Testimony on H.B. 6449: An Act Expanding Economic Opportunities in Occupations Licensed by the Department of Public Health

Public Health Committee

March 2, 2021

Submitted By: Stephen Wanczyk-Karp, LMSW

The National Association of Social Workers, CT Chapter representing over 2,300 members supports H.B. 6449. This is a idea that is long overdue and much needed to encourage licensed health professionals to move to Connecticut.

As the state’s largest social work organization, we commonly deal with social workers considering relocating to CT or having relocated to our state. While some are recent graduates, most are experienced practitioners, many with multiple years or decades of licensure in another state. These individuals find themselves having to document clinical experience hours and supervision in order to become licensed and thus eligible to practice in Connecticut. For some of these applicants, especially those in private practice, locating former employers and supervisors can be challenging and sometimes not possible. Yet, all of these individuals, by fact that they are licensed in another jurisdiction, had documented supervision and experience in order to attain an out-of-state license. We see no reason that CT cannot accept these applicants simply by virtue of their license in another jurisdiction.

To be a licensed social worker in CT one must graduate from a MSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The CSWE has strict core curriculum requirements so that regardless of what school you received the MSW degree from you have met standardized curriculum. Social workers than must take a licensure exam of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Every state uses the same set of ASWB exams, so regardless of which state you sat for the exam, it is the same exam that CT recognizes. Finally, every state has experiential and supervisory requirements for licensure that are similar to or greater than CT’s requirements. Based on these facts, we urge that DPH offers reciprocity to out-of-state social work license holders.

There is a growing movement in the social work profession toward compacts between states and reciprocity amongst states in terms of social work licensure. H.B. 6449 will ease the transition for those seeking to work in our state and send a message that CT welcomes these licensed professionals.

The Governor’s executive order on licensed health professionals allows for out-of-state licensed practitioners to treat CT residents without first attaining the CT license, for the Governor Lamont’s executive order on the practice by out of state licensed health care practitioners allows such practitioners to treat CT residents without attaining a CT license for the duration of the pandemic emergency state. Clearly, this has set precedence for recognition of the out-of-state license. It seems to us that the next logical step is to offer reciprocity as provided by H.B. 6449.

NASW/CT also supports H.B. 6407 that also accomplishes reciprocity. This bill requires the licensee to have held the out-of-state license for at least 2 years, whereas H.B. 6449 requires being licensed for at least one year, which we find sufficient

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