From the Pen of the Executive Director: September 2019
Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE
NASW-Illinois Chapter Executive Director
The epidemic of gun violence has unfortunately once again gripped the nation this past summer. As our statement following the El Paso and Dayton shootings notes: NASW is “perplexed and disappointed that the administration, and some members of Congress have insisted on identifying mental illness as the main causative factor for mass shootings. Nothing can be further from the truth. We must not allow ourselves to be distracted by such spurious rhetoric. This public health crisis must come to an immediate end. NASW and its members will remain engaged with others in strenuously fighting for sensible gun laws and an end to racial and religious-driven hate crimes.”
The NASW-Illinois Chapter continues to be the place to go for quality continuing education as we approach the licensure renewal deadline on November 30, 2019. In addition to the 2019 statewide conference, there are currently 26 chapter workshops and trainings around the state. A complete list of these events can be found on the chapter website at https://www.naswil.org/events.
Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed over 300 bills this summer, including many that the NASW-Illinois Chapter has championed. This past week, the governor signed one of those signature chapter legislations, SB1525, which allow the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to provide apprenticeships stipends for youth, effective immediately.
A full list of bills that the governor has signed this summer can be found here.
On the federal level, NASW continues its efforts to pass HR1533, Improving Access to Mental Health Act, which would increase access to mental health services for residents of skilled nursing facilities and provide access to the complete set of clinical services that help Medicare beneficiaries cope with medical conditions. In addition, the bill would align Medicare payment for clinical social workers with that of other non-physician providers by increasing the reimbursement rate from 75 percent to 85 percent of the physician fee schedule.
Here in Illinois, a Medicare care billing group comprised of NASW-Illinois Chapter members has been meeting regularly for the past year on these issues. The group includes Robert Smith, Robyn Golden, Bonnie Ewald, and Rosann Corcoran. Their advocacy has been significant. An intensive workshop, Documentation Standards for Billing Medicare Part B: What Clinical Social Workers Need to Know, will be presented Tuesday, November 5, 2019, at the 2019 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Conference by Robert Smith and Bonnie Ewald.
The chapter continues to promote the NASW Standards for School Social Work Services that note that school social work services should be provided at a ratio of one school social worker to each school building serving up to 250 general education students, or a ratio of 1 to 250 students in a normal trauma school and 1 to 50 students in a high trauma school. Nowhere has this been more evident than the chapter’s efforts working with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Voyces of Youth in Chicago Education (Voyce) to push Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to move in this direction.
A big welcome to this year’s 2019–2020 NASW-Illinois Chapter Social Work Policy Intern Renee Facchini. Renee is a second year MSW student at Loyola University Chicago.