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Committee Passes Bill Allowing Addition of Social Workers to MPNs

By Greg Jones (Senior Editor)

Thursday, April 7, 2022 | 0

Medical provider networks in California could include licensed clinical social workers providing some services that normally would fall under the scope of practice of psychologists and psychiatrists, under a bill moving through the Senate.

Sen. Anthony Portantino

Sen. Anthony Portantino

The Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement on Monday voted 5-0 to pass SB 1002, by Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge.

The bill would allow licensed clinical social workers with a master’s degree and two years of clinical experience to join an MPN. They would not be authorized to determine disability within the work comp system, but they would be allowed to provide some mental health services.

California’s workers’ compensation system is growing to provide more mental health care, and the COVID-19 pandemic could exacerbate the situation, according to an analysis of the bill.

“SB 1002 could augment the capacity of the workers’ compensation system to handle this increase by allowing (clinical social workers) to handle high-volume care such as intake, referrals and early screening within their normal scope of practice,” the analysis reads.

SB 1002 will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which must pass it before the full Senate can vote on the measure.

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