On May 11, 2023, the World Health Organization announced the end of the federal COVID-19 PHE declaration.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that coronavirus does not exist anymore, rather that Covid-realated deaths
have substantially decreased. The U.S. government’s approach to coronavirus will change, but how does this
impact social workers?
The end of the PHE has caused concern for LCSWs who work via telehealth with clients on Medicare (CMS).
Firstly, the coverage of telehealth has begun to be limited by some insurers. This is concerning because
telehealth increases access to healthcare providers, and limiting access to that may cause clients to stop
receiving the care they need. Fortunately, The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 extended Medicare
coverage of telemental health until December 31, 2024 but many commercial insurers did/do not follow CMS
guidance. Secondly, after the December 31, 2024 date, clients will be required to be seen in-person at least
once a year. Due to health risks, transportation issues or more, this could be virtually impossible for some
clients. Audio-only telehealth appointments will not be covered following the The Consolidated
Appropriations Act of 2023 further alienating some clients from care.
LCSW’s who use platforms such as Skype will need to change mediums. According to the Office of Civil Rights
(OCR), using such platforms was not seen as a violation of HIPAA rules during the PHR. Now, LCSW’s will be
required to use a HIPAA compliant platform, such as ZoomPro, Doxy.me, and other platforms offer a Business
Associate Agreement (BAA).
Finally, there are changes to codes and modifiers for Medicare:
● 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
More information can be found on the Clinical Social Work Association website.
Public Student Loan Forgiveness
As social workers we are constantly working for our clients and ensuring we give them the best care possible. How are you showing up for yourself and caring for yourself? One way to focus long-term on your needs is to be aware of the public student loan forgiveness (PSFL) program. PSLF is a program for people who work in public service in federal, state, tribal, or local government, or for a non-profit organization. If you qualify look into this. Your student loans could be forgiven and if you're doing the hard work anyways, you should also benefit from it. Self care is about more than taking a bath, going for a walk, or reading a book. It is a way of life, which includes planning for your future.
If you would like more information on this program check out the website here: https://studentaid.gov/pslf/
If you are interested in attending a training to learn more information check out below:
Public Service Loan Forgiveness - Current Rules and Tips for Success
June 1, 2023 | 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm Eastern Time via Zoom
Presenters: Jennifer Noblet, LCSW-S and Sabrina Golling
Target Audience: Anyone who works for a non-profit or governmental organization and has a federal student loan
About the webinar: This presentation will review the current rules of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program as well as provide tips for how to be successful in achieving forgiveness through the program. Please note that CEs are not offered for this event.
About the presenters:
Jennifer Noblet lives in Houston, Texas and works for an academic health center where she manages the development and delivery of clinical social work services and behavioral health programing. She received her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan has over 10 years of experience as a therapist as well as prior work in psychiatric research. Jennifer has been a student loan advocate and moderator for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness group on Facebook since 2021 and personally received student loan forgiveness through the PSLF program in October 2022.
Sabrina Golling lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and works in rural capacity building and organizational development. She received her Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has professional experience as a nonprofit leader for a crisis intervention/suicide prevention hotline and in social work research at the intersection of mental health and criminal justice. Sabrina does work in student loan advocacy as a volunteer and in a professional capacity, and anticipates receiving PSLF in 2030. Her personal areas of expertise are around the Limited PSLF Waiver and the One Time IDR Account Adjustment.
Fee & Registration:
The cost is $25 for both CSWA members and non-members. Registrations will be accepted until 24 hours prior to the start of the presentation or until it is full. Cancellations must be received 24 hours prior to the live event to receive a refund. Each registered participant will receive zoom log-in information via email from email@example.com one day prior to the webinar.
Social workers around the state have been nervously keeping up with SB 150. SB 150 has been widely critiqued by social workers, as it essentially bans gender affirming care for children. This bill will require students in schools to use pronouns and use bathrooms based on their assigned gender. Governor Beshear vetoed this bill in late March, however the Senate quickly voted 29-8 to override the governor's veto. The measure then went to the House for consideration, where lawmakers voted 76-23 to override the veto. SB 150 will go into effect in late June.
This bill is harmful because it directly targets an already marginalized population of Kentuckians and severely restricts and undermines parental choices under the guise of protecting and supporting parental rights. This bill may subject trans and questioning youth to harm in bigotry.
So what should we do now? It is more important now more than ever to be supportive to the entire LGBTQ+ community. This includes being supportive to our friends and family in our personal lives, as well as supporting LGBTQ+ organizations within our communities. If you know any LGBTQ+ organizations in Kentucky, that could use our support, please write them in
There are also several lawsuits filed to challenge SB 150 on the grounds that the bill is unconstitutional. I will be sure to update this blog, if any of those lawsuits come to pass.
Alcohol Awareness Month!
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to focus on the dangers of alcohol abuse and addiction and to promote healthy drinking habits. With alcohol being the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States, raising awareness about the risks associated with excessive drinking is essential.
Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) to encourage people to assess their drinking habits and seek help if needed. Since then, it has grown into a nationwide observance, with organizations and communities coming together to raise awareness about the effects of alcohol abuse and to promote prevention, treatment, and recovery resources.
The theme for Alcohol Awareness Month 2023 is “Awareness is Key: Sustaining Healthy Communities.” This theme emphasizes the importance of raising awareness about alcohol abuse and addiction and how it affects individuals, families, and communities. It also highlights the need for communities to come together to support those struggling with alcohol addiction and to create a culture of responsible drinking.
Excessive alcohol consumption can have serious health consequences, including liver disease, cancer, and heart disease. It can also lead to addiction, which can cause a range of social, emotional, and financial problems. In addition to the health risks, alcohol abuse can contribute to car accidents, violence, and other harmful behaviors.
To promote healthy drinking habits and raise awareness about the risks of alcohol abuse, the NCADD recommends the following:
Alcohol Awareness Month is an important reminder that alcohol abuse and addiction is a severe problem that affects millions of people across the country. By working together to raise awareness about the risks of excessive drinking and promoting healthy drinking habits, we can create a safer and healthier community for everyone.
On March 27th, Nashville, TN joined the 13 communities that have experienced a school shooting this year. This morning, a gunman opened fire at Covenant School, a private elementary school for students in preschool through sixth grade. At the time of this blog post, at least 7 individuals are dead after this tragedy, including the shooter.
For a list of the 350+ school shootings that have taken place since Columbine, click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States_(2000%E2%80%93present)
The United States holds the record for most school shootings, following the US is Mexico with 8 school shootings.
This information begs the question: What can we do to stop mass school shootings?
Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
The Public Health Emergency (PHE) is ending on May 11, 2023. This has caused some concern for LCSWs who have been working through telemental health since the pandemic began in 2020. The question of whether psychotherapy will be covered when the PHE ends is a complex one. Here is what we know about telemental health coverage at the moment:
Not only is March a great month because it indicates that Spring is right around the corner, it's also a great month because it recognizes two of the very things that will save the world: women and social work. In all seriousness, March is an excellent time to celebrate and reflect on all the sacrifices, hard work, and dedication that women and social workers have devoted to enhancing the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities across the country.
Unfortunately, women’s incredible impact on individuals, families, and communities is often overlooked because of their gender, sexual orientation, and/or race. Furthermore, the remarkable work of social workers is frequently undermined and highly underpaid. As our discipline highlights, feminism promotes intersectionality, so KSCSW would like to highlight how some of the great women in the field left their social work footprint throughout time.
Jane Addams (1860-1935) is Nobel Peace Prize recipient and world renowned as a pioneer social worke in America. Dedicated to her craft, she decided to live amongst the people she was helping in the settlement house she built in 1889- the Hull House in Chicago. There, she provided legal aid, childcare, and offered training in crafts and domestic skills. Addams would focus on Chicago's low-income communities and eventually earn a spot in the Chicago Board of Education and in the School Management Committee.
Wendy Sherman (1949) is a social worker that has worked at the highest levels of regional, national, and international governments to increase safety, advance women's roles, and achieve justice and fairness. Some of her career highlights include serving as the first female Undersecretary for Political Affairs, where she led negotiations for the Iran Nuclear Deal. She credited her social work organizational skills with allowing her to lead the negotiations and bring them to a peaceful end. President Obama would also award Sherman with the National Security Medal.
Dr. Anna Scheyette is a TEDx speaker, social worker, professor, and former Dean of the University of Georgia School of Social Work. Her initial work in social work began by researching community-based interventions for adults with severe mental illnesses. She then would create a research agenda looking at the growing rates of suicide and stress in farmers in the United States. Dr. Scheyette is the Editor in Chief for the Journal of Social Work and is an editorial consultant for Social Work Research and the Journal of Social Work Education.
While the list of prominent women in social work continues, it's important to note that all social workers make up different pieces of the puzzle that together fight for the greater good. Social workers commit much of their life to the well-being of communities, especially those most vulnerable. This is the time to appreciate, celebrate, and honor social workers in your area. Although March, like every month, will come and go, a social worker's impact on individuals, families, and communities will live forever.
How to Be an Effective Advocate
Happy Children’s Advocacy Week, social workers! This week, social workers from all over the tri-state will meet in Frankfort to advocate on behalf of children’s safety, health, education, and economic well-being. With this going on and Lobby Day coming up in less than 2 weeks, I think it is crucial that we take the time to understand not only what it takes to be a good advocate, but an effective advocate.
Whether you use this information in person this February 22 for Lobby Day, or you use it to contact your legislator via email or letter, it is valuable as a social worker to understand how to be an effective advocate. Advocacy is an important part of social work, as we promote equality, inclusion, and social justice.
Have any more tips on how to become a more effective advocate? Leave a comment!
Black History Month
This week, we celebrate the beginning of Black History Month. Black History Month was founded by Carter G. Woodson in 1926, however it was not officially adopted as a federal holiday until 1976.
Since becoming a federal holiday, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History assigns a new theme each year that is endorsed by the US Government. This year's theme is resistance. This theme recognizes the resistance of brutality, oppression, and injustice demonstrated by the Black community.
This theme seems fitting, as the world witnessed another public display of police brutality on a Black man last month. Nature photographer and father to a 4-year old son, Tyre Nichols, was tased, punched, kicked, and beaten with a baton by three police officers in Memphis, TN. Shortly after the public release of the body camera footage, the officers were arrested. Mostly peaceful protests of police brutality have ensued across the country. This incident serves as a reminder that the Black community still faces unfair oppression, violence, and prejudice.
Black History Month is a time to spotlight Black achievement, celebrate triumphs, and honor the struggles of African Americans. Here are some ways to support Black communities this month:
Have more ideas on how to support Black communities during Black History Month? Leave a comment!
To all social workers. Please see the message below from the Clinical Social Work Association regarding legislative updates:
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.