Letters to the Editor (September 2009)

Remembering Springle

I had the privilege and the pleasure of working with U.S. Navy Cmdr. Charles Keith Springle at the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Millington, Tenn.[July News]. His sense of humor and ready smile were an uplifting experience for all of us. His dedication to duty and his social work skills were exceptional.

Keith will be missed by me and the others who worked with him there. He was one of a kind — not only as a naval officer but also as a social worker and was the best in both.

Susan B. Avery, LCSW, ACSW
Fort Worth, Texas

Rethink Use of 'Rampage'

In your recent article, "Rampage Claims Social Worker" [July News], I was taken aback by the title, but pleased by the fact that NASW is urging the Department of Defense to step up their efforts to address the multiple deployments as well as the mental health needs of our veterans.

What troubles me about the article is the legacy of U.S. Navy Cmdr. Charles Keith Springle may be lost by the initial use of language to convey the tragedy of war.

It should be obvious to those of us who have elected social work as a profession that Cmdr. Springle's dedication to country and profession exemplify the highest principles of both professions, but the platitudes so richly deserved are lost when we fail to parse our words as social workers.

I am of the opinion that to extol or demonize the actions of human beings thrust into unspeakable situations may be mischaracterized by the use of terms like "rampage."

Roberto Murillo, MSW
Los Angeles, Calif.

Reinstate Medicare Billing

As cited in the May 2009 NASW News article "ACHP-SW Gaining Popularity," organizations and clients are beginning to seek out professionals who have dedicated their skills and talents to working with patients and families with advanced chronic illnesses and terminal diagnoses.

As professionals working in hospital settings, we must also advocate for palliative care-trained clinical social workers to be full time, active members of the interdisciplinary team. Patients and families need the readily available skill sets provided by a clinical social worker: meeting the client where they are, active listening, advocating, and offering emotional support before making complex decisions related to advanced chronic illnesses and terminal diagnosis.

One means of meeting the challenge of providing quality health care in a cost-effective manner would be to reinstate Medicare billing for clinical social worker services in the hospital setting.

As our country's population continues to age, and in this current climate of change with a greater emphasis on national health care reform, we as NASW members can be in the forefront advocating for this important revision in the Medicare regulations.

Sandra K. Burcham, LCSW, ACHP-SW
Richmond, Va.