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PRACTICE MATTERS


The information here is to keep practitioners up-to-date on what's happening in our profession.  If you have any questions, please refer to any contact information listed with each item, or e-mail naswfl@naswfl.org.

NEW CE REQUIREMENT FOR 491

(published in NASW-FL May/June 2014 Newsletter)


All persons licensed under the Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling are now required to take a new Florida Laws and Rules Update course as part of their continuing education requirements.  This Florida Laws and Rules Update will keep practitioners informed as to changes in the statutes and other provisions regulating the practice of psychotherapy.  


LCSWs will be required to obtain three hours of Laws and Rules credit every third renewal, or one course every six years.  The rule change is effective as of this year in the current biennium.  However, this year will count as the first year for all current licensees, meaning that all current licensees will have until March 30, 2019 to take the update course for the first time.  Current licensees who choose to take the course now will count toward their requirement, as will those who take it any time during the next two renewal periods.  


Laws and Rules counts as administrative CEs.  Up to six administrative CEs are allowed per renewal cycle.  Taking the eight-hour Florida Laws and Rules course for initial licensees is also an approved means of meeting the requirement, but licensees should aware of the potential for exceeding their maximum number of administrative CEs.      


NASW-FL is offering our first “Florida Laws and Rules Update” course as part of Social Work Conference 2014.  It will be offered June 14th, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. in Weston.  Participants who sign up for the day could also attend “Prevention of Medical Errors” and “Domestic Violence” as part of their required CE courses for licensure. 


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MEDICARE INCREASE FOR 2014 AND IDC-10-CM IMPLEMENTATION DELAYED

(published in NASW-FL May/June 2014 Newsletter)


On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.  There are several areas of this new law, two of which directly impact clinical social workers.


  • The law averts the 23.7 percent cut in 2014 Medicare payments for clinical social workers.  Instead a 0.5 percent increase will be reimbursed for Medicare services rendered January 1 thru December 31, 2014.  It also provides a zero percent increase in Medicare reimbursement in 2015 from January 1 to March 31, 2015.
  • Clinical social workers have been preparing for the implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) on October 1, 2014.  The law delays the implementation of  the ICD-10-CM  to at least October 1, 2015.  The delay raises questions regarding a definitive date for implementation as the health care community seeks further clarification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


 NASW will keep its members abreast of updates regarding the ICD-10-CM delay.


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MEMBERS-ONLY LEGAL CONSULTATION CALLS:

(published in NASW-FL May/June 2014 Newsletter)


Calls are answered Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT.  All members should call Member Services at 1-800-742-4089 for a referral, or call the Consultation Line directly at (202) 408-8600, ext. 592.  You may leave a message, and the call will be returned from the Office of General Counsel.  You may also leave your e-mail address so that resources can be provided if appropriate. 


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CONTINUING ED REPORTING

FROM THE CHAPTER 491 LICENSURE BOARD

(published in NASW-FL May/June 2014 Newsletter)



The Florida Department of Health, Division of Medical Quality Assurance will now verify a practitioner’s continuing education record in the electronic tracking system at the time of renewal.  This program is part of our commitment to expeditiously license health care professionals who meet statutorily mandated standards of competency.


The CE/CME@Renewal program is being implemented in two phases to provide a smooth transition for all licensees and CE providers.  During this phase, the Department encourages licensees to start learning about the Continuing Education Electronic Tracking System and reporting course completion. Licensees will be prompted, but not required, to self-report missing CE hours when they renew their license. 


In Phase 2, the mandatory phase, all required CE hours must be reported to the Continuing Education Electronic Tracking System to renew a license.  Once Phase 2 has begun, you must have reported course completion before your license can be renewed. The Department encourages licensees to login to the tracking system before applying for renewal to ensure their information is complete and accurate.  Verifying compliance before renewal is key to a seamless renewal experience.  


Please see the chart below for the Optional and Mandatory reporting cycles for your Profession:


Profession
Optional Reporting Cycle
Mandatory Reporting Cycle
Licensed Clinical Social Workers
4/1/13–3/31/15
4/1/15–3/31/17
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists
4/1/13–3/31/15
4/1/15–3/31/17
Licensed Mental Health Counselors
4/1/13–3/31/15
4/1/15–3/31/17



CE Broker is the official CE Electronic Tracking System for Florida’s healthcare professionals and the Florida Department of Health. There is no cost for you to create a basic account, although additional subscription options are available to best meet your needs. The CE Electronic Tracking System is designed to simplify CE reporting for you. This easy and convenient system will help you gain peace of mind by tracking your CE history and digitally storing your hours and certificates. After your CE hours have been reported and verified, the licensure renewal process is quick and easy.


To learn more about CE/CME@Renewal, please visit www.FLHealthSource.com.


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CHILD ABUSE REPORTING NOW ONLINE

FROM ESTHER JACOBO, INTERIM SECRETARY, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN & FAMILIES

(published in NASW-FL May/June 2014 Newsletter)


April was National Child Abuse Prevention Month, making it an effective time to reflect on the

importance of reporting potential child abuse.


In your profession, you are in a key position to observe and report potential signs of child abuse and neglect.  State law requires reporting of suspected abuse and neglect to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Abuse Hotline, and now the department has made reporting online faster and easier. Using the online system can save valuable time and still provide the department the information needed to initiate an investigation quickly. 


By the profession we have chosen, we are committed to protecting children and ensuring they have happy, healthy lives.  Reporting potential abuse and neglect saves lives.  Last year, the department investigated nearly 188,000 reports of child abuse and neglect; sadly, these were only the cases that were reported.  


If you would like further guidance about when it is appropriate to make a report, the child abuse reporting feature, at FloridaAbuseHotline.com, includes helpful resources such as definitions for reporting, laws, tips for successful reporting, frequently asked questions and more.


Any report made in good faith is important.  The child may not be in imminent danger but child protective investigators may determine the family would benefit from services to strengthen parenting skills or from mental health care.  The department’s primary goal is to protect children, but safely keeping families together whenever possible is also a priority and the department collaborates with community partners in every region of the state to provide care and services that families need to thrive.


Be vigilant if you suspect abuse.  A child may be depending on you.