HIPAA Help for Social Workers


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability of Act (HIPAA) of 1996 generated several sets of federal regulations applicable to mental health and health care practitioners, including social workers.

NASW has analyzed HIPAA’s medical privacy regulations in context with the NASW Code of Ethics, highlighted key issues, and interpreted the regulations for clinical social work practice to assist members in meeting their regulatory responsibilities under HIPAA.

NASW has provided members with a wealth of information and resources on HIPAA as it relates to social work practice. These include a set of online HIPAA forms, office policies, and sample documents that can be adapted to an individual social workers’ clinical practice settings; federal government agency resources; practice updates; and Legal Issue of the Month articles. NASW has consolidated this information into this one easy access point for information about HIPAA for social workers.

Please note: 

Social workers who work with students in educational institutions should be familiar with FERPA.  Review FERPA and the Disclosure of Student Education Records (April 2016), and the Joint Guidance  on the Application of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to Student Health Records (updated December 2019), for more information.


This toolkit contains a comprehensive compilation of sample policies and forms necessary for HIPAA compliance that can be adapted to a specific social work practice setting.

HIPAA Training

NASW/Medelearn courses provide an overview of the amended federal HIPAA regulations that went into effect as of 2013 for most healthcare entities, including many social workers.

Related Resources

Find a wealth of HIPAA information from various sources.

Telemental Health

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.