April 2019
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Message from
Chapter President


There is a beloved saying, that we should give people their flowers while they are here. Well, I have four beautiful bouquets to give in recognition of outstanding service and leadership, to make LEAD 2019, an overwhelming success. 

I don't think most of us realize the sacrifices of time involved in preparation, bill analysis, on the ground advocacy, and event management it takes to craft and deliver consistent messages to the Florida Legislature about our priorities. 

The first bouquet goes to our Chapter Office that includes, Jim Akin, Christine Call, Jean Krier, Mike Cusick, and Erin Cusick.

The second bouquet goes to Dawn Brown, NASW-FL Legislative Chair, and members of the Legislative Committee.

The third bouquet goes to Seth Berkowitz, NASW-FL  LEAD Committee Chair, and members of the LEAD Committee.

The fourth bouquet goes to the Deans, Directors, and faculty at all of the Colleges and Universities that coordinate student LEAD efforts and make participation in LEAD, a priority.

I encourage you to continue advocacy efforts as the Legislative session continues. We must remain vigilant and dedicated to our legislative agenda.

Now, we need each of you to register for the Annual Conference and share the conference information with individuals and agencies in your network. 

With gratitude,

Carol Edwards, LCSW
NASW-FL Board President
Student Representatives Column


I hope students and faculty are finishing the semester strong! 

It was great to witness another successful LEAD in Tallahassee. While LEAD is over, there are always opportunities to advocate and meet with legislators about social work issues. I encourage you all to take the time to know who your representatives are and where they stand on issues relevant to our profession. 

Congratulations to those of us who are weeks away from graduation, the finish line is near! 

The leadership team is still working on some amazing projects, including the Student Summit as part of the NASW Florida Annual Conference June 13-15 in Orlando. I am so excited for this project and hope that many of you will join us at the summit on June 15. 

Last, I wanted to wish all of you who have chosen to run for an open board position good luck!


LEAD Bill Update

Rules of the Game
Each bill (proposed Florida law) is introduced and is typically assigned to at least three committees in both the House and the Senate. It must be reported favorably in each of these committees to make its way to the floor for final debate and vote. Both the House and Senate must agree on the language used in the bill. Each bill must be read three times on the floor before a vote can take place. After a bill passes on the floor it goes to the desk of the Governor. The Governor then has the ability to veto the bill or to sign it into law.

Moving / Positive Impact from LEAD Initiative
These are the NASW-FL LEAD bills that are most likely to become law this year. Much of this legislation has been moved forward by the strong voice and hard work of social workers and social work students in the state and by your advocacy efforts via LEAD and at home. We were 900 social workers strong this year! That presence makes an impression on our legislators, and it helps effect change. Because of you:
HB 365/ SB 1222 Services for Veterans and Their Families
These bills have been reported favorably in all three house committees and two of the senate committees, they are moving quickly through the process and are likely to pass.
HB 6051 Mandatory Direct File &
HB 575 Direct Filing of an Information
These bills have moved through all their house committees, and one of three senate committees favorably. They are likely to make it to the floor for a final vote. Direct Filing of an Information has been replaced with a committee substitute requiring even more protection for juveniles - notably a requirement that children are entitled to a due process hearing before being filed as an adult. The amendments further restrict the circumstances under which a child must be direct filed as an adult (children charged with conspiracy to commit a crime may not be included in the direct file). The new language also stipulates that children will not be housed in an adult-only facility until their trial is over, and sets guidelines for evaluation of the child (including consideration of past trauma and its impact on the child's actions). All positive additions! Go LEAD warriors!
HB 563/ SB 990 Unemployment Compensation
These bills have moved through all three House committees and two of the three Senate committees. They have passed in unanimously favorable votes, and are very likely to make the vote on the floor. This legislation would keep certain victims of domestic violence from being disqualified from benefits for voluntarily leaving work because of domestic violence. It also protects the companies who employ those victims.
HB 7089/ SPB 7086 Voting Rights Restoration
These bills are very likely to pass. NASW- FL strongly opposed this legislation during LEAD, as they place restrictions on the voting rights restoration initiative that passed into law after the people of Florida voted it into the constitution during the 2018 midterm elections. The advocacy of NASW- FL members and participants of LEAD have helped to soften the original bill. Through our advocacy and lobbying efforts, we have contributed to the improvements of the most recent amendments filed in the House and Senate. These amendments narrow the definition of "murder" from the broader language that was included in the original bill. Through your efforts, a greater number of reformed felons in the State of Florida will be able to vote.
HB 168/SB 170/ HB 527 Federal Immigration Enforcement
This legislation would prohibit "sanctuary practices" of cities in Florida. These bills have not moved in the Senate and have only been through one committee in the House, making it very unlikely that they will make it to the floor, or pass into law. This is a huge win for our LEAD advocates. NASW- FL strongly opposed these bills and has worked hard to make sure that they did not move forward. This is an excellent example of the Social Work voice in action.
Not Moving
This happens every session. Sometimes despite our best efforts, some of our priority bills fail to move forward. This can be because they do not fall under the majority leader's priorities, because the Chairs of house and senate committees prioritized other issues, or because other more public topics like school safety and voter rights restoration took precedence. Public policy is full of surprise endings, but with a little over three weeks left in the 2019 legislative session, bills that have not moved at all are unlikely to make their way into Florida law.
These are great topics to bring up when you meet with your Senator or Representative after the Legislative Session ends and they are back in their district offices.
HB 991/ SB 1090 Keep our Graduates Working Act
The "Keep our Graduates Working Act" is particularly important to NASW- FL members as it would allow people who default on their student loans to keep their license - allowing them to continue to work. These bills have only been through one committee in the House, and have not been taken up in a Senate committee at all. They are unlikely to make it to the floor this session.
HB 587/ SB 290 Medicaid School-Based Services
As of April 2, this bill had passed through two of the three house committees required to get a final vote on the floor. It is still currently in the House Health & Human Services Committee, but its senate companion has not been heard in any of its three committees, meaning the bills are unlikely to move forward to a floor vote.
Requiring Further Steps from LEAD & NASW-FL Participants
HB 7093/ SB 7030 School Safety
NASW-FL stands in firm opposition to many parts of these bills including the provision for arming classroom teachers. These bills have passed through both House and Senate committees and will next be read and debated on the floor. As a priority of Senate leaders as well as many members of the House, these bills are almost certain to pass into law. Fortunately, we still have time to TAKE ACTION. Amendments were recently filed and subsequently withdrawn that would remove the arming of classroom teachers from the bill. This subject has been heavily debated and there is still time to make a difference in the outcome. Legislators pay attention to your presence in the capitol, your calls and emails, and to what you have to say on social media. We urge you to call or email your Senator and Representative and ask them to vote NO on these bills or to remove the bill's provision for classroom teachers to participate in the school guardian program.
Now What for School Safety?
If / when this bill does pass into law there are still several things we can do to soften the blow and protect Florida's children.


If / when this becomes law the gauntlet of responsibility will then pass to your local Superintendent of Schools and School Board. They decide whether to hire school guardians (aka teachers etc. who are permitted to conceal carry in the classroom and throughout campus). Find out who your local school board members are and write to them. Attend school board meetings. Make your voice heard locally and spread the word that this battle for school safety does not end at the capitol.


Stay Informed
  • Stay up-to-date on these and future bills by joining LEAD and add strength to the collective voice of Florida Social Workers and Social Work Students by joining NASW. A portion of every membership fee goes to NASW-PACE (NASW's political action group) that supports public policy, and candidates who share the values of social work.
Annual Conference Registration Open!

2019 Annual Conference Registration Open and Brochure Available
2019 Annual Conference Sponsor / Exhibitor / Advertiser Prospectus

NASW-FL Sponsor_ Exhibitor and Advertiser Prospectus
In June 2019, NASW-FL  will bring  together more than 600  social workers and  related professionals from  around the state. 

The Conference offers an  unparalleled opportunity to network with colleagues, meet with our expert presenters, and gain new knowledge and skills.  

As an exhibitor or sponsor, you will have the chance to make connections with attendees who are seeking information about products and services that can help them do their jobs more efficiently. 

Your opportunities await!

Thank You to our Platinum SponsorEvery Story Matters

Thank You to our Gold Sponsor: NASW Assurance Services

Thank You to our Silver Sponsor: Rogers Behavioral Health

Thank You to our Bronze Sponsors

Practice Alert
Completing Boxes 14 & 15 
on the CMS-1500 Form

Susan Ross
February 2019

An increasing number of clinical social workers have reported to NASW that paper claims submitted on  the CMS-1500 form are being denied because boxes 14 and 15 were not completed. The CMS-1500 is a 
universal form used by health care providers to submit claims for reimbursement. 

The box labeled 14 is marked "Date of Current Illness, Injury or Pregnancy." This would apply to clinical social workers who
are treating a patient who reports that he or she started having a mental health issue on a particular day, month, and year, and have continued to suffer from those symptoms (for example, anxiety,
flashbacks, panic attacks, depression, and so on). In addition to the date, there is also a space for a qualifier, which should be filled out. The qualifier that is appropriate for clinical social workers to use in
box 14 is 431, which represents the "Onset of Current Symptoms or Illness." That number should be placed in the box next to the date.

Box 15 is for "Other Date," which is related to the patient's condition or treatment on the date of the appointment. Enter one of the following qualifiers to the left side of the vertical dotted lines:

* 454 Initial Treatment 
* 304 Latest Visit or Consultation 
* 444 First Visit or Consultation 
* 090 Report Start (Assumed Care Date)
* 091 Report End (Relinquished Care Date) 

Being thorough in completing the CMS-1500 form is important for billing purposes, but so is knowing when a patient started experiencing symptoms, as opposed to when he or she actually started treatment, and this will further assist clinical social workers in creating effective treatment plans and understanding a patient's strengths and obstacles.

The CMS-1500 form is developed and maintained by the National Uniform Claim Committee (NUCC), which meets regularly to review the form. Additional information on how to complete boxes 14 and 15  is found at

50,000 and Counting: 
Justice on Aging Sues Florida for Stranding The Aged and People with Disabilities on the Long Term Care Waitlist

By Jason Bloome

In December 2018 Justice on Aging (JOA) filed a class action lawsuit against Florida's Agency of Health Care Administration (AHCA) asserting that the state's management of the long term care (LTC) waiver is in violation of Title 22 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Florida's LTC program, called the Statewide Medicaid Managed Long Term Care Program (SMMC), pays for long term support and services (LTSS) at home and community-based care settings (HCBS) which includes assisted living facilities (ALFs). The lawsuit claims Florida's LTC funding priority is for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and SNF entry and that the SMMC LTC waitlist for HCBS is one of the longest in the nation. In 2017, the state was ranked 46 out of 50 by the AARP/SCAN LTSS Report Card for HCBS vs. SNF spending with only 22.5% of LTSS expenditures spent for HCBS vs. the nationwide average of 45.2%.
According to Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration, as of November 2018 there were 110,000 SMMC LTC participants. Of these, 88% (96,435) were 60 or younger and 12% (12,690) were older than 60. Forty-two percent of SMMC LTC participants resided in SNFs, 42% resided at home and 16% resided in ALFs.
As of August 2018, there were more than 53,000 people on the SMMC LTC waitlist. Most individuals on the waitlist are people who are older (60+ years old): with more than half 74+ and a quarter of them older than 85. The JOA lawsuit includes plaintiffs on the SMMC LTC waitlist for more than four years.

"An Hour With Private
Practice" Schedule

An Hour With Private Practice (HOPP) is a free, question and answer call-in session to NASW members who may have specific questions or concerns about an issue in private practice and is available at: .   

No pre-registration is required and members can join in the discussion, ask questions, and make comments. These sessions provide members with important clinical social work updates impacting the delivery of mental health services in a private solo or group practice.

HOPP is held every third Wednesday of the month from noon to 1:00 pm ET.

April 17, 2019: Top 4 Most Overlooked Facts About Professional Liability Insurance - Presenter: Lonnie Ropp, ASI Director of Product Management & Underwriting 
May 15, 2019: Tips for Documentation and Coding of Services 

June 19, 2019: Making Sense of the CMS-1500 Claim Form

April 2019

I'm not Perfect, Just Insured 

Discussions with our insurance policyholders frequently involve some of the same issues that are top of mind. As your insurance carrier, we go where you go so your future is protected. So let's take a look with a brief review of two important topics.

Click here to download the PDF copy.

For more information on the only NASW-Endorsed Professional Liability insurance as well as other information designed for social workers, visit
University Updates
From Around the State

Social work education is an important part of NASW, and maintaining relationships with students and their universities is even more important. Check out our latest University News and Updates on our website.
Local Unit News & Events
What's Going on Near You!

NASW Florida is broken up into   18 volunteer-led units that hold meetings, continuing education events, community projects, and social events for its members. This local network is one of our greatest membership benefits! Use the links below to find out what's going on in your local area.

Ecambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton 
Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla
Gainesville Unit 
Alachua, Bradford, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Putnam, Suwannee, Union
Baker, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Hamilton, Nassau, St. Johns
Central Unit
Orange, Osceola, Seminole
Emerald Coast Unit
Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Washington
Tampa Bay Unit
Hillsborough, Pinellas
Space Coast Unit
Palm Beach Unit
Palm Beach, Glades
Broward Unit
Miami-Dade Unit
Dade, Monroe
Southwest Unit
Charlotte, Collier, De Soto, Hendry, Lee
Heartland Unit
Hardee, Highlands, Polk
Sarasota/Manatee Unit
Manatee, Sarasota
Treasure Coast Unit
Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie, Okeechobee
Nature Coast Unit
Citrus, Hernando, Pasco
Lake/Sumter Unit
Lake, Sumter
Volusia/Flagler Unit
Flagler, Volusia

Here's a listing of events for the coming month. Additional details are available on our Calendar of Events or, if a unit event, on the local unit's page.


April 18, 2019 * The Villages, FL
*NASW-FL Lake/Sumter Unit presents "What Every Social Worker Should Know about Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts, Health Care Documents and Power of Attorneys" with Mary F. Trotter, Esq., Florida Bar Certified in Elder Law and Edward W. Soulsby, Esq., Florida Bar Board Certified in Elder Law, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Sea Breeze Regional Recreation Center, The Villages. Registration is free to NASW and TLC Members. All others must pay $15.00 by check made payable to "NASW" at door.

April 20, 2019 * Miami,FL
*NASW-FL Miami-Dade Unit presents "Social Workers' Peer Support Group & Yoga Class" with Edith Caballero, LCSW, RYT-200 and Martha Vallejo, LCSW, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Keiser University. Please join us for the Social Workers' Peer Support Group beginning at 10 a.m. followed by a Yoga class at 11 a.m., followed by  Please bring comfortable clothes for yoga practice. You can bring your own mat if you prefer; however, mats will be available for use. No experience necessary. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided. Registration is free.

April 20, 2019 * Miami,FL
*NASW-FL Miami-Dade Unit presents "The Opioid Epidemic in Miami-Dade County: Impact. Treatment. Policy.", from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at South Miami Library. This event is a partnership with the Office of Congresswoman Donna Shalala. The purpose of this event is to inform our community of the steps stakeholders are taking in addressing the crisis. Health care/mental health professionals, law enforcement, advocates and legislators will be leading the discussion in a round table format. All community members are invited to attend!

April 22, 2019 * Leesburg, Florida
*NASW-FL Lake/Sumter Unit  presents "Keeping Families Together: Integration of Child Welfare & Behavioral Health" with Kristen Hopper, LCSW, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Leesburg Library. Registration is free for NASW Members and $15 for non-members requesting continuing education credits.

April 24, 2019 * Fort Lauderdale, FL
*NASW-FL Broward Unit presents "Hey America..Working to Foster Resilience..or does Social Work Fit in this Political Environment" with Paul Jaquith, LCSW,from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at Holy Cross Hospital. Registration is FREE for NASW Members and $10 for non-members. Light refreshments will be served.


May 11 - May 18, 2019 * Lisbon, Portugal
*Florida State University College of Social Work and NASW-FL presents Clinical Practice International: Lisbon, Portugal. In 2019, this popular professional development course is being offered in the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal. The course gives participants the exciting opportunity to see clinical social work-its theory, practice, and diversity-in a larger international arena, a vantage point that has become increasingly more important in our current global society. A large focus of the program will be on current social social issues in Portugal and how these are being addressed by the professional social work community. Waiting List has been started.

May 13, 2019 * Palm Beach Gardens, FL
*NASW-FL Palm Beach Unit - North presents "Maternal Voices: How to Engage Women with Substance Use Disorder to Healing and Recovery" with Heather Howard, MSW, LCSW, PhD, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Barry University. Registration is FREE for NASW Members and $10 for Non-members. RSVP is requested but not required.

May 20, 2019 * Boca Raton,FL
*NASW-FL  Palm Beach Unit  - South presents "Mix, Match and Blend:  Counseling with Interfaith and Multicultural Couples and Families" with Rorri Geller-Mohamed, LCSW,from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Registration is FREE for NASW members and $10 for non-members.


June 13-15, 2019, NASW-FL Annual Social Work Conference. Pre-Conference Intensives will be June 10-12, 2019.  The Conference will be held at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando. There are more than 90 workshops and expanded networking opportunities.

Pre-Conference Intensives are June 10 - 12, 2019.

Regular Conference is June 13 - 15, 2019.


October 14, 2019 * Palm Beach Gardens, FL - New Date!
*NASW-FL Palm Beach Unit -North presents "Maternal Voices: How to Engage Women with Substance Use Disorder to Healing and Recovery" with Heather Howard, MSW, LCSW, PhD, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Barry University. Registration is FREE for NASW Members and $10 for Non-members. RSVP is requested but not required. This workshop is sponsored by Brightstar Care.