Social Work in Action: October / November 2022

By Paul R. Pace

NASW Applauds President Biden’s Student Loan Debt Relief Plan

NASW issued a statement thanking President Biden for announcing a plan to provide student loan relief for millions of Americans. NASW said it will continue to advocate for more action to help social workers struggling with student loan debt.

“We recognize that student loan debt burden significantly impacts the social work workforce, especially social workers of color and those who are first-generation college graduates,” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “We thank President Biden and champions in Congress for their steadfast work to provide meaningful relief to student loan borrowers.”

Biden announced a three-part plan to provide student loan debt relief for borrowers who need it most. The plan includes cancellation of student loan debt for individuals earning up to $125,000 annually.

An extension of the federal student loan payment pause, and moratorium on interest through Dec. 31, 2022.

NASW Halts Potentially Deceptive Marketing Practice by Referral Websites

people searching the internet

NASW members alerted their state chapters to a disturbing and potentially deceptive marketing practice impacting social workers nationwide.

CareDash, a health care review and referral website for a wide variety of health care providers — including clinical social workers — was posting profiles of thousands of social workers, without their consent or knowledge, in order to drive their prospective clients to provider networks that partner with CareDash.

A primary beneficiary of this practice was BetterHelp, the largest online therapy platform in the nation.

Upon learning of this practice, NASW sent letters to CareDash and BetterHelp demanding that the practice be halted immediately as well as other actions. As a result, BetterHelp has disassociated itself from CareDash. Additionally, CareDash has modified its practices in response to NASW’s concerns about the potential deceptiveness.

Read NASW's blog post about the CareDash issue, written by Gary P. Gross, deputy general counsel at NASW.

NASW, Aging Coalition Urge Congress to Act on Older Adult Mental Health

As a member of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO), NASW has assumed a primary role in developing and advocating for the coalition’s mental health agenda.

NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman worked with coalition colleagues to develop LCAO’s first mental health–focused letter to Congress, available on the LCAO website. The letter includes the Improving Access to Mental Health Act (S. 870/H.R. 2035).

In addition, NASW staff members have represented the association in multiple LCAO meetings with Hill staff to urge members of Congress to support S. 870/H.R. 2035 and other strategies to enhance older adults’ access to services for mental health conditions and substance use disorders.

Members Urged to Support Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act

NASW urged members to contact their senators to pass the Advancing Telehealth Beyond COVID-19 Act (H.R. 4040). The bill would extend critically important Medicare telehealth flexibilities implemented during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) through 2024. This legislation would delay the requirement that patients and/or clients be seen in person periodically to receive telemental health services.

The U.S. House of Representative overwhelmingly passed the bill in July.

If passed, the legislation would be a significant victory for social workers and those they serve, but it is not a permanent solution. NASW said it will continue advocating for sensible solutions that will allow social workers to continue providing telehealth services with maximum flexibility on a permanent basis.

cover of October / November 2022 issue

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