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, criminal justice and health care settings. We are also working on behalf of social work students affected by school and field placement closures, and for those preparing for licensure, exams and supervision. We will continue providing guidance via web, email, webinars, podcasts 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 and MANY others are posted to our social media (links at bottom of this page); for a full range of NASW resources and protocols, including your rights, in a wide range of practice settings, as well as workforce and social justice advocacy:  https://www.socialworkers.org/Practice/Infectious-Diseases/Coronavirus

Additional Colorado Resources

Note: MANY other resources are posted to our social media (links at bottom of this page). NASW-CO staff, lobbyists and Legislative Committee are advocating regarding COVID-19 priorities for social workers, our clients and communities - advancing social justice priorities wherever possible.


NASW guidance on reopening social work practices: HERECheck back for additional NASW recommendations on reopening, including legal implications on re-opening. MEMBERS: You can consult with other Members about practice issues through our Chapter Committees https://buff.ly/2X8FctM and also via our MYNASWCommunity: https://buff.ly/2Zofwfp

Note that DORA is in the process of developing additional guidance for mental health professionals. Social workers should consult with state and local public health authorities with regard to reopening, e.g. https://buff.ly/2ydClaB and https://buff.ly/2TjKmC3 and https://buff.ly/2X7wqw9.
Additional CDC guidance: https://buff.ly/2WIp3Mx

All of Governor Polis' Executive Orders related to COVID-19 can be found here: https://buff.ly/3eJo5H3

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

DORA/Division of Insurance - ALL insurance info: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/covid-19-and-insurance

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 

BH Resources & Telemedicine and Expansion Re: COVID-19: https://www.colorado.gov/hcpf/covid-19-provider-information  and  Link HERE and HERE (be sure to see systems & billing) and HEREBehavioral Health Services during COVID_19 State of Emergency - 3/24

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.

Connect for Health Colorado 

Coloradans who are currently uninsured or about to lose coverage due to COVID-19   https://connectforhealthco.com/get-started/covid-19-support/

Additional Colorado Resources 

Find Walk In Crisis Centers, including for M-1 holds which per OBH can now be done via telehealth but can be done in-person and preferably not in an ER: https://coloradocrisisservices.org/

Additional resources for serving clients with suicidal thoughts, feelings and behaviors   https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/categories/services-and-information/health/prevention-and-wellness/suicide-prevention and evidence-based treatments including https://cams-care.com/ and https://www.livingworks.net/asist

Resources, benefits, services for low-income Coloradans during COVID-19 outbreakResources for low-income Coloradans during COVID-19 outbreak HERE

Domestic violence resources: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs/domestic-violence

Child abuse services - 844-CO-4-KIDS: https://co4kids.org/community/updated-calls-child-abuse-and-neglect-hotline-system-drop-more-50-during-covid-19

One-stop resource for the people of Colorado impacted by job loss during the COVID-19 Pandemic https://onwardco.org/

Resources for Those Facing Eviction, Foreclosure, or Non-Payment of Utility Bills  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wj37p5PjuxYs4xqf8TewN1Z6eMAOhw01/view 
CO Tenant's Guide to COVID-19https://buff.ly/2R1nSVt (English) and (Spanish) https://buff.ly/3465ZKa - is designed to help tenants navigate conversations with their landlords, respond to eviction proceedings, and get support.

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

ConnectToCareJobs.com helps address health care workforce shortages during the COVID-19 public health emergency and beyond. It connects residential care facilities that need employees with health care professionals who need jobs.

Volunteer opportunities - Help Colorado Now - https://cohealthvol.nationbuilder.com/ includes volunteer opportunities for social workers, as does Spark the Change-  https://www.sparkthechangecolorado.org/

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 (generally) 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.