We will keep you updated on any changes that impact your license or practice on this web page. We realize this is a period of anxiety and uncertainty for everyone. However, it is also during these periods of turbulence that our profession has shown the resilience, leadership and character necessary to meet those challenges head on and we have every confidence that this crisis will be no different.
Your Health & Safety
You may have concerns regarding your practice as social workers and how to ensure your health and safety while meeting the needs of the wide range of individuals and families you serve. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has established a web site with very valuable information and links on preparation and prevention regarding the virus at https://dhhr.wv.gov/Coronavirus%20Disease-COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx.
Board Office Staff Health & Safety
The building hoursing the Board office is closed to the public in order to curtail the spread of coronavirus. Please do not come to the office to drop renewal information off or ask staff to meet you in the parking lot; our mailing address is PO Box 5459, Charleston WV 25361. If you need to talk to a staff person, call the office; if we are on the line, please leave a voice mail and please speak slowly so that we are able to return your call.
Using Technology To Provide Services Remotely
Some clients (or you) may prefer to provide services via telehealth / teletherapy for a period of time. The following are some general considerations you as clinicians will want to consider now:
- Discuss a plan in advance of the need to limit in person contact, including arranging for phone or video sessions. Plan how to stay in touch with your clients and their families during an outbreak or quarantine and ensure your clients are aware of your policies.
- If you do not currently provide services in this manner, check with your payers to verify that they will reimburse for services provided this way.
- Use of HIPAA-compliant technology is a must and special care must be taken to ensure confidentiality is maintained.
- Review your malpractice insurance policy regarding provisions around teletherapy and where it is provided (for example, from your home in the event that you cannot use your office due to any quarantine or containment requirements in your area).
- If your client resides in another state, most states require you be licensed in that state and you should check with the licensing board of that state.
Other resources that may be helpful include:
Practitioners in other states: In order to provide continuity of care, during the COVID 19 pandemic, the WV Board of Social Work is allowing clinical practitioners licensed in other states to provide telehealth service to individuals living in WV. You must have an existing service relationship with the resident and a valid social work license in the state you practice from. This waiver is in effect until September 30, 2020. The waiver does not apply to new clients who request your services; in those instances, you should seek a WV license. To obtain a waiver applicaiton, email Admin@wvsocialworkboard.org.
As WV responds to the COVID-19/coronavirus, we realize that there may be some changes to your practice necessitated by social distancing measures, some of which may impact your license. In accordance with CDC recommendations, many continuing education events have been cancelled which have caused many of our licensees to worry how that will impact their renewals. The Board is suspending the rule reguirement for face to face training and is allowing individuals to take twenty hours of online coursework to fulfill all the Category I course requirements. This waiver applies to those with regular and provisional licenses. This will not impact Category II Hours. As this rule suspension is a result of the Governor's Proclamation of a State of Emergency on March 18, this is not a permanent waiver, but it will be in effect until at least September 30, 2020; the Board will reevalate the status of the waiver prior to that time. It is important that you assure the class is approved for social work continuing education. Please check the online course requirements under the Continuing Education Requirements for Social Workers; a resource short listing of providers is also listed on that page.
Social Work Exam Registration & Testing
Individuals who are preparing to sit for the social work exam should visit the COVID-19 page on the Association of Social Work Board's web site at https://www.aswb.org/covid-19. Wait times for testing availability are longer due to COVID 19 so you should register and schedule your test as soon as possible to ensure you get a space within the permit period. Individuals unable to test within their permit period should contact the Board office as soon as possible. Individuals who are provisonally licensed and unable to test should email Admin@wvsocialworkboard.org. Our Board will continue to establish eligibility and authorize individuals for the exam but candidates should check the ASWB's link for the most current information on registration and testing.