Although the Maryland Legislative session does not start until January, there have been several issues that have demanded time and attention recently.
In August, I again provided verbal testimony to the Maryland Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health (see our September newsletter for testimony provided in June of this year). I stressed, as I had previously, the need for Maryland to enact laws that will make reimbursement for telehealth services permanent. I also raised the need for jurisdictions to permanently relax regulations in order to allow practitioners to treat clients via telehealth irrespective of jurisdictional licensure. I have been very impressed with Lt. Governor Rutherford’s responsiveness to my comments, as well as his responsiveness to others who testified on a variety of mental health issues, and his command of the issues being addressed.
In response to a member’s concern expressed on our listserv about her treatment by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners upon her submission of her license renewal, I surveyed our members about experiences they have had with the BSWE. I was dismayed by the number of complaints people had about rudeness of staff, lack of responsiveness, and the incompetence they experienced. Our lobbyist is trying to arrange a meeting with the Executive Director, Dr. Stanley Weinstein, to discuss our concerns.
We have also just become aware that BSWE is proposing a bill to change some language and provisions regarding the practice of social work in Maryland. We understand that the Board plans to send a copy of the proposed changes to the current statute to all licensees, and will have meetings with stakeholders to discuss the proposed changes. Keep your eyes open for communications from the Board.
Judy Gallant, LCSW-C, is the director of the Society’s Legislation & Advocacy program, as well as chair of the Maryland Clinical Social Work Coalition, our GWSCSW legislative committee in Maryland. She maintains a private practice in Silver Spring.
Pamela Metz Kasemeyer, JD, and her firm of Schwartz, Metz & Wise, PA, represent us in Annapolis and guide our advocacy strategy. Ms. Kasemeyer is an acknowledged authority on Maryland’s health care and environmental laws and has represented a variety of interests before the Maryland General Assembly and regulatory agencies for more than 25 years.
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