Resources for Social Workers in Addressing COVID-19

Thanks to Member Dues, NASW is taking action at the federal and state levels to promote sound COVID-19 policy responses, and advocating for social workers and in the best interests of their clients, including for flexibility around telehealth, interstate regulations and reimbursement, as well as for adequate social and economic support services. NASW and allied social work organizations are identifying the implications of this crisis for social workers in aging, schools, mental health, and health care settings, for social work students affected by school and field placement closures, and for those preparing for licensure while test sites are closed. We will continue providing guidance via web, email, webinars and social media, and develop special programming to help you address ethical, legal, practice management and other issues related to COVID-19. 

Colorado-specific resources are listed below; for a full range of resources and protocols in a wide range of practice settings:  https://www.socialworkers.org/Practice/Infectious-Diseases/Coronavirus

Additional Colorado Resources

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

CDPHE is leading the state response to COVID-19 here https://covid19.colorado.gov/

Hotline for COVID-19, available in many languages: 303.389.1687 or 1.877.462.2911; Email COHELP@RMPDC.org. 

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA)

DORA Notices on COVID-19: Key Link and then look under for specific notices to MH professionals and regarding insurance etc,: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/covid-19-updates-licensees-and-consumers

Past bulletin to MH professionals: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/CODORA/bulletins/281b51d

Policy that exempts telehealth from co-pays and deductibles B-4.104 Policy Directives for Commercial Insurance Market Coverage of COVID-19 Claims.pdf     (includes contact information for Colorado health insurers telehealth services)

Colorado Health Care Policy and Finance Dept.

COVID-19 resource center for various audiences, including providers, at colorado.gov/hcpf/covid 

Link to this specific resourceBehavioral Health Services during COVID_19 State of Emergency - 3/24/2020

BH Resources & Telemedicine and Expansion Re: COVID-19:     Link HERE and HERE (be sure to see systems & billing)

Health First Colorado and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), Click here for one-stop resource page 

Colorado Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) and Telehealth

Resources and information HERE.

Colorado Crisis Services Line: 

https://coloradocrisisservices.org/Call 844-493-8255 OR Text “TALK” to 38255

Practicing Teletherapy/Telehealth in Colorado

Telehealth practice (the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration) is subject to the same standards as traditional practice. The social worker must comply with guidelines for the locations of the social worker and the client, including compliance with all licensing and practice regulations with the state(s) in which both the client and social worker reside (there ARE exceptions to this during the COVID-19 Pandemic- check NASW COVID-19 Web Resources ). The social worker must accurately represent themselves and practice within their competencies. Informed consent must be expanded to address additional risks of using technology. When considering providing teletherapy as a licensee in Colorado, social workers must practice in accordance with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) . Refer to this NASW weblink for getting licensed to practice in Colorado and for the temporary (20 day max) practice in Colorado as a licensee from another state:  https://naswco.socialworkers.org/Professional-Development/Licensure/LSW-LCSW-Information

Telemental Health Informed Sample Consent Form

DORA Teletherapy Policy- see 30-1 on Page 10; comply with mandatory disclosure requirements (see above NASW sample informed consent form) and address all expectations and include documentation in clinical notes: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-K5DhxXxJZbM0tZMEVmNjg1SHM/view

(Full Social work licensing/MH Practice Act DORA laws, rules and policies https://dpo.colorado.gov/SocialWork/Laws)

NASW Code of Ethics with 2017 highlighted revisions regarding the use of technology in the provision of professional services: https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Highlighted-Revisions-to-the-Code-of-Ethics

NASW’s Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice: https://www.socialworkers.org/includes/newIncludes/homepage/PRA-BRO-33617.TechStandards_FINAL_POSTING.pdf

Risk Management: Treading Through Teletherapy Treatment Topics: https://naswassurance.org/malpractice/malpractice-tips/treading-through-teletherapy-treatment-topics/

Technology in Social Work Practice: Standards of Practice - free for Members https://naswinstitute.inreachce.com/Details/Information/b55057c2-cc1a-4809-94b8-939cf3f5bbcf

Best Practices Teletherapy Webinar from NASW Online CE Institute:   https://naswinstitute.inreachce.com/Details/Information/ff8e16c7-c783-4038-ab56-26023754a89d

ASWB resource for electronic practice for social workers is: State-Specific Social Work Electronic Practice. 

More on best practices in telehealthHealthIT.gov guide

Resource app. for following telemental health laws developed by Epstein, Becker, and Green. Here’s that link: telemental health law app.

What Telehealth Platform to Use?

NASW-CO does not endorse any telehealth platform but you must use a HIPAA- compliant platform. These are rarely the communication mediums you use on a daily basis in your personal life. HIPAA compliance has been mirroring technological change. Ensuring that your platform is HIPAA compliant is critical so as to reduce your risk and to maintain patient privacy.

Insurance Coverage for Telehealth Services

Insurance coverage for teletherapy services is impacted by federal and state laws, as well as individual insurance company policies. Providers should check with their liability insurance and their patient’s insurance plan regarding how telehealth services are covered.