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COVID-19

Statements from Dr. Jay Miller are shown below by date, newest to oldest.

Greetings All!

I hope this message finds you well!

I want to provide an update from the KY Board of Social Work. We have been aggressively working to provide some regulatory relief for licensees related to the current pandemic.

Pursuant to 61.823, specifically section five (5), I called an emergency meeting on 3.19.20 at 11:30 AM.

As some of you may know, the Governor released an Executive Order 2020-243 yesterday entitled State of Emergency Relating to Social Distancing. In response, we promulgated a memo and that memo has been signed by myself and J. Michael Brown, Secretary of the Executive Cabinet.

Attached you will find the memo. A summation is below:

1. All deadlines related to the review of applications for completion or acceptance shall be suspended until the state of emergency is lifted.

2. Expiration dates of all currently held licenses under these sections shall be suspended until the state of emergency is lifted.

3. Until the state of emergency is lifted, and in order to meet the mandates of social distancing, “treating clinical social worker” for purposes of providing telehealth services under the provisions of this statute, shall include CSWs that are under board-approved supervision of an LCSW. This expanded definition will only apply until the state of emergency is lifted.

NOTE: Please note that practitioners MUST ensure that they have the requisite skill to engage in telehealth.

4. The requirement that supervision occur face-to-face is suspended. Supervision, as required by the administrative regulation, may occur electronically as defined in 201 KAR 23:070 Section 1(2). This expanded definition will only apply until the state of emergency is lifted.

5. The 240-day limit of temporary permits is suspended until the state of emergency is lifted.

6. The requirement that the three-hour training course on supervisory practice required for LCSW supervisors during each licensure period is suspended in that the deadline to complete such a course is suspended until the state of emergency is lifted. The requirement that the course be in person is also suspended until the state of emergency is lifted and the course may occur through electronic media or technology, including distance learning or teleconference courses, as long as the content remains the same as the previously approved training course, until the state of emergency is lifted.

7. The requirement that a CSW be engaging in direct client care while engaging in supervision is suspended until the state of emergency is lifted. CSWs will be allowed to receive supervision whether or not seeing clients directly during the state of emergency.

8. The requirement that electronic supervision be limited to 50% of all supervision hours, and only occur after the first 25 hours of supervision, is suspended until the state of emergency is lifted. Any excess electronic supervision hours acquired during the state of emergency will not be counted toward the restriction of electronic hours.

9. Deadlines for obtaining continuing education course credits are hereby suspended until the state of emergency is lifted.

10. Any continuing education course approved to occur in-person may occur using electronic media or technology, including distance learning, online or teleconference courses, so long as the content remains the same as previously approved.

11. Any deadlines for the approval or renewal of continuing education programs due from providers and sponsors are suspended until the state of emergency is lifted.

12. Any deadlines related to the scheduling of hearings before the board are suspended until the state of emergency is lifted.

YOU CAN NOW MOVE FORWARD WITH THE PROVISIONS, AS SET FORTH ABOVE.

Please know that we, as a Board, certainly want to ensure that licensees have the flexibility to provide adept practice to clients. As well, we have a mandate to ensure PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC. We hope that these provisions are helpful.

The work that you are doing is extremely important. Go forth, provide great services, and remember: SOCIAL WORK WAS BUILT FOR THIS! If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let me know.

Jay Miller, PhD
Chair, KY Board of Social Work

Greetings Colleagues:

I hope this message finds you WELL!

Pursuant to 61.823, specifically section five (5), on March 16, 2020, at 3:15 p.m., I called an emergency meeting of the Kentucky Board of Social Work (hereafter referred to as the "Board"). The purpose of that meeting was to examine aspects of regulatory relief associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pursuant to the same statute, on March 17 at 11:30 a.m., I called an emergency meeting to discuss social work practice provisions associated with telehealth.

Based on these meetings, and by approval of the Board, I have instructed the Executive Director to file several emergency regulations. Pursuant to KRS 13A.190(10), these regulations have been sent to the Governor's office for review and signature. Once the Governor signs the regulations, they will be filed with LRC.

Please note that the narrative below SUMMARIZES the PROPOSED changes. These changes are NOT in effect at this time. Any action taken based on the proposed changes will be subject to disciplinary action. In other words, DO NOT DO ANYTHING EXPLICATED BELOW UNTIL YOU RECEIVE AN EMAIL FROM ME THAT THESE CHANGES HAVE BEEN APPROVED.

1. PROPOSED: During the state of emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order 2020-13 215, the Board shall continue to review all applications within thirty (30) days of receipt for completeness. The Board shall review all complete applications to issue licenses within forty-five (45) days of the end of the state of emergency.

In other words, applications will go through an initial review with 30 days and review complete license applications within 45 days.

2. PROPOSED: During the state of emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order 2020-215, clinical social work supervision shall be allowed to occur ELECTRONICALLY as defined by 201 KAR 23:070 20 Section 1. Any excess electronic supervision that occurs during the time of this emergency regulation shall not be deemed a violation of 201 KAR 23:070 Section 8(2)(b).

In other words, you can provide clinical supervision via an approved clinical supervision contract, electronically, as long as you can SEE and HEAR one another (think Facetime, Zoom, Skype, etc.).

3. PROPOSED: During the state of emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order 2020-215, supervision of a licensure candidate who holds a temporary permit issued pursuant to 201 2 KAR 23:015(1)(6) may occur electronically as defined by 201 KAR 23:070 Section 1(2) and Section 3 8(2)(b) and (e).

In other words, people with a temporary permit can also receive supervision electronically, as long as you can SEE and HEAR one another (think Facetime, Zoom, Skype, etc.).

4. PROPOSED: During the state of emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order 2020-215, Board-approved supervision courses, as required by 201 KAR 23:070 Section 4(1)(c)2 and 201 KAR 23:075 Section 2(5), on supervisory practices and methods for licensed clinical social workers, may be delivered through electronic media or technology including distance learning or teleconference courses, as long as the content remains the same as the previously approved live course.

In other words, you can attend the clinical supervision training via virtual/online means.

5. PROPOSED: During the state of emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order 2020-15, continuing education that has previously been Board-approved under 201 KAR 23:075 Section 4 to occur live and in person, may be delivered through electronic media or technology including distance learning or teleconference courses, as long as the content remains the same as the previously approved live and in-person course. Providers must submit a statement to the Board within three (3) days of the scheduled completion of any such course stating the method through which the course will occur and affirming that all content that was previously approved by the Board will remain the same and will continue to be covered by the course by electronic means.

In other words, ALL CEs can be obtained via virtual/electronic mechanisms.

6. PROPOSED: A social worker holding a license pursuant to KRS 335.080, 335.090 or 335.100, whose license will expire during the state of emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order 2020-215, may apply for an extension of their current license to conclude thirty (30) days after the end of the current state of emergency. Said extension request must be submitted, in writing, to the Board either by mail, or to KBSWinfo@ky.gov, and shall include a statement regarding the specific reason for the request.

In other words, if your license is set to expire within the timeframe of the state of emergency, you can apply for an extension.

In addition, we have PROPOSED an administrative regulation that would permit CSWs, under an approved supervision contract, to practice telehealth. As a clarification, telehealth is governed by a statute. The current statute is not simply a Board rule, policy, or edict. Nor are there provisions that can be "waived." Rather, we promulgated, and have proposed, a new regulation that would last through the end of the state of emergency.

AT PRESENT, PER KRS, CSWs ARE NOT ABLE TO PROVIDE TELEHEALTH SERVICES. ONLY LCSWs CAN PROVIDE THAT SERVICE.

As a word of caution, please note that telehealth is a unique domain of social work practice. You must ensure that you have the appropriate infrastructure to include HIPPA compliance associated with telemedicine. As with any area of social work practice, only individuals who have been properly trained in telehealth practices should engage in telehealth.

Please know that the Board has been working extremely hard to ensure that we provide support to licensees AND protect the public. We certainly recognize that this is a difficult time for many. We also know that social workers do, and will continue, to play an integral part in dealing with the broader societal consequences associated with this pandemic. As always, we will continue to explore innovative ways to support our practitioners.

Just a reminder – THE CHANGES ABOVE HAVE BEEN PROPOSED. DO NOT ACT ON THEM UNTIL YOU RECEIVE ANOTHER EMAIL FROM ME.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or celebrations.

Be WELL!
Jay Miller, PhD
Chair, KY Board of Social Work

Greetings Colleagues:

I hope this message finds you WELL.

I am writing this message on behalf of the Kentucky Board of Social Work.

For context, we are dealing with an unprecedented global pandemic. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we live. That said, it is understandable that there are growing concerns and questions about how to provide adept social work services during such a unique time.

Fortunate for Kentuckians, social workers stand ready to answer the call.

In terms of treatment - For our licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) in Kentucky, the use of telehealth is permitted! Our social work statute on using telehealth, KRS 335.158, dictates that a treating clinical social worker who provides or facilitates telehealth must ensure that they: (1) Obtain informed consent before services are provided through telehealth; and (2) Maintain confidentiality, which includes (at a minimum) appropriate processes, practices and technology that conforms to federal law.

Per Section 3 of this statute, "telehealth" refers to the use of interactive audio, video, or other electronic media to deliver health care. It includes the use of electronic media for diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of health or medical data, and continuing education.

For information about telehealth coverage and reimbursement, review KRS 304.17A-138.

For information about telehealth, visit Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center.

In terms of clinical supervision - Clinical social work supervision is governed by 201 KAR 23:070. Section 8 permits the use “electronic supervision” and is limited to two hours of supervision per month, and only after the first 25 hours of individual supervision has been obtained in the traditional face-to-face method.

Please rest assured that your Board of Social Work will carefully monitor this ever-evolving situation. At this time, we are reviewing the potential of submitting emergency protocols to offer regulatory relief related to licensing processes. We will communicate that info as it becomes available.

Lastly, I want to remind you that we are SOCIAL WORKERS. When people panic, we remain steady. When people are lost, we plot a path forward. When people are stymied by a situation, we assess and take competent, decisive action. We recognize that these types of situations are BIGGER than any one of us. That’s just what we do.

I find solace in the fact that Kentucky has some of most skilled social work practitioners in the country. Veritably, social workers will play an instrumental role in helping to assuage and address this pandemic. The Board of Social Work is steadfastly committed to supporting those efforts.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or celebrations, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Be safe. Be well.

Jay Miller, PhD
@DrJayMiller1
Chair, KY Board of Social Work

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KY Board of Social Work
125 Holmes Street, Suite 310
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-2350 - Office
(502) 696-8030 - Fax