The Latest News
NASW Virginia Distributes Social Work Month Press Release to Educate Public about Social Workers as Important Advocates, Resources
The NASW Virginia Chapter asks members to keep an eye out for articles published in local newspapers, magazines, and elsewhere that are or could be based on its press release sent statewide March 2 to 155 print media and wire services. The release aims to increase awareness of what social workers do, why the public is encouraged to tap into these professionals for their advocacy abilities and resource knowledge, and what Social Work Month and its "Social Workers Are Essential" theme mean.
Please send any print or digital articles mentioning Social Work Month or content from below to Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, firstname.lastname@example.org. The chapter also invites members to cut and paste the release to send to their own media contacts!
Social Work Month in March Showcases the Many Roles of Virginia’s “Unsung Heroes” in Providing Mental and Behavioral Health Care
RICHMOND, VA—The Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and its nearly 3,000 members are celebrating Social Work Month this March with the national theme “Social Workers Are Essential.” The campaign educates the public about social workers as advocates and resources, and highlights the valuable contributions social workers make statewide, especially during the pandemic.
Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, rising from a current 700,000 to an estimated 800,000 professionals by 2029. Virginia has nearly 10,000 licensed clinical social workers, and demand for social work services continues to outpace availability of behavioral health providers.
“Few people realize that social work professionals comprise the largest behavioral health group in the country, or that many of our members work alongside doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers, thus experiencing similar risks and exhaustion,” says Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. “The profession has exploded over the past decade and is poised to grow exponentially. Even Ashley Biden, daughter of President Biden, is a social worker!”
Riggs notes that Virginia social workers “have worked extra-long hours and executed a radical pivot to telehealth to respond to skyrocketing public needs for more mental and behavioral health services in our state. We are grateful that the General Assembly, Gov. Northam, and leaders such as Sen. Creigh Deeds recently boosted funding and established a new oversight entity to strengthen Virginia’s mental health care systems.”
While TV and movie versions of social workers have generated an unfair stereotype of these professionals as people “who just take away kids from their families,” social workers are embedded in many work settings throughout society. They provide mental health and substance use disorder treatment, assist active military and veterans, help schoolchildren, transition the returns to society of people who have been imprisoned, help corporations better serve communities, and protect children from neglect and abuse. They also work in nonprofits, private practice, the court system, and local and state agencies.
However, the profession has other challenges beyond public confusion. A severe shortage of social workers in schools, colleges, and universities has often left young people inadequately supported when faced with complicated issues such as trauma, addiction, anxiety, loneliness, grief, and online learning stressors—all of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
And although social workers play a critical role in the nation’s health care system, they could and should be much better compensated for their efforts, according to a 2019 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
“We hope Social Work Month will help the public realize that social workers are highly educated and well-trained professionals who subscribe to one of the healthcare industry’s most stringent codes of ethics,” says Riggs. “People should feel confident turning to social workers, who work tirelessly to advocate for their clients and communities.”
She notes that “social workers often are unsung heroes, and their natural tendency toward humility and discretion mean their extraordinary work is often undervalued or unseen. Please consider saying a kind word to the social workers in your lives and at work, especially during Social Work Month. Like our chapter, they are always fighting for policies that benefit families, individuals, and the vulnerable populations they serve such as children and older adults.”
Happy Social Work Month! NASW Virginia will be celebrating the 2021 Social Work Month throughout March as a recognition of the diverse ways that social workers contribute to their communities. Look for stories from our members and others about why they love social work and how they know that "Social Workers Are Essential," the theme for this year AND for our chapter's conference March 25-27. Thank you all for your hard work and commitment!
Commemorating Black History Month and Welcoming Social Work Month: A Black Social Worker’s Perspective on the January 6 Insurrection
Like most Americans I was shocked watching the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol unfold on television January 6. Like most people of color, I shook my head, confirming silently to myself that “if they were black, they would have been shot.”
There was a sense of confusion and disgust; it all made no sense and perfect sense at the same time. The events bubbled to the surface the imbalance of justice and perception of what a threat looks like. At a Black Lives Matter March, peaceful protesters were gassed for photo opportunities, and lines of the police “protection” were aggressively established.
In January 2021, though, there was little of that reaction, especially initially, and seven people ultimately lost their lives! In its omnificence the insurrection highlighted what some Black Americans have said for so long: There are two Americas--one that cultivates and condones hate and violence, another that expects the hate to be ingested with no push-back and zero repercussions. In essence, as racial justice advocates have generally said, “This is why we kneel, why we march, and why we burn it down.”
Black Americans have existed in a divided space for the entirety of U.S. history. Some people recognize it, while others have done an insincere job at masking the hatred and racism, using daily microaggressions more difficult to assail than bullets. People of privilege have become fluent in their statements of “I have black friends” or “I am the least-racist person.” Well, those Black friends may no longer be excusing you or giving you a pass!
I am hopeful with the transition of power in the White House and Congress that a transition occurs in what is morally acceptable, and that the new administration can tamp down the racist overtones that increasingly emblazoned our daily lives for the last four years. I don’t expect immediate fixes. Clearly, this has been going on far longer than recently, and it runs deeper than just what we are experiencing today.
As we look ahead to Social Work Month in March and behind us now at Black History Month, my hope and expectations as a social worker are that we begin mending our open wounds and addressing systemic racism with the same or greater vigor we adopt when learning new dance crazes on TikTok. My dream is that people who are affected are given a voice, and the silence ends. The lifting is heavy, for sure, but we social workers—including Black social workers--are strong, and we remain hopeful that everything is possible.
New NASW Health Practice Alert on “COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ”
In a new Practice Alert, COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ, NASW provides resources for social workers to learn more about available COVID-19 vaccines and the general eligibility guidelines to access a vaccine in the initial phases of distribution.
NASW encourages individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when they meet their state’s eligibility criteria. The organization is advocating for vaccine access for social workers and populations at high-risk for COVID-19 and will continue to monitor federal and state vaccine distribution plans.
How Frontline Essential Workers Can Access Vaccination
Local health departments, pharmacies, healthcare systems, and employer-based occupational health units are working collaboratively to vaccinate other essential workers. Many essential workers will likely receive the vaccine through employer-based vaccination clinics. Others will get it through their local health department or through arrangements with pharmacies and healthcare providers.
Information will be released from local health departments, employers, and healthcare providers about how and when you and other social workers can receive your COVID-19 vaccines. The ability to schedule appointments will depend on the supply of vaccine available.
For the latest information, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine.
NASW, NASW Virginia Outraged at Rioting in the U.S. Capitol
"The National Association of Social Workers strongly condemns the unlawful storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-[President] Trump rioters," announced NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, in a statement January 6. "Their violent, riotous behavior is seditious and forced the evacuation of Congress and halted the declaration of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
"Trust that the guardrails of democracy will hold, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in on January 20. NASW calls on all elected officials to condemn this unlawful attack on our democracy," he concluded.
"What the country witnessed yesterday in Washington, DC, was not peaceful protesting as enabled by our Constitution. It was nothing less than an insurrection by domestic terrorists determined to overthrow the democratic electoral processes that have sustained our great country for 244 years," said Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, of the NASW Virginia Chapter. "We urge all citizens, especially social workers, to vocally oppose these dangerous displays that threaten lives and our democracy."
NASW Seeks Comments on “Clinical Social Workers in Private Practice” Manual by Jan. 4, 2021
NASW’s Task Force for Private Practice Guidelines is seeking public and member comments for the document, Clinical Social Workers in Private Practice: A Reference Manual. The manual provides a useful set of guidelines for clinical social workers starting a private practice and for seasoned clinical social workers seeking specific information related to the practice and business side of a private practice.
Tell Your Senators to Pass the Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief Aid Package!
NASW has issued an Action Alert asking social workers to immediately contact their senators to demand passage of a bipartisan $908-billion COVID-19 aid package, which may be voted on in the next week.
With hunger and long-term joblessness increasing, and unemployment benefits and the eviction moratorium expiring by the end of this month, Congress must act now, NASW says. The bipartisan proposal offers $300 per week in Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, rental assistance, nutrition aid, and monies for education and state/local services, but more funding is needed.
For more info, visit https://bit.ly/NASWalertCOVID19Relief
Final Rule Issued for Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, including Telehealth Reimbursement
The federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has issued the final rule for Medicare CY 2021 (physician fee schedule), which includes elements pertaining to telehealth and reimbursement for certified social workers (CSWs) who participate in Medicare, among other provisions.
NASW is “carefully reviewing the final rule and its implications…. [The] proposed rule proposed substantial payment cuts for scores of specialty providers, including CSWs, in order to increase reimbursement for primary care services (budget neutrality is required). We vigorously opposed these cuts, which unfortunately were not removed in the final rule. We are working with our partners to try to get this addressed, but it will be a challenge.”
The NASW Virginia Chapter applauds NASW-endorsed Virginia candidate Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), as well as President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, for winning their historic congressional and national elections.
“Rep. Spanberger has been a longtime advocate for mental health access, telehealth, and broadband expansion across Virginia, so we are proud that her leadership on these issues will continue,” says NASW Virginia Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. “Also, the election of a woman, especially a woman of color, to the top ticket of the United States is long overdue and is a huge moment of pride for all who embrace equality.
NASW Virginia Congratulates Its Endorsed Candidates on Election Wins: Spanberger, Biden, and Harris
"We also thank all of the state’s social workers who voted, volunteered, and encouraged their clients to vote,” she continues. “Voting truly is social work! Now, as the state and nation try to heal from this brutal campaign season, we look forward to finding ways to reunite and refocus on the social justice and practice-related issues that NASW Virginia Chapter has prioritized for the next few years.”
Read NASW’s national statement of congratulations here.
Get Recognized—Nominations Are Open for the 2021 NASW Virginia Annual Awards
Every year at the Annual Conference in March, NASW Virginia announces up to five award winners chosen for their excellence and commitment to the values of social work:
Lifetime Achievement Award
Social Worker of the Year
We are currently accepting nominations for the 2021 awards! Recipients will be honored virtually at the NASW Virginia Annual Conference March 27, 2020.
Submit a Nomination Now!
Deadline: Jan. 15, 2021
Just Added! Last Chance in 2020 to Get Ready for the Social Work Licensure Exam
NASW Virginia has added a Licensure Exam Prep Workshop/Package December 2 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to the training lineup.
Earn six CEUs and pay only $222 (members) or $287 (nonmembers). Registration deadline is November 20 to receive the book prior to the training, November 30 for final registration and to receive the book after the training.
The highly rated course will be taught again by Dr. Dawn Apgar, PhD, LSW, ACSW, whom past attendees have lauded for her “excellent” knowledge, “energetic” presentation style, and “caring” and engaging personality. The chapter has already received numerous emails from attendees who have passed the exam and who credit their success in large part to this workshop and the free access to Apgar’s robust study tool clearinghouse/learning management portal.
If you are interested in participating on the Policy Committee and making your voice heard, please email Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, at email@example.com with a statement on why you are interested, a description of your current professional position and related work environment, and information about other professional experiences relative to this committee.
Volunteer Opportunity! NASW Virginia Seeks Policy Committee Members
Looking for ways to support your profession? Want to ensure the social work voice is reflected in legislative decisions? NASW Virginia seeks members to serve on the chapter’s Policy Committee.
The committee will include members with diverse professional and personal experiences who support a unified approach to legislative and advocacy efforts on behalf of the NASW Virginia membership.
NASW Virginia Supports Texas Social Workers Fighting Code of Ethics Changes That Enable Potential Discrimination
The NASW Virginia Chapter stands in solidarity with Texas social workers who are fighting their Governor’s removal of protections against discrimination for disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression from the Social Work Code of Conduct!
The Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners (TSBSWE) accepted the language from the Governor, whose rationalization is that agency rules cannot be more expansive than those in state law. However, the board has the explicit statutory authority to propose and adopt rules regarding “the scope of practice of and standards of care and ethical practice for social work.”
This includes defining anti-discrimination protections under the Code of Conduct, which “should receive protected status,” says the chapter. “Social workers already have the ability to decline to provide services to a client based on their competencies and training, but they cannot discriminate based on selective personal values … [the new language] could send the erroneous message that [discrimination] is allowed. This might deter a client from coming in for services or cause a social worker to withhold a service they are ethically obligated to provide.”
Sign this petition to show Texas social workers you oppose any changes to their Code of Conduct!
Stan Remer Inducted into Social Work Pioneers by NASW Foundation and Shares Life Reflections from the Field
Congratulations to former Virginia Chapter Board of Directors Member Stan Remer, MSW, MHA, LCSW, who will be inducted to the prestigious Social Work Pioneers by the NASW Foundation at an October 17 ceremony.
Remer has received numerous awards in the past, including the 2017 NASW Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award. Because his father was a public welfare social worker and “model to me,” Remer chose to follow in his footsteps, returning to school to get his MSW at age 49. As a youth, Remer accompanied his father to some client homes, and the challenges of the profession and its leadership opportunities kept him in the field.
Here, Remer shares lessons from his long career--especially as a legislative advocate for social work--and the future of the profession:
What changes do you foresee for social work in the next five to 10 years, especially with the long-term impacts of COVID-19?
Remer: “You can dream to go as far as you want to. You need to keep you sights high and always work to move on to the next step in your career. However, you must prepare yourself for success.
“I have been amazed at the growth of private practice in social work. In working on my MSW thesis, I focused on whether social work being done in private practice was still ‘social work’ or had they left the profession with its goal of social justice and work in social agencies.”
What skills in social work will always be necessary to success?
“I feel first and foremost it is important to establish the relationship. In my early days, we called this the ‘casework relationship.’ If you do not start where the client is, you will never be successful in the field of social work.”
What skills or knowledge do social workers tend to undervalue until they have been in the field as long as you?
“I think ‘macro social work’ is the skill in the field that tends to be undervalued. If you can change the policy or system, you will not help just one person or one family, but you can help many thousands of individuals with the same issue or problem. I think this [understanding] led to my early work on social work licensure in several states, as well as my current work as a legislative advocate with Congress on issues related to social work.”
How has NASW and especially the Virginia Chapter helped you throughout your career?
“I joined NASW as a student in my second year of graduate school at the University of Missouri and have been a member ever since (over 52 years). Early in my career when I was on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, I remember traveling over 100 miles to Pierre, South Dakota, for a chapter meeting. NASW has always been a valuable part of my growth and learning as a social worker.”
New $100,000 Federal Grant Will Expand Telehealth in Rural Virginia
U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA)—whom NASW and the Virginia Chapter endorsed in the 2020 election--has announced a new $100,000 federal grant that will go toward strengthen telehealth services for rural communities across Virginia.
“For years, rural Central Virginians have been facing healthcare challenges like hospital and clinic closures, long wait times, and a shrinking number of doctors and specialists,” she wrote in her recent legislative update. “During COVID-19, the barriers to accessing affordable healthcare have become even higher. Pandemic or no pandemic, living in a rural zip code should never condemn an American to going without the treatment they need. This federal investment will help preserve the lifeline of telehealth for more of our rural neighbors.”
The award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be disbursed through HHS’s Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program and will go to support the work of the nonprofit Virginia Rural Health Association.
“As the largest provider of behavior health professionals, we are excited to work with Rep. Spanberger to further advance and
strengthen telehealth in Virginia,” says NASW Virginia Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE.
Spanberger is a strong advocate for telehealth. In July 2020, for example, she helped introduce a bipartisan bill to require HHS to track the impact of expanded telehealth programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation would mandate a study to understand the impact that telehealth has had on key metrics like hospital readmission rates, so lawmakers and HHS officials can efficiently maximize the impact of future investments to help more Americans.
In April, Spanberger cosponsored the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act, a bipartisan bill that sought to cut red tape to allow Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of telehealth services.
Virginia Chapter Applauds NASW Coalition Calling for CDC to Slow High Rate of COVID-19 in Jails, Prisons
NASW has co-signed a letter with a coalition of 100-plus medical experts, human rights organizations, and faith-based organizations that calls on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to revise its current COVID-19 guidance for adult and juvenile correctional facilities to restrict the use of punitive and prolonged solitary confinement as a form of pandemic response at the federal, state, and local levels. See more here.
NASW Releases Statement Opposing Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping
NASW has released a statement voicing "deep disappointment" in President Trump's Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. "The order distorts our nation’s history and broadly understood concepts such as 'systemic racism' and 'White privilege.' And it is a thinly veiled attempt by Trump to stoke racial division in an already-fractured country for his own political purpose." Read the full statement: https://bit.ly/3j4njGn
NASW Virginia Mourns Death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg
NASW Virginia is deeply saddened at the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an icon of the movement to protect and secure human rights for immigrants, women, and LGBTQ citizens. An “unflagging champion for gender equality and a trailblazer for equal justice under the law,” according to NASW, Justice Ginsburg was only the second woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and she served until her final living day. She lies in repose at the Supreme Court Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 22 and 23, and will be buried next to her husband Sept. 29 at Arlington National Cemetery. We will miss you, Notorious RGB, and we will continue to honor your legacy through our advocacy work and our individual votes! In her own words: "If you want to be a true professional, do something outside yourself."
National Suicide Hotline Designation Act Heads for Presidential Signature into Law
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the bipartisan S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, September 22, marking a legislative victory for NASW and its members nationwide who advocated strongly for it.
The bill is an important step to making operational a nationwide three-digit dialing code for mental health crises and suicide prevention: 988. The legislation passed the Senate earlier in 2020 and will now go for signing by President Trump to become law.
Beware of Licensing Scam
The Department of Health Professions (DHP) has been made aware that some licensees have received fraudulent communications from individuals claiming to be from one of our licensing boards, such as the Board of Pharmacy, or another agency, such as the DEA. The communications, often by phone, may threaten arrest or license suspension, demand personal information, or require the payment of fines.
Phone calls may “spoof” DHP or a Board and appear to be from our number;
If you need to verify the identity of a DHP investigator or inspector, call (804) 367-4691 or email firstname.lastname@example.org;
DHP will never demand that you provide personally identifying information, such as social security number, date of birth, bank or credit card account numbers over the phone;
These types of licensing scams are a problem nationwide.
If you believe you are the recipient of a fraudulent communication claiming to be from DHP:
Notify DHP at 804-367-4691, or email email@example.com;
Report the communication to local law enforcement or the Virginia State Police;
The Federal Trade Commission also accepts reports about “Imposter Scams” through the FTC Complaint Assistant, or at 1-877-382-4357; these reports are used to aid ongoing investigations.
The Drug Enforcement Administration also has warned of imposters posing as DEA agents. Information and reporting of these scams can be found at this DEA website.
National Suicide Prevention Month Resources for September
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, which comes at a critical time this year during the pandemic and national racial reckoning. Thanks to the lobbying of NASW and its mental health allies, preparations continue for the federal government's transition to an easy-to-remember three-digit (988) national suicide hotline, which goes into effect in 2022. Meanwhile, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline remains 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately. More resources are available at https://nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Suicide-Prevention-Awareness-Month.
NASW Virginia Celebrates Women's Equality Day
Women’s Equality Day, celebrated every August 26, commemorates the passage of women’s suffrage in the U.S. and reminds us of the hurdles overcome by the heroic women who faced violence and gender discrimination to propel the women’s movement forward. When we reflect on the long battle to get the 19th Amendment ratified, we cannot ignore the fact that the movement largely excluded Black women. For example, the National American Woman Suffrage Association prevented Black women from attending their conventions. Black women often had to march separately from white women in suffrage parades. To this day, Black voters still face aggressive attacks on hard-fought voting rights. Some jurisdictions are using intimidation or threats to accessibility in order to discourage Black people from voting. Women aren’t done fighting for equal rights. Today, the wage gap between men and women, especially women of color, still impacts women’s economic power, and gender-based discrimination still plagues workplaces and business transactions. Celebrate Women’s Equality Day by registering to vote, helping others register to vote, and advocating for access to absentee ballots and early voting for every election. For ways #socialwokers can play a role in voter turnout either remotely or in-person visit https://votingissocialwork.org/ #VotingIsSocialWork #NASW #WomensEqualityDay
NASW News Release: Social Workers Must Help Dismantle Systems of Oppression and Fight Racism Within Social Work Profession
What can social workers do to fight systemic racism? NASW has released a more detailed call to action: “Social Workers Must Help Dismantle Systems of Oppression and Fight Racism Within Social Work Profession.” Read the full release here: bit.ly/NASWsocialWorkerActionsAgainstRacism
NASW Practice Alert on Home Health: Telehealth During COVID-19 and New Payment System
The Medicare home health benefit, which includes medical social services, has long been essential to beneficiaries living with acute, chronic, and advanced health conditions. Access to home health services is of utmost importance during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
A new NASW Practice Alert provides an overview of the Medicare home health benefit, describes NASW’s advocacy on behalf of both home health social workers and beneficiaries served during the COVID-19 pandemic, and clarifies the status of home health social work under the Patient-Driven Groupings Model.
NASW Virginia Chapter Calls for Justice, Healing, and Further Action on Racial Equality
At this painful historical time, social workers statewide strongly condemn the May 25 murder of African American George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers and urge Virginia residents to unite for healing that enables collaboration and a recommitment to genuine progress toward racial equality, says the Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
Virginia is home to 1.6 million African Americans—19% of its total population and the ninth highest percentage in the country, according to the 2010 Census. Many Black residents feel disenfranchised, their cries for attention to inequities around education, housing, employment, health, and criminal justice carrying over from generation to generation without redress.
Social workers witness the short- and long-term harm and agony caused by these injustices every day in their jobs—from schools to hospitals, government agencies to private practices. As the largest behavioral health providers in the country, social workers already receive extensive diversity and inclusiveness training, follow a code of ethics and cultural values grounded in respect and tolerance, and advocate fiercely for the advancement of equality whether based in race, gender, sexual orientation, or other characteristic.
Now, others are waking up to the tremendous need to add their voices to ours. The shock of watching Mr. Floyd murdered in front of pleading bystanders and complicit peers has traumatized Americans to the point that indignation has moved into outrage and action.
We see and affirm the pain of the African American community and acknowledge four centuries of harassment, degradation, and injustices done to fellow community members due simply to skin color. The massive, largely peaceful protests show that larger society is finally demanding the end to atrocities such as police brutality against people of color. Like our NASW national leaders, we in Virginia echo the call for policing reform as a vital step toward racial unity.
A separate but related reform to diminish police violence would be adoption of a “Marcus Alert,” a de-escalation approach named for teacher Marcus David-Peters, who was fatally shot by officers in 2018 after having a mental health crisis. A Marcus Alert would require law enforcement to activate a mental health professional as a first responder with possible police backup in a situation identified as a suspected or confirmed mental health crisis. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, who has advocated for a Marcus Alert system, reports that the city’s police department is already exploring how that intervention would work.
Social workers are well-educated in violence and systematic racism of all types. We as social workers stand poised to give informed input needed for deeper law enforcement training and procedural reforms. But we also support NASW’s demand that “before America can end racial disparities in use of force, there must be a change in police culture. Police departments must root out the many officers who continue to view Black lives as being less valuable than that of other Americans.”
As society comes to terms with the robust agenda needed to dislodge deeply embedded systemic racial bias, NASW Virginia pledges to step up more to do what it does best: advocate for the protection and equal human rights of our clients and the social workers who serve them. We pledge to scrutinize public policy even closer for signs of inequity in outcomes, fight effort to legitimize wrongdoing as acceptable norms, and further leverage the strengths of our members to offer solutions and insights that help Virginia and America truly become a place where “liberty and justice” is for all.
Trouble registering for an event or purchasing something?
Try these tech solution tactics:
Click on “Forgot your password?” on the login page.
Enter your email address.
You will receive an email to reset the password. Check your junk folder if it doesn’t arrive in a few minutes, since many workplaces regularly adjust their security filters.
Cut and paste the URL from the email directly into a new browser. Clicking straight from an email may trigger a workplace firewall.
If you click the email link, and it doesn’t work, do NOT try to cut and paste it into the browser, since all links are for single use only. Instead, please return to the main web page and click again on “Forgot your password” to re-send the email. Follow the directions above.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you still have problems.
ARTS and DMAS Guidance Available on Business Re-opening
Governor Ralph Northam has announced a “Blueprint for Easing Public Health Restrictions” starting Friday, May 15, 2020. While Behavioral Health and Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ARTS) and the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) understand that some providers may be eager to resume more face-to-face services, they are reminding everyone that the provider flexibilities, allowances, directives, and limitations related to delivery of behavioral health and ARTS services extend throughout the declared public emergency in Virginia until otherwise formally notified.
Health providers and stakeholders are invited to sign up for automatic notifications of business re-opening guidance from ARTS and DMAS.
To access archived ARTS’ COVID-19 guidance, directives, recordings, webinars, and FAQs effective until the state emergency ends or otherwise notified, visit https://www.dmas.virginia.gov/#/emergencywaiver.
Richmond Newspaper Publishes NASW Virginia Op-Ed on Social Workers as Pandemic Heroes
The Richmond Times Dispatch has published “Unrecognized Heroes Adapt Mental Health Services in a COVID-19 Era,” an op-ed by NASW Virginia Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, about social workers as “invisible” essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The May 4, 2020, article describes what social workers do and how some are adapting in a COVID-19 era. It also calls for more workplace safety measures, including adequate personal protection equipment and legal enforcement against employers who retaliate against social workers for raising safety concerns in the execution of their daily duties.
The chapter continues to reach out to media outlets to build awareness about the social work profession and its contributions as behavioral health experts both in general and during the pandemic.
NASW Victory! CMS Approves Medicare Reimbursement for Audio-only Device Delivery of Mental Health Services by Social Workers
A strong advocacy campaign led by the National Association of Social Workers and its chapters has resulted in victory with the May 1 announcement by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that it will permit clinical social workers to receive Medicare reimbursement for psychotherapy services provided via audio-only devices such as landlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CMS made the rule adjustment, along with other temporary waivers and changes, to increase access to healthcare and mental health services for the millions of older adults who currently cannot safely receive services in person. The agency had previously enabled greater deployment of telehealth by allowing healthcare providers such as clinical social workers to use smartphones with video chat apps to provide services in addition to pre-pandemic-approved video conferencing platforms.
“This CMS change will directly assist thousands of Medicare beneficiaries in Virginia, especially those living in rural areas or with low incomes who may not have smartphones or reliable internet access,” says NASW Virginia Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE. “Audio-only capability for delivering mental health services adds another valuable telecommunications tool that clinical social workers can use to better serve diverse populations such as older adults and people living with disabilities.”
A Special Thank-you to Social Workers Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic
Virginia social workers continue to rely on their training, professionalism, and experience as they adapt their daily duties to troubleshoot issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Rarely have social workers been so needed by their clients and organizations, whether schools or hospitals, private businesses or government agencies.
Because they are integrated into nearly every element of society, social workers are leading calmly and competently to help ensure children are safe, families receive needed services, and individuals are supported.
The work is stressful and exhausting at the best of times, but never more so than during an international public health crisis. However, social workers are—as always—resourceful, creative, and committed. They continue to develop special resources, master new communication tools, shift to a telehealth business format, and more. Especially moving is their consistent rallying of each other as they offer optimistic and empathetic phone calls, emails, and texts. This is when the strength and diversity of Virginia’s social work community counts most. This is when NASW Virginia is needed most.
We thank you! Please turn to us for support and help during this difficult period!
Bookmark the chapter’s COVID-19 web section and check it often for news curated just for Virginia’s thousands of social workers.
Scan the revised NASW Virginia Calendar of Events and consider earning your required CEUs virtually by registering for the many workshops and courses that have moved online for safe, easy access from your home.
Share Your Story! NASW Virginia is collecting stories of how COVID-19 is affecting the daily lives and workloads of social workers around Virginia. Please email email@example.com to share how the pandemic has changed your organization, personal activities, and experiences.
These stories will be shared as part of the NASW Virginia COVID-19 website and publicized to build awareness of what social workers do and, from a peer-to-peer standpoint, how they are adapting in this disruptive but temporary period. Read the first story of two NASWVA members—2020 Social Worker of the Year recipient David Lewis and Central Virginia social work leader Heather Stone—here.
NASW Calls for Greater COVID-19 Protections for Social Workers
NASW has asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to remind employers that retaliation is illegal against social workers and other healthcare employees who raise legitimate concerns about their personal safety while caring for patients with COVID-19. NASW urges any social workers experiencing acts of retaliation on the job are urged to file a whistleblower complaint online with OSHA or call 1-800-321-OSHA.
The organization also announce March 19 that it continues to vigorously advocate to Congress and the White House for social workers and other healthcare workers to have much greater access to optimal personal protective equipment, and for the federal government to invoke a wartime production law to require mass-production of PPE and other critical medical supplies. For more information on both stories, visit the NASW Virginia COVID-19 site.
NASW 2020 Virginia Training Opportunities
The many unknowns related to the pandemic mean specifics around locations and formats of NASW Virginia trainings are ever-changing. Please check the Calendar of Events for the latest information and email firstname.lastname@example.org before registering for a course or workshop. Whenever possible, we will offer either virtual formats or webinars until told that in-person meetings are safe. Your health and safety remain a priority for us. Thank you for your understanding and patience under these extraordinary circumstances.
NASWVA Advocacy Update
CMS Issues Teletherapy Guidance for Clinical Social Workers with Medicare Clients
Under pressure from NASW and other medical societies, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance late today allowing telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries--a victory for NASW and other advocates who have been pushing for the move in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Clinical social workers now can provide teletherapy to beneficiaries if a new or existing client is in their home. There will be no audits to determine prior relationship. Telephone/audio-only is not reimbursable; CSWs must use a videoconferencing platform, which should be easier since HIPAA requirements are also eased. For full details, visit http://bit.ly/MedicareTeletherapyGuidance.
Chapter Victory! Governor Signs “Conversion Therapy” Ban
On March 3, Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law chapter-supported legislation that bans “conversion therapy” of children, marking a victorious end to NASWVA’s longtime efforts to stop the widely discredited psychotherapy practice. Conversion therapy claims to alter or repress an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The NASW Virginia Chapter has worked hard to protect the rights and welfare of LGBTQ children and adults,” says Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE, “The use of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in Virginia was an appalling and misleading practice that was not evidence-based. Thank you to all members who sent letters, made phone calls, and participated in the chapter’s Lobby Day to ensure this issue stayed on the front burner of state lawmakers.”
For background, read the NASW position statement.
Chapter Victory! Virginia Workforce Study Moves Ahead
The Virginia Chapter of NASW has successfully co-led legislative efforts to advance a study that would gather critical data about the state’s social work workforce, ranging from salary information to licensing to workforce development. The bipartisan joint resolution was unanimously reported out of the House to the Senate (SJ49) January 24 for further consideration.
The chapter and its allies, including leaders of the Association of Black Social Workers Richmond Chapter and several universities, are grateful to bill sponsor Sen. Jennifer McLellan (Richmond, second from left) for her hard work to support this unprecedented study.
"Special thanks goes to Dr. Angela Henderson (fourth from right) for jumpstarting and co-organizing these collaborative efforts, as well as for her commitment to the chapter and the profession," says NASWVA Executive Director Debra Riggs, CAE (bottom left). "We also appreciate the efforts of Abigail Philips, chief of staff to Sen. McClellan (third from left). We look forward to working with the Senate to bring this resolution to full fruition soon."
Please email Debra Riggs at email@example.com if you want to support this legislative effort. Follow the chapter on Facebook (@NASWVA) for the latest legislative and regulatory progress in this fast-paced General Assembly.
CEU Requirement Deadlines Extended One Year
The Virginia Board of Social Work has extended the deadline for LCSWs to complete their 30 hours for this cycle by a year (until June 30, 2021), unless you are newly licensed and not required to complete continuing education requirements this year. However, this does not change the next two-year cycle—LCSWs must also complete an additional 30 hours by June 30, 2022.
Each LBSW or LMSW will have until June 30, 2021, to complete the required 15 hours of CE. Every LCSW is still required to complete the required 30 hours of CE for the June 30, 2022, renewal, and each LBSW and LMSW is still required to complete the 15 hours of CE by the June 30, 2022, renewal, as well. The extension does not apply to those individuals who must complete CEs as part of a Board order. If you have questions, please contact your compliance manager.
Look online at our CE Institute for many training courses and/or at the chapter’s Calendar of Events. Local training will be scheduled continuously. Our 2020 conference also offers numerous opportunities for ethics contact hours.
About the National Association of Social Workers Virginia Chapter
NASW Virginia Chapter (NASWVA) is the top provider of social work professional development in the Commonwealth, as well as a nonprofit association that advocates for professional practices and social justice in the interest of thousands of social workers and their clients.
The chapter operates as the statewide arm of the National Association of Social Workers, which also offers events and education to enhance the skills and knowledge of its members, creates professional standards, and to advances sound social policies. All members must first join NASW to automatically become members of the NASW Virginia Chapter.
What does NASWVA do?
Promotes the core value of belief in the inherent worth and dignity of each individual.
Endorses and advances a professional social work identity and presence.
Connects, educates, and defines standards that enhance and guide professional practice.
Assesses and addresses current trends and issues relevant to and affecting the profession.
Advocates and supports public policies and legislative efforts to further the profession of social work and embrace the diversity of human need.
Founded in 1955, the National Association of Social Workers is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with more than 120,000 members.