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  • Friday, August 05, 2022 9:43 PM | Jodi Hogue (Administrator)

    Here is a link to an article published today in Bloomberg Law today about the CareDash situation which mentions CSWA:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-05/shadow-profiles-from-therapist-directory-spark-startup-backlash?sref=yqJvNODh


    Keep sending your complaints to your state consumer protection agencies and the FTC. The original post and template can be found HERE. 


    Let me know when you have sent them, as always.


    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
    Clinical Social Work Association  
    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org


  • Thursday, August 04, 2022 9:52 AM | Jodi Hogue (Administrator)

    Here is an update on the CareDash/BetterHelp fiasco. Many members complained to CareDash and yesterday received the following form letter:

    Sarah (CareDash)

    Aug 2, 2022, 15:43 ADT

    Hello,

    Thanks for reaching out to CareDash! As a mental health provider, we understand your concerns regarding the importance of protecting your privacy and would be happy to help remove any personal information. We permit the redaction of a personal phone number or address and can flag profiles as retired or deceased, as needed. However, CareDash's policy is not to remove a profile since this information is of the interest to the general public.

    While we provide information on healthcare providers and practices by aggregating information from various public sources, such as the NPI Registry, it is most important to us that you and your practice are appropriately represented on CareDash. The information disclosed on the NPI Registry are FOIA-disclosable and are required to be disclosed under the FOIA and the eFOIA amendments to the FOIA. There is no way to 'opt out' or 'suppress' the NPPES record data for health care providers with active NPIs.

    We'd be happy to help you update your profile to ensure you and your practice are appropriately represented on CareDash. We permit the redaction of a personal phone number or address and can flag profiles as retired or deceased, as needed.

    We've created this guide on how you can protect your privacy: https://www.caredash.com/articles/how-health-care-providers-can-protect-their-privacy. At CareDash, we're deeply committed to protecting the privacy of providers and keeping our data accurate, so please let us know if we may be misrepresenting you or your practice in any way in order for us to correct it immediately. The easiest way to ensure your data stays up-to-date is for you to take control of your profile by claiming and updating it on CareDash. Please follow the simple instructions here: https://www.caredash.com/portal.

    Lastly, please visit the NPI Registry to edit the source of the public information we use: https://npiregistry.cms.hhs.gov. Many sites use this data and you may have accidentally placed personal information when registering for your NPI. Our team will periodically update our data to match what's in the NPI Registry if you choose not to claim and update your profile today. Please check back in a few weeks for your changes to be in effect.

    Kind Regards,

    Sarah B.

    CSWA regards this letter as disingenuous, since the issue is not just where CareDash found all our information, the NPI list, but how they are using it to restrict access to our services. CSWA has also discovered that CareDash is connected to Teledoc and Nufit Media, which we are looking into.

    Several members suggested that CSWA consider filing lawsuits against CareDash. We are exploring this possibility with attorneys, are examining what the legal issue or issues might be (restraint of trade, kickbacks, possibly) and are determining the feasibility of filing a lawsuit (class action, through attorneys general, etc.). In addition, we are working with PsiAN to send a letter to the FTC.

    Several members have reported that they sent letters to NPR and other groups that use BetterHelp as a sponsor objecting to the policies of CareDash and BetterHelp.

    Please continue to send your individual letters to your state attorney general and the FTC about your objections to CareDash and BetterHelp policies. They have already made a difference in Maryland where the consumer protection department at first refused to look into the situation but changed its mind after a flood of complaints.

    I will be sending weekly updates about the progress being made and/or new actions to be taken. Thanks to the over 300 members who let me know they have sent messages on the subject. Please continue to let me know if you have done so.

    I also urge you to join the discussion in the comments at this link or use the button below.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice

    Clinical Social Work Association

    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org


  • Saturday, July 30, 2022 9:54 PM | Jodi Hogue (Administrator)

    LCSWs at Risk: CareDash and BetterHelp

    July 30, 2022

    CSWA would like to call to your attention a duplicitous practice which a company called CareDash is engaging in. CareDash has partnered with BetterHelp to drive potential patients to CareDash or BetterHelp affiliated therapists. It has gathered information about thousands of LCSWs and other clinicians to direct them to CareDash or BetterHelp affiliated clinicians without the permission of the non-affiliated LCSWs listed.

    If the LCSW is not affiliated with BetterHelp, CareDash will say that there is no way to connect with them through CareDash, without directing them to the website of the LCSW, or noting that this is an active licensed clinical social worker. CareDash receives a commission for all patients referred to BetterHelp.

    CareDash also has its own list of LCSWs which they will only use for referrals if an LSCW affiliates with them. These practices could significantly reduce the ability of patients in gaining access to LCSWs who are not connected to CareDash or BetterHelp. Please note that if you are not on the CareDash list, patients will be directed to BetterHelp. CareDash at this point refuses to take anyone off their list who is not officially connected with them or BetterHelp.

    There is little doubt that the CareDash list has been compiled from public lists such as NPI, insurers, and others, then made to look as if the LCSWs listed are not being artificially limited by CareDash.


    Here is what CareDash said about me:

    About

    Laura W. Groshong LICSW (she/her) is a clinical social worker in Seattle, WA.

    For new and existing patients, please see recommendations on how to schedule an appointment with Laura Groshong online. As a clinical social worker, she may specialize in Anger Management and Anxiety, in addition to other issues.

    Laura Groshong got her license to practice in Washington.

    If you want to see Laura Groshong, please contact her to book an appointment. You can also see how she compares to other clinical social workers in Seattle or get matched to an online therapy provider.


    When anyone clicks on “schedule an appointment” or “book an appointment” they get the following message: “Laura Groshong has not provided a way to schedule online through CareDash. However, you could get connected with an online therapist or chat with our virtual assistant to get help finding a therapist.” There are then over 1000 mental health clinicians listed as “the best” clinicians in the Seattle area, all sponsored by BetterHelp, many of which offer 20% discounts for the first month.


    Here is what CSWA recommends each member do to protect your practice:

    1. Go to CareDash.com and see if you are listed as a member. Unless you are working for BetterHelp and want to remain on the CareDash list, send a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/. You will need the CareDash corporate address which is 614 Massachusetts Ave., Ste 400, Cambridge, MA 02139, and the BetterHelp corporate address which is 990 Villa Street, Mountain View, CA 94041.

    2. You may also file a complaint with your state attorney general consumer protection department. To find the location of your state’s consumer protection department go to https://www.consumerresources.org/file-a-complaint/ .

    3. A template for sending a complaint is found below:

    I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker writing to inform you that a company, CareDash, is unfairly restricting my practice as a clinical social worker. They have listed my professional information on their website without my permission and refer anyone who checks my name to another company, BetterHelp, or to their own list of clinicians. I do not wish to work with CareDash or BetterHelp. CareDash refuses to take my name off their list, claiming it is public information. Thus, CareDash is falsely marketing my services to generate online traffic for BetterHelp or itself, ultimately resulting in the selection of BetterHelp’s participating providers or its own, rather than me. This is a restriction of trade that should be stopped immediately.

    CSWA encourages all members and affiliated societies to file complaints with the appropriate state and/or national organizations. Please let me know when you have done so.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice  
    Clinical Social Work Association  
    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org


  • Friday, July 29, 2022 9:55 PM | Jodi Hogue (Administrator)

    Dear Missouri Society for Clinical Social Work,

    H.R. 4040, THE ADVANCING TELEHEALTH BEYOND COVID–19 ACT OF 2021

    A bill passed the House yesterday which would allow Medicare to cover LCSWs and other mental health professionals for telemental health services until 2024, including audio only treatment. Additionally, the requirement that patients be seen in person every six months was eliminated. The vote was 416-12.

    This is a huge win for CSWA, clinical social work, and all of the groups in the Mental Health Liaison Group that worked to get this bill passed. The bill now goes to the Senate where it is likely to pass, as long as it is brought to a vote.

    All CSWA members should send the following message to their senators at https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm?OrderBy=state&Sort=ASC“I am a member of the Clinical Social Work Association and a constituent. Please ask Speaker Schumer to bring HR. 4040, The Advancing Telehealth Beyond Covid-19 Act of 2021, to a vote. Many patients struggling with mental health problems will be unable to get the help they need unless this bill is passed by the Senate. Thanks for your support on H.R. 4040.”

    As always, please let me know when you have sent your messages.

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice

    Clinical Social Work Association

    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org


  • Tuesday, July 19, 2022 4:08 PM | Jodi Hogue (Administrator)

    9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

    Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice

    July 2022

          July 16, 2022 was the roll-out date for ”9-8-8”, the new US network for people looking for help with suicidality or other emotional crises. This phone number is designed to be used for text or for telephone access to volunteers who will provide initial assistance to callers, then triage them to LCSWs and other licensed clinicians.

          Ultimately, 9-8-8 will become the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK); the new number will be easier to remember and access. This older hotline will remain in effect for an as yet undetermined period of time while 9-8-8 becomes fully operational. 

           There is no question of need: there has been an exponential increase in suicides and suicide attempts since the pandemic began almost three years ago. Here is what LCSWs should know about the implementation of this new system.

    Funding

    The $400 million set aside in Federal funding for 9-8-8 is about half of what will be needed to fund the services in every state. So far, the only states that have provided the needed state funding are Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Washington. Nine states have legislation in progress to provide this funding; 37 states have no plan to provide funding. CSWA encourages members to ask their state legislators to find the state funding for 9-8-8 so that it can be fully functional as soon as possible. To see what your state’s plan is for funding 9-8-8, go to https://reimaginecrisis.org/map/.

    Current Statistics

    How serious is the issue of suicide? Here are the number of suicides in the most recently recorded year, 2020:

    • In 2020, the U.S. had one death by suicide about every 11 minutes
    • Suicide was the leading cause of death for individuals between ages 10-34 in 2020
    • Over 100,000 individuals died from drug overdoses in the nine months from April 2020 to the end of the year

    While 2020 actually saw a decrease in suicides from 2019 overall (17.7%, https://suicidology.org/2021/04/02/2020data/), of grave concern is the fact that there was an increase for young adults and BIPOC communities of all ages in 2020 (https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20211103/suicide-rates-2020-cdc) .

    More Information

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has prepared a toolkit to further explain the need for 988. For FAQs and Fact Sheets, go to

    https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988/partner-toolkit. Also feel free to contact me for more information.


  • Monday, July 11, 2022 4:21 PM | Jodi Hogue (Administrator)

    As you know, CSWA has been involved in the development of a Compact which would allow clinical social workers to practice in all states that join the Compact without having to become licensed in individual states. For the past 8 months, Laura Groshong, CSWA Director of Policy and Practice, and I have attended the Social Work Compact Technical Advisory Committee meetings monthly, sponsored by the Department of Defense and Council of State Governments.

    A document for the Compact has been created which is now available for review by the public, including CSWA members. I encourage all CSWA members to attend one of the two webinars which will be held on July 30 at noon ET and September 8 at 3 pm ET for more detailed information on the Compact. Keith Buckhout and Matt Shafer of the Council of State Governments will be available to explain the process and answer your questions. Registration for these webinars will be on the CSWA website shortly.

    Among the issues that will be addressed are:

    • What is an interstate compact?
    • How do states use interstate compacts?
    • How do states join a compact?
    • How many states are required for a compact to be in effect?
    • What are the benefits of a compact?
    • How do compacts preserve state sovereignty?
    • Where do states obtain legal authority to enter compacts?
    • How are compacts administered and enforced?
    • What are the steps in the compact development process?
    • How long can it take to implement a compact?
    • How are compacts funded?

    To review the document before the webinars, go to https://compacts.csg.org/compact-updates/social-work/

    To submit comments or feedback on the draft, please fill out the online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/socialworkcompact

    Please let Laura know if you have any questions and watch for an email later this week from our new Administrator, Angela Katona, regarding how to sign up for one of the two webinars.


    Kendra Roberson, PhD, LICSW

    CSWA President

    president@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org


    Laura Groshong, LICSW

    CSWA Director, Policy and Practice

    lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org


  • Friday, July 08, 2022 10:24 AM | Jodi Hogue (Administrator)

    CSWA members have expressed concerns about the way that companies like Betterhelp are providing a kind of mental health treatment based on texting. The lack of direct contact is cause for concern. The asynchronous nature of Betterhelp limits emotional communication.

    A new article from California Healthline, written by award-winning journalist Harris Meyer, has just come out and has echoed some of these concerns. The article, “Digital Mental Health Companies Draw Scrutiny and Growing Concerns”, can be found at https://californiahealthline.org/news/article/digital-mental-health-companies-scrutiny-concerns/.

    Both Marlene Maheu, PhD, who presented a webinar on telemental health for CSWA, and Laura Groshong, CSWA Director of Policy and Practice, are quoted in the article.

    Clinical Social Work Association
    The National Voice of Clinical Social Work
    Strengthening IDENTITY | Preserving INTEGRITY | Advocating PARITY


  • Wednesday, June 29, 2022 6:58 PM | Jodi Hogue (Administrator)

    The Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA) is profoundly concerned by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling affirming a Mississippi law that outlaws abortion in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Court added the overthrow of Roe v. Wade to their Opinion. This Opinion also jettisons any person’s right to privacy in health care decision making, and puts the health and mental health of women and their families at risk. By removing any guarantee that women can have access to safe and legal abortion, the Court’s Opinion returns responsibility for reproductive law-making in the hands of Congress and the states.

    As states respond to this Opinion with their own laws, it appears that in many instances women and families will be prohibited from receiving much needed mental health therapeutic interventions from Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs). 

    In the Constitution, the Founding Fathers made no reference to women at all, let alone rights afforded women to bear or not bear children. Similarly, in the 213-page Opinion of the Court majority, there is no mention of the rights or needs of women, or of children-to-be. The Opinion does not acknowledge the physical health or mental health needs of a woman forced by law to carry to term. There is no mention of support for pregnant women, such as pre-natal care, housing, paid sick leave, health insurance, or food stamps. Nor is there acknowledgement of the needs of the fetus in the womb and beyond.

    There are so many reasons that women consider abortion. LCSWs see the anguish that making this decision entails and work with clients to come to a valid decision. LCSWs are bound by Federal and state laws. This Opinion in essence has accepted forced-birth laws, limiting the way that LCSWs can work with clients. In some states, there may be felony charges for a woman simply asking for emotional support, or an LCSW providing that mental health support. Understanding the laws in their states will be essential for LCSWs to protect their clients.

    LCSWs know that women who are struggling with their mental well-being need sustained access to care. The data is clear that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and Black women in particular, have the highest maternal mortality rates globally and face terrible risk as a result of this Opinion.

    CSWA is still gathering information on the states’ responses to this Opinion and will keep the clinical social work community apprised. State legislatures and Congress are now responsible for creating the laws needed as a result of this Opinion.

    What else can LCSWs do? Here is a list that is may help clarify the issue:

    • Combat misinformation about abortion
    • Avoid criminalization of pregnancy
    • Provide information on the impact of Dobbs on privacy
    • Work with groups who provide confidential hotlines

    No matter what your point of view is, knowing your state laws, vote for legislators who will not criminalize abortion and who will provide the supports mentioned above. VOTING is the most effective way for LCSW voices to be heard. 

    Clinical Social Work Association
    The National Voice of Clinical Social Work
    Strengthening IDENTITY | Preserving INTEGRITY | Advocating PARITY


  • Tuesday, June 07, 2022 1:44 PM | Jodi Hogue (Administrator)


  • Monday, March 28, 2022 4:21 PM | Jodi Hogue (Administrator)

    March 2022

    Transgender children have been in the crosshairs of conservative groups in the legislature and elsewhere for the past decade.  Amongst legislative attempts to discriminate against them, there have been attempts to ban them from gender-specific bathrooms or from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity.  Support for transphobic attitudes and actions has grown. Now there is an attempt in Texas to lay blame on parents who affirm their child’s gender identity. This bill is one of the most harmful to trans children, but is the tip of the iceberg; there have been over 235 state-based bills that limit the rights of trans children in 2022 (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/nearly-240-anti-lgbtq-bills-filed-in-2022-so-far-with-most-targeting-trans-people/ar-AAVhMSa) . The current law that has passed in Texas, abhorrently describes parental support of trans children as child abuse; though, for now, it has been placed on hold by a Texas appeals court.

    CSWA believes that gender identity is an integral aspect of our intersectional identities and that children’s rights to express their identities, and to participate in everyday activities of childhood, regardless of this expression, should be protected.  LCSWs work with trans-children and adults who have been harmed because of their trans identities. To our affiliated colleagues in the Texas Society for Clinical Social Work, we send our support and encouragement to stand strong.  No law can persuade us to ignore our ethical stance on respecting the identity of any individual child, and for parents that support and affirm their children.  Also notable, the Texas law does nothing to prevent the violence directed toward trans BIPOC youth for being themselves. This violence has increased at alarming rates in the last few years.

    As reported by Forbes, 30 trans youth were killed in 2020, including 23 that were BIPOC youth. (Forbes, “Transgender America: 30 Killed And Fatally Shot Already In 2020”, 10/2/20, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiewareham/2020/10/02/30-trans-woman-have-now-been-violently-murdered-in-america-in-2020/?sh=296cb38564a4). The work of groups like GLAAD (glaad.org), the Trans Youth Equality Foundation (http://www.transyouthequality.org/), and the Transgender Law Center (https://transgenderlawcenter.org/) are crucial to educating the public and advocating across multiple domains to prevent transphobic violence and discrimination against trans youth and their parents.  CSWA supports the work of these groups in preventing harm and protecting trans children.


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