UPDATE: 12-22-2020 conversation with Iowa Department of Public Health staff regarding social workers receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is deferring to each individual County Health Department to determine who is in priority category 1A for vaccinations.

The federal Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP) recommended to and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) adopted guidance that health care workers be in priority group 1A.Under Iowa Code social workers are health care workers, but the priority list wasn’t created by the state of Iowa -- it was created by a federal committee (the ACIP), and then adopted by another federal entity (the CDC).  And the ACIP did not define health care provider.

Each county has a different number of vaccines available and likely a different level of demanded within that county.So if they have vaccines available, the County Health Department may be willing to provide vaccines to social workers in private practice, if they believe that the social workers fall within the 1A priority group. The Iowa Department of Public Health has sent lists of licensed social workers (and other licensees) to the County Health Departments. Of course, this will not include any non-licensed BSWs that may be working at your organization.(As a reminder, licensing of BSWs is optional in the state of Iowa.)

We have heard that some social workers working in Federal Qualified Health Centers and Community Mental Health Centers have been told that they are scheduled to receive the vaccine.

So my best advice is to call the County Public Health Department in the county where your address for licensure is. If you are an employer, you will want to call the County Public Health Department where you have facilities.

Here is a list of Local Public Health Agencies and their contact information:

Please let us know what you hear from your County Health Department/Local Public Health Agency, so we can pass that on to others.

Other helpful links:

Here’s a link to the IDPH Version 2.0 of the “COVID -19 Vaccination Strategy- Draft”

Here is a link to the IDPH webpage on COVID-19 Resources for Underserved Populations

12-9-2020 New Emergency Disaster Proclamation from the Governor with a bit of new Guidance.

Governor Reynolds issued a new Proclamation of Emergency Disaster on

Wednesday, 12-9-2020

The governor’s current proclamation runs through 1-8-2020.

Telehealth portion of the proclamation remains the same

Section 70 – Reimbursement of telehealth services still at 100% of an in-person visit for policies regulated by the Iowa Insurance Division. Audio-only visits are still covered.

Keep in mind

  • Reimbursement rate is NOT the same as BENEFITS.Businesses are encouraged to “remove cost sharing or other financial barriers to the use of telehealth in their health insurance plans.”
  • As before, the Governor’s proclamation only applies to the insurance policies that are regulated by the Iowa Insurance Division.This does NOT include
    • self-insured plans (regulated by ERISA)
    • Medicare (regulated by CMS at the US Department of Health and Human Services)
    • Medicaid (regulated by Iowa Medicaid Enterprise)
    • Federal employee plans (Office of Personnel Management)

Heads up on advocacy needs!

As the last General Assembly came to a close, the rumor mill indicated that the Telehealth segment of the proclamation would go through 1-31-2021.The legislature will have to act VERY quickly to bridge that gap (session begins on 1-11-2021).Be in touch with your legislators NOW to let them know that you would like the telehealth components of the Governor’s proclamation made permanent.

What happens at the legislature is likely to be different this year – we NEED YOUR GRASSROOTS advocacy!

Mandatory Reporter Training

Section Sixty-Nine – The requirement to attend mandatory reporter training within six months of initial hire employment has been suspended.However, cases of child or dependent adult abuse must still be reported to the proper authorities.

To see the Governor’s full proclamation, go to

Licensure renewal

The Iowa Board of Social Work has updated their guidance.

The deadline for licensure renewal has been extended until 2 months after the governor’s Proclamation of Emergency Disaster has expired.  However, folks CAN renew now if they would like. As of now, CEUs may be completed up until 6-30-2021 for the 2019-2020 licensure period.

CEUs earned between 1-1-2021 & 6-30-2021

Social Work CEUs earned between 1-1-2021 & 6-30-2021 may be applied to

  • The 1-1-2019 to 12-31-2020 licensure period (if needed)


  • The 1-1-2021 to 12-31-2023 licensure period

But NOT both

Out of State Social Workers

“For the duration of the Proclamation, individuals who are licensed as social workers in another state, whose license is in good standing, may provide services to Iowans through electronic means without obtaining a license from the Board.”

Keep in mind, Governor Reynolds has NO JURISDICTION over what licenses other states accept (looking at you Missouri).If you have clients in other states, you need to check with that state’s licensing body to see if, as a social worker licensed in Iowa, you are allowed to provide services in that state by electronic means.You can also check the Association of Social Work Boards website (but it may not be up-to-date):

Link to guidance from the Iowa Board of Social Work

Jun 13, 2020

Sat. 6-13-2020 ACTION ALERT!    On the Iowa Senate Debate calendar for today: The licensure bill as amended and passed by the Iowa House last evening, HF 2627.  It’s not as horrible as many of the licensure bills that we have defeated in the past, but just seems plain unnecessary.  Sen. Waylon Brown is the floor manager.  Contact him and ask him what about this bill improves the practice of social worker or any other profession. HF 2627 Here’s a link to the bill as amended:

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Jun 11, 2020

6-12-2020 UPDATE :  This session could end very quickly. Reach out to you legislators as well.  Tell them that we need a telehealth bill that will at the very least require that telehealth services be reimbursed at 100% until 6-30-2021 (which would allow time for data gathering and for the legislature to then act on that data.

As of this writing, we are waiting for HF 2192 (the telehealth bill) to come up on the Senate floor.  It is not at this time (9:34 am) on the debate calendar for today (6-11-2020). (But we suspect this isn’t going to be how it’s going to get passed – others are working through the HHS budget) 

One new development and advocacy target: 

The CEOs of NASW, NAMI, Mental Health America, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association sent a joint letter to all of the Governors asking them to sustain telehealth services beyond the COVID-19 National Emergency (which is what we have been asking the legislature to do)

Follow the link below for a copy of the letter:

Governor Reynolds has been a great advocate for telehealth – that’s why we have been asking the legislature to simply make her proclamations on telehealth permanent.

ACTION ITEM: contact the Governor’s office to

  1. Thank her for her excellent support of telehealth through her proclamations
  2. Ask her to work with the Legislature to continue the tenants of her proclamations permanently

Register an opinion on-line:

Call her office:


Write a note:

Office of the Governor
Iowa State Capitol
1007 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Follow the NASW - Iowa Chapter Facebook page for rapid response updates.

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Jun 06, 2020

Advocates: I know you are tired. But the pressure is working! In his amendment to HF 2192, Senator Edler has increased the reimbursement rate for telehealth services for mental health services. We aren’t at 100% yet, but we are getting there.  (The rate for the medical providers is way less – I don’t know that they are going to be happy with this amendment.)

Email received from the Iowa Senate at 10:54 pm Friday night:

“There will be no debate in the Senate on Monday, June 8th:

We will reconvene on Tuesday, June 9th at 9:00 am. A Senate Daily Schedule email will be sent on Monday evening.” 

What exactly does this mean?  I am not sure – but it seems that they are feeling the heat of your advocacy. 

ACTION ITEMS regarding telehealth – If you have done the first, work your way down the list to find one you haven’t completed.

  1. If you have any hard data about how telehealth has impacted your practice (particularly financially), please send that to Senator Edler (it seems that he is getting his data from the insurance companies).  Thank him for his work on this issue; explain to him firmly but kindly why telehealth needs to be reimbursed at 100% of office rates.


  1. Email YOUR Senator (work address and/or home address) and tell them your story about how telehealth has impacted your practice.  Find your Legislator


  1. Email Senator Liz Mathis – she is fighting very hard on this issue.  Give her the data that she needs to continue this work.  Thank her for her work.  She is an excellent ally on so, so many of issues important to providers and our clients.


  1. Feel the need to do something positive?  Email Rep. Joel Fry LISW and THANK HIM for working on the telethealth reimbursement rates.  Send him your data as well. He may need to back up his arguments.  Edler is amending Fry’s bill. If the bill is successful in the Senate, it will need to go back to the House.


  1. Email the rest of the House social work delegation.  They have our backs.  Give them the data they need to help us fight for this in the House.  Thank them for bringing the social work perspective to their work in the legislature.

Rep. Marti Anderson, LISW

Rep. Mark D. Smith, LISW  

Rep. Ross Wilburn, MSW   


  1. Done all this?  Adopt a Senator and send them your data and stories. They all need to hear this. Build a relationship with that Senator.


  • Smeone on the Human Resources committee would be a good target:


    • Or a member of the leadership

Senate President Charles Schneider            

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver          


FYI – NASW IA advocacy alerts for now can be found at under the NEWLETTERS.  It seems a little easier to read and find things.  See Thurs. June 4 Action alert on Telehealth for more talking points.

Thank you for all you do!  Keeping pushing! Let’s not lose any momentum over the weekend.

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Jun 04, 2020

SF 2393 is on the calendar for Thurs. 6-4  2 pm for the Senate Ways & Means Committee meeting.  Discussion on this bill was DEFERRED as they are waiting for amendments proposed by Senator Dotzler. Additionally, Sen. Brown proposed substanial amendments, including language to keep the Governor's proclamation on telehealth payments in effect until 12-31-2020.  (We would prefer 7-1-2021, allowing the legislature to write a data driven bill.  We will let you know when the Senate Ways & Means committee is next scheduled to meet ...

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Jun 04, 2020

HF 2192 will be discussed in the Senate Human Resources committee at 10:15 am on Thursday, 6-4 Here are a few talking points.  See previous newsletters on telehealth for specific targets and contact information  Telehealth increases access for clients Clients like telehealth and it will be difficult to coax some of them back to in-office visits Clients are at least as likely, if not more likely, to keep their telehealth appointments Barriers to access such as transportation, are decreased with telehealth Some clients actually do BETTER using telehealth Telehealth can increase the geographical reach of s...

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Jun 03, 2020

Senate Human Resources Committee is meeting Thurs. 6-4 at 10:15 am HF 2192, a bill on telehealth is on the agenda for discussion. This bill is very likely to be amended so please watch this space for updates. Please email your state Senator about this bill and tell them at 100% of in-office reimbursement rate is very important for mental health providers and why.  Here are some talking points:   I am writing about the sections of the Governor’s proclamation on the use of telehealth and reimbursement rates for telehealth, which are scheduled to expire on 6-26-2020. I hope that the Iowa State Legislature w...

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Jun 02, 2020

HF 2470 passed the House Ways & Means Committee meeting on Wed. 6-3.  Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, who is generally supportive of professional licensure, said that there will be some amendments.  That could come as early as late this afternoon.  This was a bi-partisan bill with only three democrats voting against it. If you have not reached out to your own legislator, now would be the time to do so. Here are some talking points: This bill will not accomplish what seems to be the intent of the main booster – Americans for Prosperity. (T...

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May 31, 2020

Action alert re:  Telehealth It has been brought to our attention that Iowa State Senate is working on a telehealth bill that would not be as expansive in coverage as the current Governor’s Proclamation.  If you have time for one email or telephone call:    Please email Senator Majority Leader Whitver and ask him to work with Senator Jeff Edler and their caucus to craft a bill that includes the provisions outlined in the Governor’s proclamation.  This includes reimbursement rates at 100% of an office visit rate reimbursement for services from locations other than clinics reimbursement...

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May 08, 2020

  Scroll down for more information on these topics:   Governor’s Proclamations dated 4-27-2020 & 5-6-2020 Medicare State Legislative Update Federal Advocacy New website Voting is Social Work! Upcoming CEU events Survey on Telehealth Good news in Central Iowa Chapter Elections   Governor’s Proclamations dated 4-27-2020 & 5-6-2020 These proclamations expire on 5-27-2020 The portions of the Governor’s proclamations that impact the practice of social work were simply extended until 5-27-2020.  The Iowa Board of Social Work has updated the guidance on ...

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Apr 16, 2020

I spoke with representatives at the Pearson-Vue test sites across the state and in Omaha on Thursday, April 16th.  All are open and administering the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB) tests.  Some sites have a few slots open in the month of April.  If you have not registered with ASWB that is your first step: If you have already registered, visit this site: The West Des Moines test center, at this time, is only making appointments for the month of April, as they are waiting to see what the Go...

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Mar 19, 2020

To-dos Just what you need – more to-do, but I kept it brief. Keep in touch with your State Legislators and the Governor We have to let them know what policies/legislation are getting in your way of working with your colleagues to the best of your ability. NASW Iowa is in contact with our social work colleagues in the House and with Governor’s staff. I am also working with my fellow lobbyists.  But hearing from constituents is extremely meaningful for our elected officials.  Many are still working – I have been in contact with HHS Budget Subcommittee Chair Joel Fry, LISW, Rep. Ross Wilburn, MSW and NA...

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Apr 10, 2020

Here is a not so quick synopsis of news in the Age of Corona.  Scroll down for more information on A reminder from the NASW Office of General Counsel…antitrust law and social work State of Iowa Employees and those who have State of Iowa Employees as clients Guide from U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (IA- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, including non-profits UPDATE! Medicare and Telehealth modifiers Action Alert:  Medicare Telehealth Social workers help lower patient health care utilization rates  A reminder from the NASW Office of General Counsel…antitrust law and social work As w...

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Apr 03, 2020

Additional guidance on Social Work Licenses The Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Board of Social Work issued some additional guidance this week on social work licensing. You can read that additional guidance at the link below: Overall, it seems that Governor Reynolds has been pretty good on licensure and telehealth insurance coverage.  One area that is still unclear is licensing for graduating students, since they are unable to take their exams right now.  We are working with our partners to better understand this and will let you know what we fi...

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Mar 23, 2020

Governor’s Latest Proclamation includes licensing (Sun. 3-22-2020) See sections Seven and Fifteen regarding Social Work Section Seven has do with obtaining a license I have sent emails to the Iowa Board of Social Work and our social work delegation in the Iowa House alerting them to my question about independent social workers as referenced in the Governor’s proclamation.The Governor charged the professional boards with issuing guidance on these matters and the Iowa Board of Social Work is working on thi...

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Dec 13, 2019

The NASW Iowa Chapter (NASW-IA) worked with the NASW Foundation and the University of Iowa School of Social Work, in 2018-2019, to assess the Iowa social work labor force. The initiative was funded by a generous $50,000 grant from the  Telligen Community Initiative. 

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