NASW IOWA COVID – 19 Update # 3


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 NASW Member State Rep. Mark Smith, LISW this week. I have also been in contact with the Governor’s staff.

I am always grateful for our fellow social workers who are elected officials, but never as much as this week.  They are helping us communicate with the Executive branch making known what fixes need to occur.

Find your state legislators here

Contact information for the Governor

A few talking points/issues to bring up:

  • Full parity for reimbursement rates for telehealth for mental health providers (and others as well).  It’s one thing to have a few clients use this service, but if ALL your clients are using this service, you could see a decrease in income of 25%.  But your office rent, overhead, etc. is not going to decrease.
  • We need more clarity on the ERISA regulated policies for those companies that self-insure and if the Governor’s proclamation covers these. These “self-insured” policies are not regulated by the Iowa Insurance Division, but it seems that a lot of folks with these types of policies are seeking  mental health services.  (We can’t really blame the insurance companies for this – the employers create and pay the benefits for the company, the insurance company is simply the administrator.)
  • Telehealth/licensure issues for students who have gone home to other states.  These students still need access to services.  UPDATE:  Governor’s proclamation 3-22-2020 solved this for clients IN Iowa with mental health professionals OUTSIDE the state.  We will have to wait to see what other states do.

Policy Updates and Resources

New informational letters from IME (Iowa Medicaid Enterprise) on telehealth COVID-19 etc.

Iowa Dept. of Human Services has a new COVID-19 webpage

From State Rep. Ross Wilburn, MSW:

The Dept. of Human Services has a new COVID-19 webpage for updates on childcare, child welfare, Medicaid, and social workers:

US Representative Axne has federal updates on her website.  While NASW IA is in contact with her staff, NASW National is taking the lead on federal advocacy efforts.

However, it also important for our federal officials to hear from those on the frontlines how federal policy is impacting social workers and the people they serve. 

Find your Members of Congress – including our US Senators here:


Continuing Education

Most of our CEU offerings will be on-line, some will be postponed. 

See our website for most current information.  

In the state of Iowa, all social work CEUs may be obtained on-line

Visit NASW’s Social Work OnLine Institute for your CEU needs

Communications from NASW IA

Watch Facebook pages NASW - Iowa Chapter and Iowa Social Workers

For more rapid response communications. 

We are mostly working from home at this time.  If you are more comfortable speaking on the phone, call the NASW IA office at 515-277-1117 and leave a message with your name, phone number and a good time to talk.  We will do our best to return your call within 24 hours.

Best email to reach Denise Rathman, MSW, chapter executive director:

CEU questions – go to Kimberlee, our Education & Training coordinator:

Lastly – Happy Social Work Month! 

What a way to celebrate.  Thank you so much for all you do!

As I have mentioned to some of you individually and on Facebook, this event reminds me why I became a social worker – so I could utilize the experience of frontline workers to better influence policy for the people we serve.  Keep us posted as to what you and your clients need.  

And a special shout out to Kimberlee Gregory, LMSW our Education & Training coordinator. Because Kimberlee is capably taking care of our CEU schedule, your executive director has been able to devout the vast majority of her time to your questions and advocacy.  Thank you Kimberlee!

And THANK YOU to our members.  Your NASW Membership dues allow us to have full-time staff in Iowa to answer your questions and advocate on your behalf.  We literally could not do this without you.  NASW is a membership organization – we would not be here without our members.