Social Work in Action:
February - March 2022

NASW Supports Workplace Vaccination Requirements

woman receiving vaccine in arm from doctor

NASW strongly supports workplace requirements that employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be regularly tested.

The association said in a statement it also urges all social workers to not only be fully vaccinated and receive boosters as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but to be leaders in increasing vaccination rates in their communities.

“As an essential health profession providing services in numerous settings, and as trusted messengers in our communities, social workers play a key role in advancing science-based efforts to fight COVID-19,” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “We have an ethical duty to not only comply with local public health requirements, but to help move the country beyond the pandemic, which has already claimed more than 808,000 lives since early 2020.”

Higher rates of immunization are imperative to curb and eliminate the spread of COVID-19, including the newly identified omicron variant. A recent study shows that in the United States, vaccines are five times more effective than a previous COVID-19 infection in preventing serious illness and hospitalization. Any risks associated with receiving the vaccines are considerably less common and less serious than the consequences of contracting COVID-19, especially for certain groups that are at higher risk of severe illness. Immunization is a key tool in responding to this devastating virus.

The NASW Foundation and the University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work are partnering in a CDC-funded initiative, Connect to End COVID-19, to promote COVID-19 vaccine confidence and support vaccine decision-making by social workers and their clients. The initiative includes training for social workers on motivational interviewing and other evidence-based models to facilitate effective client and family health decision-making.”

Ethics Tip Sheet for Practice Updated

The NASW Office of Ethics and Professional Review has updated its tip sheet, 8 Ethical Considerations for Upholding Privacy and Confidentiality in Social Work Practice.

The tip sheet notes Privacy and Confidentiality, 1.07, is one of the most cited areas of the NASW Code of Ethics. The 23 items in the section of the code provide substantive guidance related to social workers’ ethical obligations regarding verbal, written, and electronic communications with and about clients. The eight considerations underscore key elements for honoring the sacred clinical relationship and communications between social workers and their clients.

Congress Averts Cuts to Medicare Reimbursements

NASW commended Congress for passing legislation to avert major Medicare pay cuts to clinical social workers and other providers who participate in Medicare that would have taken effect in January. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in November 2021 issued a final rule on the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS), which called for 3.75 percent reimbursement cuts to a number of specialty providers, including clinical social workers. 

Due to an intense advocacy effort fueled by NASW members and other professional organizations, Congress passed legislation that offsets most of the proposed cuts and delays additional reductions that were looming due to sequestration and other budget requirements. NASW will continue to advocate to ensure a strong Medicare program that adequately reimburses clinical social workers.

cover of February - March 2022 magazine

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