Clinical Social Work:

State Laws Governing Independent Practice and Reimbursement of Services

HRD-86-55FS: Published: Feb 21, 1986. Publicly Released: Feb 21, 1986.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on state laws and regulations governing clinical social workers who are not employed by physicians, clinics, or hospitals. GAO attempted to determine whether each state: (1) had established any control over social workers; (2) recognized independent social workers as health care providers for insurance reimbursement purposes; and (3) recognized independent social workers as alternative mental health care providers for Medicaid reimbursement purposes.

GAO found that: (1) 19 states require licenses for independent social workers; (2) 12 states have established licensing procedures for independent social workers but do not require them to hold licenses to practice; (3) 12 states have established criteria for independent social workers as alternative providers of reimbursable mental health care services for insurance purposes; and (4) no state has recognized independent social workers as alternative providers for Medicaid reimbursement.

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