC/HHS say it is safe to stop these practices.  To those of you who have reservations about getting vaccinated, use your judgment and if you choose not to get the vaccine, keep following all the guidelines above.

    We will get through this pandemic and are getting closer, even though we may be many months away.  Happy new year to all.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
    Clinical Social Work Association
    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org

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