FERPA: COVID-19, Virtual Learning, and Disclosures
As schools use virtual classroom due to COVID-19, the U.S. Department
Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and its implications for distance learning.
COVID-19: 42 CFR Part 2 Guidance
Tthe Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA) has provided guidance to ensure that substance use disorder treatment
services are not interrupted during this public health emergency.
Read "COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Response and 42 CFR Part 2 Guidance"
As governments begin the process of reopening, many social
workers are considering when and how to resume their own in-person
service to clients. Common questions are addressed in this article from a legal perspective, along with an informed consent form, to provide general guidance to social workers.
Cases have recently arisen where clinical social workers have been
asked to disclose the names of their clients to public health officials, to
assist in tracing exposure to the novel coronavirus. The social worker’s
responsibility in this instance includes aspects of the HIPAA Privacy Rule,
NASW’s Code of Ethics, and local laws including licensure rules, health care
confidentiality, and public health regulations. This article discusses how
these national rules are likely to apply.
** Please note: Social workers who work with students in educational institutions should be familiar with FERPA. Review FERPA and COVID-19 FAQ for more information that may be useful to social workers who work with students in educational institutions when managing public health issues related to
COVID-19, and protecting the privacy of students’ education records.
Telemental health is the practice of delivering clinical health care
services via technology assisted media or other electronic means between
a practitioner and a client who are located in two different locations.
Treatment is considered to take place where the client is. With
telemental health, social workers must make sure they are practicing
legally and ethically; following state licensure regulations; and
adhering to state and federal practice guidelines and payer contract
agreements. These resources provide information relevant to social
workers about telemental health.
Workers' Rights During COVID-19
Learn about key federal workplace laws protecting social workers
during the current pandemic. Many of these laws have a state-law corollary, and
certain areas, such as workers’ compensation and unemployment coverage,
are primarily governed by state rather than federal law.
Prepared at the request of NASW and its Ohio
Chapter by Jonathan Wentz, Esq. and Sarah Ingles, Esq., attorneys at the law
firm of Barkan Meizlish, LLP.