Advocacy Priorities for CSWA – 2024 (*=Major)
Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
The Clinical Social Work Association Mission guides our advocacy. Every year the Government Relations Committee evaluates what issues are most important and whether there is a vehicle to pass them in Congress. CSWA also consults with affiliated state societies about issues that are important in their state/jurisdiction.
This year our national advocacy priorities, in order of importance, are:
1. *Social Work Compact – Gather the passage of the Compact in seven states to start the Commission to oversee the implementation of the Compact. Work with state Societies to accomplish this goal.
2. *Improve Parity of ASWB Clinical Test Results – Discuss with ASWB the ways to improve test results for BIPOC, older, and ESL, clinical social workers. 2022 data show a huge difference between pass rates of white clinical social workers and these other groups of clinical social workers.
3. *Pass Legislation for Permanent Telemental Health, Including Audio Only, Psychotherapy Coverage – In the time of COVID and beyond, it is crucial that psychotherapy through videoconferencing and audio-only means continues to be covered by Medicare and private insurers. CSWA will be supporting the many bills in Congress that will make this a reality.
4. *Pass Legislation to Implement Mental Health Parity Enforcement – CSWA hopes the long overdue enforcement of mental health parity through Congressional action will be passed this year. We also support adopting reimbursement based on the procedure code rather than the mental health professional who delivers the services.
5. *Stop the Growth of Medicare Advantage – Advantage programs are misleading the public to believe they are the most affordable Medicare program. Traditional Medicare must remain neutral and cannot advertise. The Advantage programs are profit oriented only and may not offer medical plans that are provide all medically necessary treatment and are affordable. CSWA will work toward the continued life of traditional Medicare and its continued expansion of medical care offerings.
6. *Voting Rights – Protection of voting rights is a major part of mental health. CSWA has been a strong advocate for District of Columbia statehood and expands that position to prevent the attempts to restrict voting rights in all states.
7. *Immigrants – CSWA has worked with the Mental Health Liaison Group to stop the cruel policies that were implemented by the previous administration. The refusal of some states to allow immigrants to enter their state by sending them to states that are more willing to allow immigrants to live in them has created a polarization across the country and lack of access to mental health treatment.
8. Keep Affordable Care Act Intact – The many efforts to repeal ACA are going to harm millions of people who have gained health care as a result of the ACA. All plans which have been proposed to ‘replace’ the ACA will do nothing to lower costs or provide better care. Keeping the ACA intact with some minor tweaks to funding, maintaining the essential benefits, allowing beneficiaries the right to choose their own pharmacy and medical provider, and continuing to expand Medicaid are all primary goals of CSWA.
9. Social Determinants of Health – Integrate social issues which contribute to mental health and substance use problems into services covered by LCSWs through Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and commercial insurers. The issues include services related to basic needs like food, shelter, transportation, and special services needed for patients with cognition problems, mental health issues, physical handicaps, and financial difficulties.
10. Consider the Value of Single Payer – A discussion is developing about the possibility of creating a nationwide health care system. CSWA is still considering the pros and cons of this option, practically and politically, and will be looking at the feasibility of this goal. We would support attempts to lower the age people can become eligible for Medicare.
11. Treatment of Addiction – Increased awareness of addiction and state regulation of endorsement to provide treatment for addiction may require more training in treatment of substance abuse for LCSWs who wish to work in this area.
12. Privileging of Medication over Psychotherapy – Over the past 30 years, psychotropic medication has become the primary treatment for emotional distress, recommended by primary care physicians and insurers. Building bridges with PCPs and making psychotherapy a fundamental part of the way that emotional disorders are treated is a major goal.
Contact: Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice, firstname.lastname@example.org