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

May 8, 2020 NASW IA Chapter Newsletter


Scroll down for more information on these topics:


  1. Governor’s Proclamations dated 4-27-2020 & 5-6-2020
  2. Medicare
  3. State Legislative Update
  4. Federal Advocacy
  5. New website
  6. Voting is Social Work!
  7. Upcoming CEU events
  8. Survey on Telehealth
  9. Good news in Central Iowa
  10. Chapter Elections


  1. 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 social work licensure on the IBoSW website.  It seems that the only thing they have changed is the date.

  1. Medicare

On April 30, 2020, the CMS announced that they will be broadening the list of services provided by audio-only telephones that they will cover during this emergency to include many behavioral health and patient education services. The agency is also increasing payments for these services to match the payments of similar outpatient and office visits. Additionally, the CMS is waiving the video requirement for certain telephone evaluation and management services. You can read more about these and other actions the CMS is taking in response to COVID-19 at


For more information on Medicare go to


  1. State Legislative Update

At this time, the Iowa State Legislature is adjourned until 5-15-2020.  General expectations are that when they do come back it will be for a very short period of time to pass the FY2021 budget and then leave.  However, we have heard that some policy work continues to go on.

Please stay tuned for advocacy alerts that will likely need VERY quick attention and will likely center around

  • Funding for mental health services
  • Medicaid
  • Telehealth

If you have concerns at this time, do not hesitate to contact your legislator directly.  They are working behind the scenes, so don’t feel bad about disturbing them at home.

  1. Federal Advocacy

The NASW national office has been working diligently to ensure that needs of social workers and the clients who we serve have been taken into consideration in the COVID legislative packages. 

Medicare reimbursement for audio-only telehealth was one of NASW’s top priorities. 

For more information on other federal issues, go to

We encourage you to join NASW’s Advocacy Listserv to stay up-to-date on legislative, regulatory and other activity at the Federal level. There are a variety of valuable resources on the National web page to guide members in connecting with their lawmakers.

5. New website

We are still working out the kinks.  Don’t hesitate to let us know if you can’t find something.

6.  Voting is Social Work!

Iowa’s Primary Election is Tues. 6-2-2020 (seems rather anticlimactic after the Caucus!)

In person absentee voting began on 5-4-2020 (at your County Auditor’s office)

Mail-in ballots were sent out beginning 4-23-2020

The Iowa Secretary of State is encouraging everyone to vote by mail to decrease the number of people who go to the polls on election day.

To learn more about the voting process in Iowa go to


7.  Upcoming CEU events

Fri., 5-15-2020 -- LIVE WEBINAR

Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder 6.0 CEUs

Presented by Greg Nooney, LISW

For more information go to :


Sold out!


Clinical Supervision:  Past the Basics, Advanced Roundtable (3.0 hours)

Presented by Bruce Buchanan, LISW

But our goal is to record this webinar and place it on the NASW OnLine CE Institute so it will become an on-demand class.


Mon, 6-1-2020 – Live Webinar

Initial Clinical Supervision 6.0 CEUs

Presented by Bruce Buchanan, LISW


Fri., 5-5-2020 - Live Webinar

Ethics and Social Work Practice – 3.0 CEUs

Presented by Joe Nemmers, LISW

For more information go to


8.  Survey on Telehealth

Watch your inbox for a survey on social workers use of telehealth coming soon

9.  Good news in Central Iowa!

UnityPoint has opened a behavioral health urgent care clinic on E. 9th street in Des Moines.  Hours are 10 am to 8 pm, 7 days per week! Clients of all ages will be served.  Those younger than 18 must be accompanied by their parent or guardian.


10. Chapter Elections

NASW IA Chapter is seeking to round out the slate for our Chapter elections

These positions are open

  • Vice President for Budget and Finance
  • Secretary
  • NE Branch Chair
  • NW Branch Chair
  • SW Branch Chair
  • MSW Student Rep.
  • BSW Student Rep.

Please email President-elect Tony Raymer for more information

Self-nominations are welcome!  Or send us suggestions for NASW members who you think would represent you well on the Iowa Chapter Board.


I was talking to one of our members on the phone yesterday, and she reminded me that often times of crisis and chaos can bring opportunity.  I know that this is a very difficult time for many social workers and the people we serve.  My hope is that the NASW Iowa Chapter can continue to find opportunity in the crisis and chaos brought on by this pandemic.  I hope that you and your clients may be able to find some opportunities as well.

Denise Rathman