Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Telehealth Update from NASW-ME

With Covid-19 impacting the safety of our communities and our social workers we hope to provide easily accessible information on a variety of topics. Please refer to this document and the links embedded to support you in your daily work as well as resources for your clients. Telehealth may be a new platform for many of our social workers and the information provided is to help navigate practice in this state of emergency.

Safety Considerations

We suggest that all providers follow the guidelines from the CDC as well as directives and guidelines from state and local governments as information is being updated sometimes daily. Following the CDC and state guidelines to the best of your ability will ensure you and your client’s safety.

There are many other resources for providers on the NASW Coronavirus webpage as well as helpful ethical considerations.



Malpractice Insurance

Review your own professional insurance policy on malpractice and review the information around telehealth and where it is provided.

Review the NASW Assurance Services bulletin issued on March 17, 2020. This is a reminder to policyholder that the RRG professional liability policy provides coverage for teletherapy as long as it is an accepted practice conducted according to the individual practitioner’s state regulations, state licensing board requirements, and HIPPA privacy standards which vary by state and are continually evolving. 

HIPPA

On March 17, 2020, HHS issued information announcing to “waive potential penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients through everyday communications technologies during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.”

We advise caution with this, and to utilize HIPPA-compliant platforms if at all possible or consult your liability insurance company.

Typically, you need to choose a HIPAA-compliant platform. Some are free, and some involve a cost, especially for full HIPAA compliance.

You may need to sign up with a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) for true HIPAA compliance. Read the platform policies carefully.

Some available platforms are listed below. None are endorsed by NASW. The first two listed have been recommended by a number of NASW members.


Informed Consent

Some insurers may require a signed telehealth informed consent form. This is good practice regardless of requirements of the insurers you work with. The NASW created a Telemental Health Informed Consent form that you can use.

Housing

Note from Maine Equal Justice

In a press conference earlier this week (April 9), Governor Mills voiced her opposition to evictions. "It's not the right time for any landlord to be evicting anybody. ANYBODY." We agree. Mainers also need assistance to meet their housing costs in order to make it through this public health emergency and economic downturn. Now is an important time to contact the Governor again and make sure her policy on housing reflects the needs we are hearing about from Mainers with low income.

Call Governor Mills TODAY at: 207-287-3531(ask to leave a message if voicemail is full)

Thank her for making housing a priority at this time. Ask her to include the following in any action she takes: No evictions, No New Debt, Emergency Rental Assistance, Retroactive Support. And House Everyone.

For updates on MaineCare, Housing and Evictions, General Assistance, Food Assistance and more, visit our special COVID-19 response website.

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

You can find community planning, webinars, and helpful site-specific emergency operations information here gathered from the CDC, HUD, National Health Care for the Homeless Council and more for service providers.

Food Insecurity

Good Shepherd Food Bank of ME food map


Mental Health Resources – For clinicians and clients

Maine Front Line Warm Line has provided an in-depth working document with resources for clinicians, child & family resources, emergency medical personnel/critical incident stress management, hot & warm lines, law enforcement help, trainings, and much more!

NAMI-ME


Aging Population

AARP Maine has resources on their homepage for information on safety and protection in nursing homes as well as FREE live Q&A’s that can be accessed toll free or listened to regarding maintaining well-being.

Healthy Aging, Southern Maine Agency on Aging has updated information and their current eligibility requirements for Meals on Wheels due to COVID-19. 


Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health

SAMHSA has an updated webpage with information on emergency grants, considerations for care in treatment settings, use of telemedicine for MAT, and other important guidance.

Virtual Recovery Resources

SAMHSA has provided an in-depth document with information on all recovery virtual programs.


Nurturing Relationships Online

The Search Institute provides information on utilizing social media to stay connected in this time.  

For all of Governor Mill's Emergency Orders for Maine

Find them here

Self-Care

Take care of yourselves during these times and rememberthe Self-Care Wheel when you need to check in. We are thankful for all of the hard work you and your clients are doing!