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Calif. governor signs bill adding social workers to provider networks

social workers

California workers compensation insurers and self-insured employers can add licensed clinical social workers to their medical provider networks, under a bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday.

S.B. 1002 authorizes “qualified licensed clinical social workers to assess, evaluate and treat the behavioral and mental health needs of injured workers within the workers compensation system, thereby providing additional and readily available resources to injured employees who need mental health services.”

The bill allows licensed clinical social workers to join MPNs, workers compensation health care organizations and joint powers authority provider listings. Social workers must have earned a master’s degree or equivalent and either logged two years of clinical experience or satisfied the standards of the Association of Social Work Boards to be eligible to join a provider network.

Social workers are not authorized to determine disability, and they can only treat or evaluate an injured worker with a physician referral.

S.B. 1002 also amends Labor Code Section 4600(a) to add “licensed clinical social worker” to the list of medical services that must be provided when reasonably required to cure or relieve a worker from the effects of an industrial injury.

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication of Business Insurance. More stories here.