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social work telehealthTelehealth & Licensure: New Telehealth Social Work ASWB Report

In an important social work development, the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) has released a detailed report for providers who practice telehealth social work across state lines and their organizations. Social workers comprise the majority of the behavioral health personnel, helping patients in many healthcare settings, including mental health clinics, hospitals, state-funded services such as child protective services, elder protective services, nursing homes, etc. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook provides data showing social work to be the largest and one of the fastest-growing behavioral health professions, with 715,600 jobs in the U.S., poised to grow at a 12% annual rate.

During the pandemic, virtual psychotherapy services were dramatically expanded by social workers as well as all the other professions in behavioral health to deliver immediate aid to those in need. ASWB immediately focused on those social workers and their organizations practicing telehealth social work across state lines. They released their report examining regulatory approaches to electronic social work practice based on a review of its 64 member jurisdictions recently, as emergency provisions for social work practice are expiring in several states. The report has been released so that providers and employers can be maximally informed of licensing rules. 

Aptly named the New report: Telehealth regulation in social work, the effort addresses social work licensing statutes, practice standards, and regulations related to telehealth in the United States and Canada. It includes an at-a-glance chart that can help all relevant parties understand quickly which states and provinces have provisions for digital practice and how to comply. Providers and their organizations can access the comprehensive report in its entirety at SocialWorkPROfile.com. The Association of Social Work Boards is the regulatory association for the field. 

In a second telehealth social work development, the Social Work Today magazine described the impact of the pandemic and made several suggestions for social workers. Social work is inextricably related to the social pulse of our communities. Telehealth social work, one previously novel concept, has practically become the standard of care.

Telehealth Social Work: Competency Training

The Social Work Today magazine mentioned TBHI in their recent telehealth article, entitled, Telebehavioral Health: Now a Social Work Imperative. The author, Christiane Petrin Lambert, said one source of training for practicing clinicians is the Telebehavioral Health Institute (TBHI). Below are excerpts from the original article for your convenience:

The Telebehavioral Health Institute (TBHI), founded and headed by Marlene Maheu, Ph.D., is a source of training for practicing clinicians. Maheu states that since the onset of the PHE, training demand has grown exponentially to the extent of 7,000 trainees in 10 weeks. Training activities include Webinars for national organizations. According to Maheu, the PHE has ushered in a paradigm shift—”a worldwide emphasis that mobilized everyone around telehealth.” She emphasizes that evidence-based methods were available, citing telesurgery as one example. TBHI provides ASWB-certified training programs based on decades of study and expertise in telehealth… Several mental health providers are sending representatives for train-the-trainer development to increase competency inside their systems. According to Maheu, the fundamentals of telehealth social work remain the same regardless of the scenario. “Telehealth is not a separate profession.”  

The article also lists TBHI as being an ASWB-approved Telebehavioral Health Training Certificate program.

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