Supporting Clients During the Coronavirus Pandemic


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued guidance outlining how telehealth (including teletherapy) can be provided and reimbursed to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this CMS guidance, clinical social workers (CSWs) can:

  • Provide and be reimbursed for teletherapy to new or existing Medicare beneficiary clients
  • Provide and be reimbursed for teletherapy provided to clients when clients are in their home

Learn more about Telehealth

Managing Anxiety

There is widespread anxiety about COVID-19, which is common in the case of epidemics and pandemics. There are still uncertainties about this disease which also fuels anxiety and panic. Current disruptions in day-to-day life, such as the quarantine of loved ones who are in long-term care or skilled nursing facilities, travel plan cancellations and school closures, also increase these feelings. Many people are experiencing mood problems, sleep issues, phobia and spikes in symptoms for pre-existing mental health disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Social workers are skilled in addressing the mental health-related dimensions of health crises. They help clients find constructive ways to manage their anxiety, especially if these worries are adversely impacting work performance, relationships, and daily routines. In addition, social workers help parents and guardians communicate with their children about COVID-19 and its impacts.

Quarantine or Containment Controls

As COVID-19 is being monitored globally and across the United States, public health guidance is rapidly changing. Social workers can help individuals manage quarantine and service access issues when COVID-19 is identified in their area. If schools are closed for extended periods, how can families plan for the care of their children?  While travel is restricted, are there relatives and neighbors who will need assistance? Do families have food, household supplies, and necessary medications while they remain at home? Are volunteers needed to support health care and other essential workers?

Securing Health Insurance Coverage

One of the most important interventions at this time is to ensure that individuals have health insurance coverage. Health insurance coverage enables people to receive preventive medical care to identify underlying risk factors that could make them vulnerable to infectious diseases. It also enables individuals to access timely, appropriate care when they are sick. Individuals and families that qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicaid can enroll at any time of the year, and there are enrollment options online, by phone, by mail or in person. 

For more information, visit and

Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP

NASW Practice Alert: Medicaid Considerations to Support Communities During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

CMS has provided the following fact sheets on payment for medically necessary medical services related to COVID-19:

Private Health Insurance COVID-19 Guides

Private health plans have dedicated COVID-19 guides on their websites for providers and patients.

Partner Resources

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Connect to end COVID-19, overlapping speech bubbles

Join NASW’s national Connect to End COVID-19 effort, a CDC-funded initiative to support social workers and their clients in informed vaccine decision-making. Complimentary webinars and CEUs available. Learn about Connect to End COVID-19

News Release

$2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package Will Support Social Workers, Clients They Serve

Coronavirus (COVID-19): 8 Ethical Considerations for Social Workers

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) is rapidly transforming the way we go about day-to-day living. What should social workers do to prepare for the impact of this pandemic?

Get 8 Ethics tips for social workers

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Join the Conversation

NASW members, go to MyNASW, the online community where social workers are discussing challenges and solutions for practicing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Visit MyNASW