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 driggs.naswva@socialworkers.org 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.