December 2017

As many of you are aware, Beacon Health Options and their subcontractor, Nokomis, are conducting an audit that unfairly targets clinicians through retroactive claims denials. NASW-MA has been working tirelessly on this issue to get justice for social workers and vulnerable clients across the state. As a result of our advocacy with other partner organizations, Beacon will be providing various accommodations just for clinicians in MA through February for the current audit - and other accommodations on a longer term basis. While the current accommodation helps, it doesn't go as far as we'd like so we will continue to advocate for you and will look to you to continue to share your stories and concerns with us. Share your story here.

We also know that as long as we have for-profit insurance companies managing public programs like Medicaid, these sorts of problems will exist. The picture in the header above is me speaking earlier this month at the Single Payer lobby day in the State House hosted by Mass-Care and co-sponsored by NASW-MA. NASW has always been a leading champion for single payer, which is a more fair and just way to manage and provide health care to all residents of the Commonwealth.

On another note, I want to make sure you know that NASW-MA's monthly printed newsletter, FOCUS, has gotten a major face-lift and a new name. Expect to see Social Work Voice , formerly FOCUS, in your mailbox this January 2018. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this new magazine-style publication. The January issue is all about social work and social justice in health and health care here in Massachusetts.

We are always looking to help you develop professionally through our many leadership opportunities. Consider nominating yourself or a colleague for a NASW-MA leadership position. There are many opportunities available (details below) and the deadline has been extended to December 15th! I hope to see your name in the running.

Happy Holidays!

Rebekah Gewirtz
Executive Director
617-227-9635 x16

P.S. the NASW-MA office will be closed December 25, 2017 - January 1, 2018. We will return on January 2nd.

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Deadline Extended! Nominate Yourself or a Colleague for a Chapter Leadership Position
There are many ways to get involved with NASW-MA and be a leader for the profession and the clients and communities served by social workers. Nominate yourself or a colleague for a leadership position today! Nominations are due by December 15th.

Questions on time commitment or why you should run? Email Rebekah.
Be a CEU Reviewer and Attend NASW CEU Programs for FREE!
We are seeking NASW members to be reviewers of continuing education programs for the Collaborative, which is the name of the entity that approves CEU programs here at the chapter. Volunteer reviewers receive vouchers for CEU programs.

Qualifications: LICSW or LCSW with 5 or more years of experience. Understand professional continuing education and be able to evaluate whether proposed programs meet the needs of licensed social workers. Must be available by email.

Responsibilities: Process approximately 15 applications per month and return results within 10 business days.

Send resume and letter of reference to: Adam Linn, Collaborative Coordinator,
Join a Committee or Shared Interest Group
Come to a meeting! Click here to see upcoming meeting dates.

Get involved! See a full list of our 30+ member groups and contact information here.
Raise Up MA Signature Drive Update: We Surpassed Our Goal!
NASW-MA is a member of the Raise Up Mass coalition and a strong supporter of two proposed ballot initiatives: $15 an hour minimum wage and paid family and medical leave. To get these on the ballot, 160,000 certified signatures are needed for each initiative. NASW-MA committed to collecting 1,000 of these signatures. Thanks to you, we surpassed our goal and collected 1,530 signatures! We had members in every corner of the state collecting signatures. Special shout-out to the Schools of Social Work who helped: Western New England University, Westfield State, and Eastern Nazarene College. This showcases NASW-MA’s strength in numbers and ability to effectively advocate - and deliver!

So what’s next? Join us for the Raise Up Massachusetts Day of Return Action on Tuesday, December 5 at 12:00 pm at the park beside the 1 Ashburton Place State Office Building, that's behind and to the right of the State House, 1 block down Bowdoin Street, from the corner of Beacon Street and Bowdoin Street. We will rally, speak, hear music, and march boxes filled with our petitions to the Secretary of State's Office.

In January 2018 we will learn how many of the collected signatures are certified. During parts of May and June 2018, we have to gather 1/6 of the amount of signatures that we gathered this fall. Then, if the Legislature doesn't pass and the Governor doesn't sign the minimum wage increase and Paid Family and Medical Leave bills by July 1, 2018, we can file the signatures and it would go on the ballot in 2018 for a vote by the the public.

Looking for ways to get involved in this campaign or similar campaigns? Email NASW-MA Political Director, Sophie Hansen at
Criminal Justice Reform Omnibus Bill Passes House & Senate!
Both legislative branches passed their own versions of the criminal justice reform bill (H4011/S2170) and are expected to meet after the winter recess in January to come to agreement on various amendments that were debated. A short list of wins:

  • Major reforms to take place in solitary confinement policies including mental health evaluations and treatment.
  • Decreases time for felonies from 10 to 7 years and misdemeanors from 5 to 3 years for acts committed by juveniles, allowing their records to be expunged and become employed therefore reducing recidivism.
  • Access to appropriate treatment for opioid addiction (including MAT) while incarcerated.
  • Guaranteed equal protection for incarcerated LGBTQ population (including use of proper pronouns), including collection of data based on their experience.
  • Increased clinical standards for mental health treatment in prison.
  • Amendment #141 will study the increasing rate of prisoner suicides and methods of prevention.
  • Police training for de-escalation and awareness of unconscious bias passed with bipartisan support.
In Support of Single Payer
On November 14th at the Right to Health Massachusetts Rally, Executive Director Rebekah Gewirtz shared why NASW-MA is in support of a single payer health care system in our state. At the rally, Rebekah told the story of our member John, who like so many other social workers, is suffering from clawbacks at the hands of for-profit insurance companies. We should never have for-profit entities managing benefits for the state's most vulnerable residents. It just doesn't make sense.

Read NASW-MA's full statement here .
Spread the Word - ACA Health Insurance Open Enrollment Happening Now!
In MA, open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) is from November 1, 2017 - January 23, 2018. Now is the time to enroll in health insurance or change your plan.

We encourage social workers to share enrollment information with clients and communities you serve to bring awareness to the current open enrollment period.

Download the easily accessible health insurance flyer we created, available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese here. One side is designed to help providers understand health insurance and the open enrollment process, the other side is designed to help patients and clients navigate health insurance enrollment using our state's health insurance marketplace, the MA Health Connector.
Lend Your Voice! Social Workers Needed to Testify in Support of Prevention Initiatives in Response to the Opioid Crisis
The Promote Prevent Commission, of which NASW MA is a member, wants to hear from social workers who are working in programs that support prevention and highlight the integration of the social determinants of health. Does this apply to you? Testify at the Commission's hearing on December 15th.

Download the flyer here to learn more.

An example would be the Young Parent Program at Boston Children's Hospital, teaching teen parents critical skills to prevent routine illness in their children while addressing housing or food insecurities.

Learn more about the Promote Prevent Commission here. If you plan to testify, please be in touch with Sophie Hansen at
Lift the Cap on Kids Next Steps!
First off, thank you for your donations of winter hats and mittens. We had an incredible display of your donations at the State House Lift the Cap event in October.

In January, the Coalition will be scheduling meetings with each of the bill's 80+ cosponsors in both the House and Senate. We will need your voices at the table. Be on the lookout for ways to get involved in the coming weeks.
Federal SNAP Policy to Limit Benefits: What You Need to Know
A federal SNAP time limit rule - first implemented in January of 2016 - will adversely impact more low-income Massachusetts adults in January of 2018.  Certain childless individuals - ages 18 through 49 - may receive a letter from DTA saying they only qualify for 3 months of SNAP in a 3 year period, UNLESS the individual meets an exemption from the time limit or certain work rules.  

It is important to know that your clients can qualify for an exemption to this rule if they are in one of the following situations: have a medical condition that reduces their ability to work a full-time regular job, are homeless, are pregnant, are in a treatment program, live with a child (even if not their own), or meet other exemptions under the rules. 

  • The new 3-year "clock" will start again in January 2018 - more individuals eligible for SNAP short term. Non-exempt "able-bodied without dependents" (ABAWDS) ages 18-50 can qualify, or re-qualify, for 3 months of SNAP benefits in January or any time they reapply. (This is true even if the ABAWD lost their SNAP benefits in the past few years). And all SNAP recipient can access SNAP employment and training (SNAP-ET) programs paid for by SNAP. 
  • Many areas of Massachusetts where the 3-month time limit did not apply due to high unemployment will be ending. This means that individuals in parts of Western MA, Central MA, North Shore and South Shore who were never subject to this rule now get letters from DTA telling them they only have 3 months unless a) exempt or b) doing one of the required work activities. ATTACHED is a list of the communities that are likely to LOSE the high unemployment geographic waiver, and those likely (but not confirmed) to keep it.
NASW-MA PACE Endorses Candidates Who Win
Congratulations to our 2017 endorsed candidates and their respective wins:

  • Jennifer Lemmerman, MSW - Melrose Alderman for Ward 2
  •  Khrystian King, MSW - Worcester City Council At-Large
  •  Dante Comparetto - Worcester School Committee
  •  Marc McGovern, MSW - Cambridge City Council
  •  Kathleen Kelly, MSW - Cambridge School Committee
  •  Barry Sanders, LICSW - Taunton City Council
  •  Jessica Finocchiaro - Methuen City Council At-Large
  •  State Senator Paul Feeney

Current Endorsements:
Valuable Member Benefit: Join the Private Practice Google Group
The Private Practice Google Group is an exclusive member benefit powered by social work colleagues from across the state. By signing up you'll receive updates from your colleagues about ethics, billing and insurance, and other critical private practice issues. You can also pose your own questions to the group to crowd source answers from colleagues.

Sign up by sending an email to with "Join Google Group" in the subject line.
Join the Social Work Therapy Referral Service Now - Only $150!
In private practice? The Social Work Therapy Referral Service (SWTRS) needs you!

Referral calls to SWTRS are continuing to rise, and we need motivated clinicians like you to join SWTRS to meet the demand. Please help spread the word to friends and colleagues. New members can join now for the half-year introductory rate of $150.

Join the Social Work Therapy Referral Service (SWTRS) to gain:

  • New Clients
  • Expanded Referral Base
  • Connections to Other Clinicians in Private Practice

For further information, or to request an application, contact Barbara Burka at or 781-721-1044 or click the "Join SWTRS" button to the left.
Social Work Assistance Network
A Resource for You!
Even social workers need help sometimes, especially during the holiday season. NASW-MA members can utilize SWAN for confidential consultation and free referrals. More information here .
Code of Ethics Training Available on-demand!
The recording of the October 25th Official National NASW Code of Ethics Revisions Training is now available for on-demand viewing. In service to the social work community, NASW is offering the recording for viewing free of charge !
For Viewing Only
If you are not interested in receiving CEUs, click on the link below. Once on the site, you will be prompted to click “here” to view the recording free of charge for no continuing education credit:
For Continuing Education Credit
If you are interested in receiving CEUs, click on the link below. To take the post-test and apply for 2 CEs, users should go to the Purchase Options prompt on the upper-right side of the screen and add “Self-Study” to the Cart. CEUs are available for $25 for NASW members and $40 for non-members . The site will direct users to make payment and take the post-test to receive continuing education credit.
Symposium 2018 Updates: Everything you Need to Know Right Here!
Save the Date: April 12-13, 2018
Faculty and Staff, Encourage Your Students to Submit Posters
Do you have a micro, mezzo, or macro project, topic, or paper you have already written? Are you working on a project or paper (practice or research) for your internship or a class? If yes, this is your opportunity to spotlight your work! Showcase your work and receive recognition at Symposium 2018 in April.
Application Deadline: February 12, 2018

BSW, MSW, and PhD students are welcome to apply!
Exhibit, Advertise, or Sponsor at the Largest Gathering of Social Workers in New England!
Symposium 2018 offers a wide range of promotional packages to accommodate all budgets and is a unique opportunity to:

  • Promote your brand to 800 practicing social workers from all over New England
  • Network with 1,000 professional attendees, vendors, sponsors, and presenters
  • Gain brand awareness with hundreds of influential community members

For more information, email Cassandra Prager, or visit:

Registration for attendees will be available in January 2018!
Social Work Voice - Launching January 2018!
Introducing Social Work Voice , formerly known as FOCUS. The Social Work Voice will continue to be the premiere monthly social work publication in Massachusetts and an exclusive NASW-MA membership benefit. We expect the new publication format and content will be more accessible to our readers and as a result a more valuable member benefit. Be on the lookout for it in January!

January's issue is all about social work and social justice in health and health care, and will include :
  • Healthcare Reform Omnibus Bill to Affect Social Workers and Clients
  • Empowering Clients through Motivational Interviewing: A Tool to Address Substance Misuse 
  • What Private Practioners Need to Know in a Changing Health Care Landscape 
  • You Don’t Need a Public Health Degree to “do” Public Health: Why Social Workers Are Primed to Address the Social Determinants 
  • Building the Dream Team: Social Workers and Community Health Workers
  • ...and more!
NASW National Conference - Save the Date: June 20-23, 2018
The 2018 NASW National Conference will be held June 20-23, 2018, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Mark your calendars now and plan to be a part of the meeting of the profession! More information will be forthcoming in the weeks and months ahead.

Submit a proposal! Deadline had been extended to 12/8. Details here.