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Bill would allow social workers to provide more comp services


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 state Senate.

The Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement on Monday voted 5-0 to pass S.B. 1002, which would allow licensed clinical social workers with a master’s degree and two years of clinical experience to join medical provider networks treating injured workers.

They would not be authorized to determine disability within the workers comp system, but they would be allowed to provide some mental health services, according to the bill.

California’s workers comp 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.

S.B. 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 said.

The proposal will go to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which must pass it before the full Senate can vote on the measure.

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