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COVID-19 Updates


 

NASW-PA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Resources

COVID-19 FAQ

·      As a social worker, I am aware of people who need to talk and connect during this time of social distancing.  Is there a hotline or call center that is addressing this need?

o   On 4/2/20, DHS announced the launch of a statewide Support & Referral Hotline available 24/7 to assist Pennsylvanians struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to COVID-19, and refer them to community-based resources.  The number is 1-855-284-2494 (TTY 724-631-5600).  Other resources available include:

·  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

·  Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454

·  Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741

·  Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

·  Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990

·  Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357

·  Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Helpline – 1-888-772-7227

·  National Domestic Violence Helpline – 1-800-799-7233

 

·      I’m working on getting my LCSW.  As I move to working from home due to COVID-19, how does that impact my ability to obtain hours and/or supervision?

o   Both the requirement for face-to-face contact for accruing clinical hours and the requirement for in-person supervision have been waived temporarily by the Department of State.  Read the announcements below under the Pennsylvania Licensure section for more details, but generally both waivers allow online contact in lieu of face-to-face.

 

·      I am transitioning my practice to conduct online therapy for the first time.  What kind of portal do I need?

o   Social workers transitioning to online therapy should follow NASW’s Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice and should follow all HIPAA guidelines.  While HIPAA has suspended enforcement of its usual standards for compliant portals, the portal must still be non-public facing and used in good faith.  HIPAA complaint portals are still recommended.  Click here for an article reviewing some commonly used HIPAA compliant portals for teletherapy.

o   Also note that audio-only therapy is not currently accepted by many insurance companies, including Medicare (although there are advocacy efforts to change this.)  Check with the insurance company before engaging in audio-only therapy to verify this will be allowed.

 

·      What do I need to know about billing for online therapy and/or whether my claim will be accepted?

o   NEW:  As of April 3rd, use the guidelines listed here.

o   Insurance companies vary both by company and by benefits – we urge social workers to check the benefit package for your individual client.  However, review the information in the Pennsylvania Teletherapy Resources below for additional information on specific insurers, including actions on both Medicare and Medicaid.

 

·      Does my malpractice insurance cover teletherapy?

o   Most insurance policies do NOT cover telemedicine but you can check with your carrier to confirm the details of your policy and if there are any alterations due to COVID-19.

o   For individuals covered under the NASW Risk Retention Group (RRG), they have released the following statement: The RRG professional liability policy provides coverage for Tele-therapy as long as it is an accepted practice conducted according to the individual practitioner’s state regulations, state licensing board requirements, and HIPAA privacy standards which vary by state and are continually evolving.

 

·      Can I do teletherapy across state lines if my client is now in another state due to COVID-19?

o   As always, the answer to that question depends on the rules in the state where your client is physically located.  If you are an out-of-state practitioner with a client in Pennsylvania, the Governor has issued a statement allowing licensed practitioners in other states to practice in PA during the crisis.  Below, in the “Social Work Licensure” section, you can also find links for emergency or temporary practice in New Jersey and Ohio.  Many states are allowing temporary practice across state lines but this is not yet national, so you will need to abide by the rules of state where your client is residing.

 

·      I’m a social work student doing my field placement.  What should I do to finish my internship?

o   Students should finish their hours, if possible, by transitioning to working from home.  Some may participate in webinars or online events in lieu of field work.  However, the CSWE has reduced the number of required hours temporarily.  Students should consult with their field supervisor and the field liaison at their university. 

 

·      What is NASW and/or NASW-PA doing to advocate for social workers during this time?

o   From the beginning of this crisis, NASW-PA has been working closely with the Governor’s office, the Department of State, and others in the administration to request temporary waivers or changes to reduce barriers to care in light of the unique challenges of COVID-19, including teletherapy, online supervision, and others.  Many of the changes requested have since been made policy at least on a temporary basis.  We continue to work with the administration on removing other barriers to serving those in need.  If you are encountering any problems as a result of COVID-19, please notify Johanna Byrd at jbyrd.naswpa@socialworkers.org.

o   For NASW’s national advocacy efforts, visit the NASW COVID-19 Advocacy page for a list of sign-on letters and other actions. 

 

 

RESOURCES

 

Social Work Licensure

3/26/20 DOS issues waiver for face-to-face contact for accruing clinical hours for licensure

3/22/20 DOS issues waiver for “in-person” supervision via electronic means

3/18/20 Governor Wolf allows licensed practitioners in other states to practice in PA

New Jersey Temporary Emergency License for Out-of-State Providers

Ohio: Guidance for out-of-state practitioners treating existing clients temporarily in Ohio

DOS Suspended Licensing Regulations homepage

BPOA: Continuing Operations FAQ

ASWB State-by-State COVID-19 Social Work Licensure Provision

 

National Resource Page

NASW Coronavirus Resource Page

SAMHSA COVID-19 page

 

Pennsylvania Teletherapy Updates

3/18/20 Governor Wolf authorizes licensed practitioners to provide telehealth services

3/18/20 DDAP releases telehealth guidance for drug and alcohol programs

3/17/20 DHS releases COVID-19 Operational Recommendations, Telehealth Guidelines for behavioral health services

3/15/20 OMHSAS Telehealth Guidelines related to COVID-19

Attestation form (must be submitted within 5 business days of initiating telehealth)

Commercial insurance carriers’ statements on COVID-19/telehealth changes:

o   Aetna

o   Cigna

o   Highmark

o   Humana/Tricare

o   Independence Blue Cross

o   Magellan

o   MHC

o   Optum

o   Quest

o   UPMC

 

National Teletherapy Updates and Resources

NASW Practice Alert April 2020: Medicare Revises Telehealth Place of Service and Modifier Codes During COVID-19

NASW Practice Alert April 2020: Medicaid Considerations to Support Communities During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

ADVOCACY:  Urge CMS to Expand Telehealth to Include Audio-Only Devices

Model:  Telehealth Informed Consent Form

NASW, ASWB, CSWE, & CSWA Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice

4/3/20 CMS video on Medicare Coverage and Payment of Virtual Services

3/17/20 Bulletin from NASW Assurance Services on telehealth

3/17/20 Medicare Telemedicine Health Care Provider Fact Sheet

3/17/20 Medicare Telehealth FAQs

OCR Notification of HIPAA Enforcement Discretion (Allows practitioners to use non-HIPAA compliant portals for teletherapy)

Center for Connected Health Policy’s summary of Telehealth Coverage Policies in the Time of COVID-19

HHS site on HIPAA and COVID-19

Reviews:  Comparing the latest telehealth solutions

 

General PA Resources

3/31/20 Wolf: Request for Major Disaster Declaration approved

Department of Community and Economic Development:  Life-Sustaining Businesses and Stay-at-Home Orders (updated regularly)

Pennsylvania Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pennsylvania Overview (updated daily)

Penn Live Coronavirus page (all coronavirus content available free)

Attorney General's COVID-19 page (price gouging, etc.)

 

Private Practice/Non-Profit Support

Grantspace: Emergency Financial Resources to Help with COVID-19 Hardships

Added 4/6/20: Google Doc from NASW-TX member with SBA forgivable loans for sole proprietors

3/31/20:  CARES Act: What Your Small Business or Non-Profit Needs to Know (article from CPA)

Philadelphia COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund

United Way of Pennsylvania Coronavirus Nonprofit Resource Hub

 

Unemployment/Benefit Resources

4/13/20: PA Dept of Labor & Industry COVID-19 Job Site

3/30/20 Attorney General Shapiro announces "PA CARE Package" Consumer Relief Initiative during COVID Pandemic (90 day grace period for mortgages, car loans, and other consumer loans; 90 day relief from late or overdraft fees; 60 day moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and repossessions; etc.)

3/27/20:  News Release from NASW on $2 trillion Coronavirus Relief Package

Office of Unemployment Compensation: Information for PA Employees impacted by COVID-19

DHS:  Apply for Benefits Online at COMPASS (Medical assistance, SNAP, TANF, LIHEAP, CHIP, etc.)

211 United Way of Pennsylvania

IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief

 

Violence

April 2020 article: Responding to Child Abuse during a Pandemic: 25 Tips for MDTs

4/7/20: Community Leaders Join Governor Wolf to Call for End to COVID-19 Related Discrimination

4/5/20 article:  PA groups warn against attacks targeting Asian Americans over coronavirus

4/1/20: Wolf Administration Reminds Pennsylvanians that Child and Adult Protective Services, Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Programs are Still Operating During COVID-19 Mitigation

3/20/20 article: Isolation of families for coronavirus raises concerns about domestic violence

National Domestic Violence Hotline:  Staying Safe during COVID-19

 

Mental Health Resources

Mental Health America COVID-19 Resource page

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention tools and positive messages

4/14/20 WaPo Video: Volunteers Fight a Mental Health Crisis amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

Crisis Text Line

4/3/20 Pennsylvania launches statewide helpline for those struggling with anxiety due to coronavirus

CDC information on stress and coping

SAMHSA:  Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health during an Infectious Disease Outbreak

SAMHSA:  Coping with Stress during Infectious Disease Outbreaks

 

Setting- or Population-Specific Guidance

April 2020: Implications of Coronavirus (COVID-19) for America's Vulnerable and Marginalized Populations

4/14/20 NASW Social Work Talks podcast: Hospital Social Work during the Coronavirus Pandemic

4/7/20 DHS Emphasizes Importance of Support for People with Disabilities during COVID-19 Emergency

3/31/20 OMHSAS Visitation Guidelines for Residential Treatment

3/31/20 NASW Social Work Talks podcast:  Supporting Seniors during Social Distancing

NCCHC Guidance on COVID-19 in Correctional Facilities (updated regularly)

Resources for Immigrants during the Coronavirus crisis

 

Self-Care for Social Workers

The Art of Self-Care for Social Workers

Health Care Provider Well-Being During COVID-19

National Center for PTSD: Managing Healthcare Workers’ Stress Associated with the COVID-19 Virus Outbreak

3/17/20 NASW Social Work Talks podcast:  Self-Care for Social Workers during the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

Ethics

COVID-19 Ethics Resources

NASW Blog: Social Work Ethics During the Time of Pandemic

Coronavirus: 8 Ethical Considerations for Social Workers

Ethical Exceptions for Social Workers in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Physical Distancing

Be a Good Neighbor, Fight Panic, Model Ethical Behavior & Help Those in Need (article written by NASW-PA intern Elizabeth Riker)

 

Voting and Elections

Request a mail-in ballot for the 2020 Primary

 

Parenting Resources

How Teenagers Can Protect Their Mental Health During Coronavirus

How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus

5 Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About the Coronavirus

Free Children’s Book:  I Have a Question about Coronavirus (written by MD social workers)

CDC Resources on Caring for Children during Coronavirus

SAMHSA: Talking with Children:  Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Diseases

 

Miscellaneous

Donate: Emergency Assistance for College-Age Foster Care Youth Impacted by COVID-19 Closures

COVID-19 Volunteer Opportunities from Home

Volunteer at Crisis Text Line

3/25/20 CSWE Alters Field Hours Required for Social Work Students

 

Webinars


Watch our latest recorded webinars

Telehealth In The Time of The Coronavirus: What You Need To Know

Abstract:

As COVID-19 (AKA the coronavirus) spreads throughout our communities, it is forcing closures and shutdowns, and will mean that many will stay home or reduce their time in public...especially those from populations susceptible to the disease.  Social workers concerned with maintaining necessary treatment are exploring other options for how to care for their clients, including teletherapy, but may not know what that entails.  Join us for this special webinar to provide teletherapy basics during this time of public health crisis.  We will cover HIPAA compliant platforms, insurance billing, and other essentials to help you meet your clients’ needs.

Presenter: Kevin Caridad, PhD, LCSW

Watch the recorded webinar here!

A Pandemic of Grief: Understanding Loss during Crisis

Abstract:

During the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, people are experiencing multiple losses. Thousands of people have died as result of the virus and this pandemic has changed nearly every part of our lives. A collective loss of normalcy and fear for future disruptions leaves many grieving and anxious. This presentation will help you understand and normalize grief responses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and includes a discussion of ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief. We will explore strategies for coping with our communal grief response.

Presenter: Dr. Tami Micsky, MSSA, LSW, CT, Assistant Professor of Social Work and Applied Sociology at Mercyhurst University, in Erie, PA

Watch the recorded webinar here

 

Being Homeless and Living in a World of COVID-19 Fear

 

Abstract: You will learn the economic hardship that is faced by the homeless during this pandemic. You will get a better understanding of how a person living with homelessness suffers and survives in a fearful world. You will listen to real life testimony and stories of struggles, success, and fears of homeless men and women. You will understand how services that once operated are shifting to meet the demand. You will also get a better understanding how to do you small part as a social workers via micro, macro and mezzo levels to help change images of homeless in your area.

Presenter:

Justin Behrens, LSW CEO & Executive Director of Keystone Mission

Watch the recorded webinar here 


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