ACA summit highlights new opportunities for social work

By Rena Malai, News staff

NASW members made up more than half of the attendees at the Social Work and Affordable Care Act Summit, held Feb. 7 in Chicago.

NASW members and staff vote on the suggestions for improving social work teaching, research and advocacy related to health care reform during a recent social work and ACA summit in Chicago. From left: Heidi Allen, assistant professor of social work at Columbia University, N.Y.; Stacy Collins, NASW senior practice associate; June Simmons, CEO of Partners in Care Foundation in Los Angeles; and Barbara Jones, associate professor and co-director of the Institute for Grief, Loss, and Family Survival in the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin.

NASW CEO Angelo McClain and NASW Senior Practice Associate Stacy Collins represented the association at the event.

The invitational conference, which highlighted how the ACA is opening up opportunities for social workers, brought together about 50 people from the social work field, including practitioners, academics, federal staff, and association representatives. Thirty-three of the attendees were NASW members.

“The significance of this,” Collins said, “is that it demonstrates NASW members’ commitment to the most important health care issue of our time — full implementation of the ACA.”

McClain said the conference provided “a great opportunity to assemble a group of national social work Affordable Care Act experts in one setting to discuss the implications of the ACA for social work research, policy advocacy, interdisciplinary practice, and education and training.”

Collins served on the summit’s advisory committee, and said the invitees have been actively speaking about the ACA, or publishing topics related to it — either in an academic or practice setting.

“This conference crystalized the broad range of roles social workers have under the ACA,” Collins said. “The law benefits millions of social work clients who are uninsured or underinsured and it allows our profession to expand into many jobs for which we have the skills and training.”

From the April 2014 NASW News. NASW members can read the full story after logging in.

One comment

  1. The ACA has been an impetus toward changing how we deliver health and mental health care in the U.S. The old “fee for service” model rewards failures in healthcare and is a financial black hole.

    Social Workers are extremely well-trained to drive a change in health care delivery to focus on Population Health, breaking down the old silos of locus and/or specialty buildings. “Inpatient”, “outpatient”, home care, community-based care partnerships…who better than Social Workers to lead these initiatives?

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