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.
Jay Miller, PhD
Chair, KY Board of Social Work