May 2020
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Message from Chapter President 

The NASW 2020 Conference will be virtual from June 18 - 24. We will offer over 50 workshops allowing you to earn up to 36 credits, including all required courses. As always, the workshop will be cutting edge, invocative and enjoyable; taught by experienced and knowledgeable practitioners. Registration and Conference program will be available shortly.
I understand that some of you may be hesitant to invest in attending a remote conference; however, I assure you that we are doing our best to create something special that you do not want to miss. This spring, students showed us the power of remote education and professional development.
The student series sponsored by NASW-FL offered 25 sessions during 30 days. We had participation from 451 students from around the country and even a couple international students. We averaged over 100 students every session. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, in fact, because they view the support, connections, and educational experience as essential to their overall success in the current remote environment, we will be offering a summer series as well.
One student's closing comment to us was: If you build it we will come. I hope the same holds true for my professional colleagues.
We are building an innovative, remote experience, that features high-quality workshops, engaging conversations, and opportunities to make connections.
Will you come?
Carol Campbell Edwards, LCSW
NASW-FL, President

NASW-FL 2020 Virtual Conference
Save The Dates June 18 - 24 for the NASW-FL Virtual Conference
NASW Webinar on Nursing 
Homes & COVID-19

Registration is open for NASW Webinar, offered in collaboration with the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care:
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 | 2:00-3:15 p.m. EDT
Social work continuing education: 1 Aging & Long-Term Care Credit Hour, approved by NASW
FREE for NASW members; $20 for nonmembers. Register now.
COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges faced by nursing home residents, social work staff, and family caregivers. Learn about those challenges and discover strategies and resources to enhance resilience, as well as information about national-level advocacy to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on nursing home residents, social work staff, and family caregivers.
Robyn Grant, MSW, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, The Consumer Voice  Paige Hector, LMSW, NASW Arizona Chapter member; Clinical Educator and Public Speaker, Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Facilities, Paige Ahead Healthcare Education & Consulting, LLC,  Chris Herman, MSW, LICSW, Senior Practice Associate-Aging, NASW national office
For assistance with registration, please use the "Contact Us" chat button on the right side of any page of the Social Work Online CE Institute Web site; submit a detailed support request; or call NASW Member Services.

Call to End Family Separation 
of Migrants and Forced 
Adoption of Migrant Children 

NASW-FL Immigration Justice Task Force 

In the April E-Newsletter we published an article from the Immigration Justice Task Force: "Call to End Family Separation of Migrants and Forced Adoption of Migrant Children."

We wanted to acknowledge the authors and contributors:
Shimon Cohen, MSW, LCSW
Vicki Rosenthal, MSW
Martha Vallejo, MSW, LCSW

Alexis Davis, MSSA
Robbie Singh, MSW student
Martha Vallejo, MSW, LCSW
Claudia Ramirez, MSW student
Dawn Brown, MSW
Carol Edwards, MSW, LCSW
Susan Mankita, MSW, LCSW

Click here to read the Proclamation.

COVID-19: Practice Guidelines for Reopening Social Work Practices

May 2020

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the federal government, states, and localities issued emergency orders requiring the temporary closure of nonessential businesses, including clinical social work practices. As a result, many clinical social work private practices have been closed or have shifted to virtual, versus in-person, service provision.

As governments begin to lift these orders and permit the reopening of nonessential businesses, the National Association of Social Work (NASW) offers this guidance on resuming the provision of in-person services. It is intended for solo practitioners as well as those in group practices. 

Click here to read the full guidelines.

Telehealth Update


Since early March 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued guidance expanding the use of telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency.Under the guidance provided to date, licensed clinical social workers who are enrolled in Medicare can be reimbursed for telehealth services provided:
  • To new or established Medicare beneficiary clients
  • To clients whether the client is in their own home or in any healthcare setting
  • From their own home (in addition to their office or another location)
  • Using communication technology allowing real-time, two-way interactive communication, beyond those allowed pre-COVID. This includes smartphones with video chat technologies such as Apple FaceTime and Skype, as well as video conferencing that was permissible pre-COVID.
  • Using audio-only devices (e.g. landlines) for certain services (including psychotherapy, opioid treatment and certain Telephone Evaluation and Management Services).
Note that Internet-facing smartphone apps such as TikTok or Facebook Live, or chat rooms such as Slack, are still prohibited because they allow wide public access to the communication.

Click here to read the full update.

Preliminary Thoughts on a Social Worker's  Disclosure Responsibilities During the Pandemic

NASW Office of General Counsel
March 18, 2020

Cases have recently arisen where clinical social workers have been asked to disclose the names of their clients to public health officials, to assist in tracing exposure to the novel coronavirus.

The social worker's responsibility in this instance includes aspects of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, NASW's Code of Ethics, and local laws including licensure rules, health care confidentiality, and public health regulations. We will outline here how these national rules are likely to apply.

The Short Answer

As a general rule, HIPAA prohibits disclosure of protected health information without the prior consent of the client. The HIPAA Privacy Rule identifies a number of situations where this prohibition does not apply. However, if the state's privacy law is more protective than HIPAA, the state's restrictions on disclosure of protected health information will continue to apply.

HIPAA permits disclosures:
  • When required by law (e.g., by public health law), to an authorized public health authority;
  • For the control of disease, even if not legally required, the minimum necessary information may be disclosed to an authorized public health authority;
  • In either case, the social worker must verify the identity of the official, as described below.
Ethical Considerations
The Code of Ethics strictly protects client confidentiality. While several provisions of the Code arguably permit the public health disclosures described above, disclosure even of a client's name might be viewed as a breach of confidentiality. If disclosure is necessary:
  • Notify the client regarding exactly what information will be shared and why;
  • If possible, notify the client in advance and obtain their signed consent before the disclosure;
  • Only the minimum necessary information should be disclosed. For example, their name and the date and type of contact may be required, but not the professional relationship with the social worker.
Click here to read the full document.

Perspectives from the Field:
Social Workers Speak on COVID-19 

Starting Where the Client Is - Balancing Work, Family and Home:  Words of "Advice" from a Social Work Researcher
by Sophia F. Dziegielewski, Ph.D., LCSW
The changes that have occurred with COVID-19 have been unprecedented yet the cry to learn to "balance work and home" is nothing new. With COVID-19; however, balancing it all has taken on new meaning. 

For those interested in information there is lots to be to be found with some being more relevant than others. This may make my comments seem a bit unusual as I will not make one concrete recommendation on what you can do. But I would be remiss not to provide things to consider as you search and find concrete solutions and compile, examine, collate, and prioritize the things you can do.
Some things to keep in mind as you sift through the information available.

When a crisis occurs, people will react swiftly to restore equilibrium.  Therefore, people often think concretely making simplistic solutions appealing because they tell people exactly what to do and not do. Unfortunately, the uniqueness of every person and his or her situation makes this strategy difficult. I always tease my students in class "we have a standardized protocol for treatment for most health and mental health problems, so the day you meet a standardized client, bring them to me as I have the protocol." Usually we have a good chuckle and get down to figuring out how the standardized protocol can serve as a temp-plate for ideas that can be quantified to help the client. With handling the events resulting from COVID-19, strategy and expert evidence-based information can be examined in a similar way.
One of the reasons I am proud to be a social worker is that the basic premise that underlines treatment is two-fold: 1. "Start where the client is" and 2. Take into account the "person-in-situation" and "person-in-environment."  

As I have listened to the news and read the advice of experts, I always hear my social work principles echoing in my ear.  To discern what information and strategy is best for myself or for others I am trying to help, I always keep the following in mind.  No one is ever going to have all the answers on how to best address a situation. Standardized protocols consist of educated, evidence-based strategy based on data that are always evolving. So much of what we learn when adapting evidence-based recommendations, especially with this unprecedented pandemic, is "learn as you go." This makes it so important for all individuals, especially faculty and students to take "advice on coping" or how best to "balance it all" as just that "advice." 

As professionals, we can use the skills we learned in college and teach our students to examine this information critically along with the credibility of the source.  Once done, apply what works best for you in your situation. I do have one concern with this; however, and that is be careful not to be too close to it to be objective, so when in doubt we all could use the advice of an objective professional who is sensitive to you and your needs.  
I know you have heard it repeatedly, that "you are not alone in this, we are in it together." This is true as a general statement, but with that said, you are unique and so is your situation. Social workers can provide an excellent resource for people struggling with how to take the professional evidence-based recommendations and guidelines and start where the client/person is and relate this information directly to the "person-in-situation" or "person-in-environment" perspective.

Times and situations change and this can be a perfect opportunity for generalizability and taking what strategy and evidence-based information available that can be critically examined and applied for what constitutes "best practices" for you, your family and those in your support system. 

"One size fit all" strategies remain limited to everybody being a similar size. Use your training to critically examine how to apply the most pertinent suggestions to your situation in the most productive way. Standardized protocols and recommendations have merit and provide the foundation for what we can do; yet, how it is applied requires application in the best way to benefit yourself and those around us. The phrase "you are not alone" means it is okay to ask for personalized professional help that can be objective in examining your unique situation. In social work practice, we always say "start where the client is" realizing your situation and needs may not fit a standardized mold. 

Lastly, in times of trauma, we need to realize that direction and guidance are the building blocks for application with the most effective outcome resting deep within finding the "goodness of fit." Every scientist knows even the best researcher can lose objectivity and in evidence-based applications, uncontrolled researcher bias is not your friend. 

As you read through the expert advice, determine how to best apply it to you, your family, and your support system. Most importantly, never forget that asking for professional help to assess your unique situation is not a weakness --it is a strength.   

Laws and Rules Books - FREE

Laws and Rules
NASW-FL has a supply of Florida Laws and Rules books  We were unable to use them because of the cancellation of workshops since March. The bound books contain Florida Statutes 456, 491 and Florida Administrative Code Rule Chapter 64B4. The statutes and rules will be updated this summer. 

If you would like to have a copy of the book, please email your mailing address to and a copy will be mailed to you at no charge, while supplies last.

Considering Teletherapy? What You Need to Know BEFORE You Start

As the novel coronavirus concerns continue, many professionals are turning to telemental health for client care. Whether you are new to practicing telemental health or not, there are a few critical items you need to know before you start.

As a policyholder with the NASW Risk Retention Group, your professional liability policy covers client care over the phone and other communication vehicles the same way in-person client care is covered. The coverage support is provided the same way other incidents are handled and held to the same agreement terms and conditions.

But, Before You Start...Make Sure You Take These Steps.
  • Most Importantly, Check with Your State. Regulations for telemental health vary state by state. It is up to you to check the licensure and regulatory requirements surrounding telemental health services. Your policy may not cover you if you are not following your state regulations.
  • Remain HIPAA Compliant. Consider online delivery mediums that comply with HIPAA, federal, and state regulations for the provision of services. Choose a platform that is easy to use so that you can offer confidential and secure care for your clients.
  • Maintain Technology Standards. Standards for technology have been set by NASW, ASWB, CSWE & CSWA. Review the standards online.
  • Adhere to the Code of Ethics. Professional ethics are at the core of the profession. The Code of Ethics sets forth values, principles, and standards to guide professional conduct. Review the Code of Ethics online.
Additional Resources to Guide You

National Association of Social Workers
NASW has been working on multiple fronts to support social workers as they help address the many concerns that are arising as a result of this public health crisis. From providing valuable resources to ensuring access to services, including telemental health, NASW will continue to monitor developments and work to protect social workers and the clients they serve. For more details, go to NASW's COVID-19 Telehealth page.

NASW Risk Retention Group
The NASW Risk Retention Group has been working to empower our policyholders so that they can continue to serve their clients wherever they are during this national public health emergency. Resources to support our policyholders during this unprecedented time in our country can be found on NASW RRG's dedicated resource website.

Risk Management Webinar
This risk management webinar is an excellent resource if you are exploring new communication options. Technology in Social Work Practice, offered by the National Association of Social Workers, is CEU eligible and an excellent tool for anyone using technology to deliver services. Visit the Social Work Online CE Institute online.

Learn more about the liability products offered by the NASW Risk Retention Group, designed specifically for behavioral and allied health professionals.

An Hour With Private Practice: Questions & Answers

2020 Schedule
An Hour with Private Practice: Questions & Answers (HOPP) is a free question and answer session for NASW members. Unless noted otherwise on the schedule, the call-in sessions focus on a specific private practice subject and are led by Mirean Coleman, LICSW, Clinical Manager at NASW. 

There is no registration 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 other third Wednesday of the month from noon until 1 pm ET. Audio recordings and handouts for HOPP are available at; click on An Hour With Private Practice.

Teleconference Dial-In Number
Members can join HOPP by dialing the following teleconference line at least 5-10 minutes prior to the start time:
  • US/CAN Toll Free Number:1-866-519-2796
  • Participant Passcode: 708603

July 15, 2020 Legal Considerations When Releasing Files to Other Parties
Elizabeth Felton, JD, LICSW - NASW Associate General Counsel
Sept 16, 2020 The Ethics of Documentation in Private Practice
Dawn Hobdy, LICSW - NASW Director of Ethics and Professional Review  
Nov.18, 2020
What's New for Private Practitioners in 2021
Mirean Coleman, LICSW, CT - NASW Clinical Manager

Suggestions for HOPP schedule may be sent to

Top of Page

COVID-19 Pandemic Virus Update Article

May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused NASW Assurance Services and the NASW Risk Retention Group to receive an inordinate number of phone calls from social workers asking a variety of questions.

We have found that most of the calls relate to remote practice methods. The risks that are summarized below. We encourage you to check out the NASW Assurance Services' website to see the extraordinary measures and resources that the NASW Risk Retention Group is undertaking and providing for its insurance policyholders that remain unmatched by any liability insurance carrier. We have also created a series of free podcasts on April 10, 2020, dealing directly with pertinent content that was posted the following week.

Click here to read the full article.

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.

May 2020

May 19, 2020 * Virtual
*NASW-FL Northeast Unit is having a Unit Planning Meeting on Tuesday, May 19th from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Please join us and learn about the NASW-FL Northeast Unit, future plans and how you can become involved. This meeting will be hosted by Shamara Gibson, LCSW-QS.

May 19, 2020 * Port St. Lucie, FL - POSTPONED
*NASW-FL Treasure Coast Unit presents "Macro Practice: A Look at Community Organization, Collaboration and Initiatives" with Brett Hall, LCSW, Executive Director of the Mental Health Collaborative of Indian River County, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Port St. Lucie Hospital. A light dinner and refreshments will be provided. Registration is free.
This event is sponsored by Port Saint Lucie Hospital.

May 22, 2020 * VIRTUAL
*NASW-FL Volusia/Flagler Unit presents a Virtual but Real, Peer Support the Challenges We Face" with Kian Jacobs, LCSW & Kim Devine, LCSW; from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Please attend and check in with friends and peers.
Open forum meeting where we discuss our personal challenges, practice adjustments, teletherapy, self-care and share resources.

May 28, 2020 * Virtual
*NASW-FL Central Unit resents "Microagressions towards the LGBTQ+ Community and How to Address Them" with Professor Joshua A. Torres Hassett, LCSW, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Registration is FREE. This is a virtual workshop. This workshop has been approved for and offers 1 contact hour.

May 30 - June 6, 2020 * Reykjavik, Iceland - CANCELLED
*Florida State University College of Social Work and NASW-FL present Clinical Practice International: Reykjavik, Iceland. In 2020, this popular professional development course is being offered in the beautiful city of Reykjavik, Iceland. 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 Iceland and how these are being addressed by the professional social work community.

June 2020

June 9, 2020 * Virtual
*NASW-FL Central Unit is holding a "Virtual Networking Check-in" hosted by Elizabeth Zuravel, MSW, LGSW, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Join us for virtual networking with our social workers-students and active/retired professionals in the Central area. If you have questions or suggestions for discussion topics, please email