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NASW releases updated standards on Social Work Practice in a Health Care Settings

Standards offer social workers knowledge to give effective care in the Affordable Care Act era

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has updated its Standards for Social Work Practice in Health Care Settings, giving social workers additional knowledge to help them provide effective care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“There have been huge changes in the nation’s health care landscape so NASW pulled together social work experts to update our standards,” said Heidi McIntosh, MSW, deputy director of programs at NASW. “In today’s healthcare environment social workers have found new roles and there is a great recognition of the value that social workers bring in ending health care inequities. These updated standards reflect that.”

The standards highlight the following areas:

  • Social work responsibilities in the context of new health care delivery models
  • The social determinants of health and health disparities
  • The importance of cross-cultural knowledge and facilitation of culturally and linguistically appropriate care
  • Working in interprofessional teams and integrated care settings
  • Engaging in quality improvement and evaluation activities
  • Employing evidence-informed interventions
  • Advocating for appropriate workloads

The NASW Standards for Social Work Practice in Health Care Settings are available for download or purchase at the NASW Practice Standards Website (

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 130,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.