November 2017

This November I am thankful that I get to work closely with members like you who do such important work all across the state. Whether you are helping people in need or advocating for social work, NASW-MA seeks to amplify your voice. Thank you for all you do!

Over the last several weeks, we've heard an increasing number of concerns about retroactive claim denials, especially with Beacon Health Options/ Nokomis. After I had a meeting with Beacon leadership, they offered to conduct a webinar this Friday, November 3rd, from 2-3 pm just for NASW-MA members. Details are in the private practice section below. Additionally, we hosted the MassHealth Office of Behavioral Health and Health Care for All in our office to discuss changes to MassHealth and the 1115 Waiver. We're sharing their slides with you also in the private practice section below.

Another important development this month was our participation in the collaboration with all of the schools of social work and the administration to introduce a new set of core principles in social work programs to better train social workers to prevent and treat substance misuse and combat the opioid crisis (see picture above from the event and more in the body of the newsletter below).

Lastly, (for this intro at least!) I am excited to announce that we are re-branding FOCUS - expect to see our new printed newsletter Social Work Voice in 2018. Thank you for all who offered your feedback as we have gone through the re-branding process.

There is much more information below on a variety of timely topics, which we hope you will find valuable in your practice and in your advocacy.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Rebekah Gewirtz
Executive Director
617-227-9635 x16

P.S. Check out this great shout-out to our political director, Sophie Hansen, LCSW, on Twitter from Representative Smitty Pignatelli, lead sponsor of the social work loan forgiveness bill!

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Accepting Nominations for Social Work Leadership Positions - Multiple Opportunities!
Nominate yourself or others for the following positions by 11/30/17 :

  • Board of Directors (several positions available, all three year terms)
  • Delegate Assembly (3 year term) Five delegates to be elected from Greater Boston region and one Delegate to be elected from each of the other 5 regions.
  • Chapter Committee on Nominations, Leadership, and Identification (CCNLI) (2 year term)
You must be an NASW member to be nominated. Email Adam Linn for more information. Submit nominations here .
Be a CE Reviewer and Attend NASW CE Programs for FREE!
We are seeking NASW members to be reviewers of continuing education programs for the Collaborative, which is the entity that approves CE programs here at the chapter. Volunteer reviewers receive vouchers for CE 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,
Re-energizing the LGBTQ Shared Interest Group
Caitlin LeMay is the new Chair of the recently reestablished LGBTQ Shared Interest Group at NASW-MA.

Caitlin says, "I am a proud Queer-identified social worker who has worked in trauma intervention and prevention for almost 10 years. In addition, I am so excited to chair the LGBTQ Shared Interest Group to provide support to particularly the LGBTQ+ community of social workers in addition to providing education and resources to the general community. I am honored to Chair this group and am excited to see the great work we are going to accomplish as a team!"

Want to get involved? Email Caitlin at, join the Facebook group, and/or participate in the next meeting on 11/08/17 at 6:00 pm.
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.
Fall programs happening in every corner of the state!

Please note: the November 3rd CE Program "Relationship-Based Health Care and Coaching" has been CANCELLED. Please contact Jonas Goldenberg at if you have questions.
NASW Fall Film Festival: Untouchable
3 CEs Available!
November 5, 2017

NASW Fall Film Festival: Untouchable
The Studio Cinema
Belmont, MA
2:00 - 5:30 pm

Discussants: Raymond Knight, PhD, Ros Winsor, LICSW, and Bill Canavan
Enhancing the Social Work Profession in the Berkshires
1.5 CEs Available!
November 15, 2017

Enhancing the Social Work Profession in the Berkshires
MA Dept. of Mental Health
333 East St., 4th floor
Pittsfield, MA
12 - 1:30 pm

With: Thomas Verdi, LICSW
Advance registration is not necessary. Free for NASW members, $10 for non-members.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Addictions
1.5 CEs Available!
November 16, 2017

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Addictions
Franklin Medical Center (Conf. Room A)
Greenfield, MA
7:30 - 9:00 pm

With: Levin Schwartz, LICSW
Advance registration is not necessary. Free for NASW members, $10 for non-members.
Integrating Sensorimotor Techniques in Trauma Treatment
3 CEs Available!
November 17, 2017

Integrating Sensorimotor Techniques in Trauma Treatment
 The Walker Center
Newton, MA
9:00 am - 12:15 pm

With: Jayme Shorin, LICSW
Formerly titled: Integrating Sensory Motor Techniques in Group (& Individual) Treatment with Trauma Survivors
* NEW! *
Creative Ways of Building Resiliency in Traumatized Youth
3 CEs Available
November 30, 2017

Creative Ways of Building Resiliency in Traumatized Youth
Stoughton Youth Commission
Stoughton, MA
11:30 am - 3:00 pm

With: Dr. Anthony C. Hill, Ed.D, MSW
Privilege, Oppression, and Culture: A Psychodynamic Approach 
3 CEs Available!
December 4, 2017

Privilege, Oppression, and Culture: A Psychodynamic Approach 
Grand View Farm
Burlington, MA
9:30 am - 12:45 pm

With: Usha Tummala-Narra, PhD
Formerly titled: Culturally Informed Psychodynamic Psychotherapy | Originally scheduled for 10/23/17
We've Updated our Legislative Agenda!
We've updated our 2017-18 legislative agenda to better reflect the mission and priorities of NASW-MA.

View the 2017-18 Legislative Agenda here

Stay up-to-date with what’s happening on Beacon Hill by subscribing to legislative e-alerts! From urgent action items to important news, stay in the loop to stand with us for social justice and the profession. Email Sophie Hansen to get added to the list.
Canvass for Transgender Rights - Boston & Worcester!
Two Canvassing Dates! Join us Saturday, November 11th in Boston or Sunday, November 12th in Worcester to canvass for transgender rights.

In 2016 the MA Legislature passed the public accommodations bill to include protections for transgender and non-binary individuals. We are canvassing to spread the word about transgender rights and why these protections are so important. Help us educate others in Massachusetts about these issues.

Date & Location Details:
  • 11/11/17 - 10 am - 3 pm, Freedom for All, 89 Cambridge St, Charlestown, MA 02129
  • 11/12/17 - 10 am - 3 pm, Worcester, MA (exact location TBD)

Co-Sponsored by Freedom Massachusetts Education Fund and NASW-MA's LGBTQ Shared Interest Group. 

Please RSVP:  

For more information, contact:
Sophie Hansen, NASW-MA Political Director:
Help us Fight for Livable Wages and Paid Leave - We Only Have Until November 14th to Collect 500 More Signatures!
Collect signatures with NASW-MA and Raise Up Massachusetts on Election Day (November 7th!). This is a perfect day to collect signatures in your neighborhood from civically engaged folks.

NASW-MA is a member of the Raise Up Massachusetts coalition, which is working to ensure everyone in our state can earn a living wage so they can make ends meet, feed their families, and be healthy. We're also working to secure paid family and medical leave for all Massachusetts workers because no one should have to choose between caring for a loved one and keeping their job.

Email Sophie Hansen to help us collect signatures for Paid Family and Medical Leave and a $15 Minimum Wage! We have a goal of collecting 1,500 signatures between September and November, and we are almost there. Your help will make a big difference!
Lift the Cap on Kids - Contact Your Representative
Parents, legislators, and advocates joined us in the State House on October 26th for our Caps and Mittens event with the Campaign to Lift the Cap on Kids MA.

Next step: Call/email your Representative and ask them to help advance this bill. Use this fact sheet for more information. Make your calls by 11/9 and report them here . Want to see if your Rep. already supports Lifting the Cap? Check here .

Watch Rebekah on NECN's The Take with Sue O'Connell discussing the Cap on Kids by clicking the image above. Read the Lift the Cap press release here.
Criminal Justice Reform Wins in the Senate.. Now on to the House!
Last week the State Senate convened and passed a sweeping criminal justice reform bill. NASW has been heavily involved with several of the bill's amendments. The following are highlights of wins relevant to social workers:

  • Amendments #1 & 57 - accepted to guarantee equal protection for incarcerated LGBTQ population (including use of proper pronouns) passes, including collection of data based on their experience. (Thanks to NASW members calling!)
  • Amendment #10 - passed clinical standards for mental health treatment in prison.
  • Amendment #14 - prevents counsel fees for people deemed indigent.
  • Amendment #17 - ensures families of murder victims are not denied financial assistance for their funeral.
  • Amendment #136 - examine current solitary confinement operations such as security while implementing new protocols (i.e. mental health screenings for prisoners).
  • Amendment #141 - will study the increasing rate of prisoner suicides and methods of prevention.
  • Amendment #152 - Justice Reinvestment passes.
  • Police training for de-escalation and awareness of unconscious bias passed with bipartisan support.

The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. Please take a moment to thank your senator for passage of this bill. For the list of those who voted in support click here . Soon we'll be asking you to contact your representative to advocate for amendments you want to see included in their version.
Funding Cuts for Affordable Care Act (ACA)/Obamacare Open Enrollment Activities
The Trump administration has enacted severe cuts to funding for enrollment activities that have been important to informing Americans about insurance options available to them. The budget for marketing efforts for the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period has been cut by 90% and the 2018 enrollment window has been made shorter: it is now available from November 1 st through December 15 th 2017. We are extremely frustrated by this administration's continued assault on the ACA and stand ready to continue to act to fight back and ensure coverage and access for every American.

We encourage social workers to share enrollment information with clients and communities you serve to bring awareness to the narrow window for health insurance enrollment this year.

Check out the " Sabotage Watch " from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
November 7th is Election Day! NASW-MA PACE Endorses Candidates
The Following PACE-endorsed Candidates are Running for Election on November 7th (and are all social workers!):

  • Jennifer Lemmerman, MSW | Ward 2 Melrose Alderman 
  • Marc McGovern, MSW | Cambridge City Council 
  • Kathleen Kelly, MSW | Cambridge School Committee
  • Khrystian King, MSW | Worcester City Council At-Large
  • Barry Sanders, LICSW | Taunton City Council 

Don't Know Where Your Polling Place is? Visit:

On October 17th, Paul Feeney , a PACE-endorsed candidate for State Senate was elected to serve the Bristol & Norfolk district in the MA Legislature.
Share Your Contraception Concerns with the ACLU
As you may already know, the Trump administration recently released rules that authorize schools and employers to entirely opt out of providing contraception coverage to their employees and students based on the employer's religious beliefs. Unlike the previously offered accommodation, if a school or non-profit or business invokes this new exemption, their insurance will not cover contraception at all. The rule applies broadly to a wide range of employers, including high schools, universities, hospitals, charities and other non-profits.

We are concerned about women who could lose their contraception coverage based on this rule, and the ACLU is interested in speaking with students or employees who are afraid that they may lose their contraception coverage because their school or employer will choose this exemption.

If you would like to speak with the ACLU about this and share your concerns of story, please feel free to contact Jessie Rossman at 617 482 3170 ex 337 or email her at .
Federal SNAP Policy to Further Limit Benefits - What You Can Do
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. 

For some basic information on the 3-month time limit for childless adults currently, click here . NASW-MA will share more updated information in December about how to help individuals who may lose their SNAP in 2018. We will also be sharing future advocacy opportunities to fight for SNAP access at both the state and federal level. Stay tuned.
Attend a Hearing or State House Event
11/01/17 - Rally for Criminal Justice Reform , State House, 11:00 am.

11/14/17 - Right to Health MA Lobby Day: Lobby Day for Single-Payer, State House, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. More details here. NASW-MA is a co-sponsor of this event and we will be there in force! We hope you'll join us.
Have You Been Impacted by the Beacon Health Options and Nokomis Audit? Exclusive NASW-MA Member Webinar Opportunity!
NASW is keenly aware that members are dealing with retroactive claim denials because of Beacon's current audit with those in private practice. In response, Beacon is offering a free webinar for NASW members to better understand this process. There will be time for questions and to raise additional concerns at the end of the webinar. In addition to the webinar, we will be working with other advocacy organizations to hold Beacon accountable and to urge them to freeze the audit. We have also alerted MassHealth to this problem and will pursue other avenues of accountability.

A Webinar in Response to the Beacon Health Options and Nokomis Audit

Friday, November 3, 2017
2:00 - 3:00 pm

To participate via computer:
  1. At 2:00 pm on November 3rd, visit this webpage
  2. Find the "Payment Integrity Overview" meeting and Click "join"
  3. Enter password: November

For your reference: the webinar is being conducted through  WebEx . The meeting number is 313 491 154.

To join by phone:
  1. Call 1-877-668-4493 (toll free number)
  2. Enter Access Code: 313 491 154
MassHealth and 1115 Waiver Update
Last week, NASW-MA hosted Health Care for All and the MassHealth Office of Behavioral Health to explain changes coming to MassHealth, especially with the new emphasis on ACOs - and specifically what that means for clinicians. Expect more information about this in the January Social Work Voice (formerly FOCUS). You can access the extremely informative slides from the meeting here:
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.
Service Exclusively for Private Practitioners - Fall Special!
Don't miss your chance to save big on referrals! They practically pay for themselves.

Now through November 2018,
New SWTRS members get 25% off the 2017-18 fee

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

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

"Your referrals to me have been perfect. I value the high level of respect and thoughtfulness you communicated to clients and therapists. I would refer a friend to SWTRS in a second." - Patricia Marquis,  LICSW

Our call volume is higher than ever before!
Social Work Schools Announce Core Principles to Address Opioid Epidemic, First-in-the-Nation Collaboration
In an announcement on October 10, 2017, NASW-MA, nine schools of social work (Boston University, Boston College, Bridgewater State University, Salem State University, Simmons College, Smith College, Westfield State, and Wheelock College), the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (Secretary Marylou Sudders), the Department of Public Health (Commissioner Monica Bharel and Allison Bauer), and the Department of Mental Health (Commissioner Joan Mikula) unveiled a first-in-the-nation collaboration to better prepare social work students in the Commonwealth to prevent and treat substance misuse. As front line leaders in the face of the opioid epidemic, this social work collaboration has national significance.

In a meeting with Governor Baker, the working group presented the “ Social Work Education Core Principles for the Prevention and Management of Substance Misuse ,” a set of recommendations to establish cross-institutional core principles that will provide the state’s 4,300 social work students with the knowledge and skills necessary to combat the state’s opioid epidemic and other substance use disorders. 

Prepare 101: Integrating Social Needs Strategy Into Patient Care
Prepare 101:
Integrating Social Needs Strategy Into Patient Care
November 2, 2017
1:00 - 2:00 pm 

Interested in implementing a social needs strategy at your health care organization, but don’t know where to begin? Join Health Leads’ experts in examining the six key drivers of a successful social needs strategy. Case studies of high performing clinical models are featured in this free one-hour webinar. Register here .
Racial Equity in School Health: A Groundwater Approach
Racial Equity in School Health: A Groundwater Approach
November 7, 2017
Sturbridge, MA

This is a multi-disciplinary workshop. School districts are encouraged to send school health teams (i.e., nurses, social workers, counselors, athletic trainers, psychologists) to this program.

The workshop will be offered by the Racial Equity Institute (REI) out of Greensboro, NC, in collaboration with the School Health Institute for Education and Leadership Development (SHIELD) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health School Health Services.

The goal of this workshop is to establish a foundational understanding of how race-based structural inequities impact school health access and outcomes. This foundation will provide school nurses and others with a basic understanding of how racism is structural in nature and what that means for their work, their schools, and the communities they serve.

Member Opportunity: Free Video Series - Road Map to Be Safely Embodied
In partnership with Deidre Fay, LICSW, NASW-MA is offering a video training series and online course "Becoming Safely Embodied Skills."

Have you realized there are simple, foundational skills to help you organize your disorganized body, mind, and heart? Develop a Roadmap to safely heal your trauma and attachment wounds.

Having a safe roadmap can:
  • Create support for those many hours a day when you struggle by yourself
  • Give you a step-by-step path to quiet your mind, ease your body, and allow your heart to open
  • Realize ways to come out of isolation and interact with others without overwhelming you
Code of Ethics Revised, Now Available for Purchase
On Friday, August 4, 2017, the Delegate Assembly of NASW approved the most substantive revision to the NASW Code of Ethics since 1996. After careful and charged deliberation, the Delegate Assembly voted to accept proposed revisions to the Code that focused largely on the use of technology and the implications for ethical practice.

The new version of the NASW Code of Ethics comes into effect January 1, 2018.

Symposium 2018 Updates: Everything you Need to Know Right Here!
Save the Date: April 12-13, 2018
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 member

For more information, email Cassandra Prager, or visit:

Registration for attendees will be available in January!
Thinking about taking the licensing exam?
11/04/17 - Western New England University, Springfield. Register here.

New course dates coming soon!

The one-day, live program focuses on test-taking strategies, and comprehensive reviews of social work theory and practice, and includes:
  • An overview of MA licensure regulations and of the examination process.
  • A review of examination content areas: Theories of Human Development; Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning; Direct and Indirect Practice, Psychotherapy, and Clinical Practice; Professional Values and Ethics; Diversity and Social/Economic Justice; Social Work Administration, Management, and Supervision; Policy; Program Evaluation and Research.
  • Effective test-taking skills.
  • Materials that include a review book with practice questions specifically designed to prepare individuals to pass ASWB Social Work Licensing Examinations.
Social Work Licensing Exam Study Resource
Updated to represent new DSM-5 Questions, this 50 Sample Questions and Answers is the perfect study guide. Use it before and after the  Licensing Test Prep Course . This resource is for Masters Level Exams only.
Social Work Voice - Coming in 2018
Introducing Social Work Voice , formerly known as FOCUS. The Social Work Voice will continue to be the premiere monthly social work publication in MA and an exclusive NASW-MA membership benefit. We expect the new publication will be more accessible to our readers and as a result a more valuable member benefit. Be on the lookout in January!

January's issue is all about social work in health and health care, and will include articles about:
  • MassHealth and New ACO Model
  • Healthcare Cost Trends impacting social work
  • Continuity of Care
  • Public Accommodations Bill and social work advocacy for justice
  • ACA/Obamacare Open Enrollment Changes
  • Hospital Community Benefits and social workers practicing upstream
  • ...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.
Seeking Expert Panelists on Issues Related to Parental Abduction
Coverage in the media (print, broadcast and social media) and widespread use of AMBER Alerts have increased public awareness of parental abduction over the years. From a policy perspective, there have been a number of policies implemented to address parental kidnapping on state, national and international levels, including but not limited to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. NASW is seeking Members who are experts to help update NASW’s current policy statement in this area of practice. If you are interested please email your resume and bio to by November 3 rd