Thanks in part to actions by the Joint Task Force on Stipends (JTFOS), Payments for Placement (P4P), other schools of social work in Michigan, and NASW-Michigan, we have encouraging news of legislative action happening in East Lansing and Washington, D.C.
In the Michigan legislature, Senate Bill 1012, which calls for the creation of a new Student Mental Health Apprenticeship Retention and Training (SMART) program, has passed the senate. The SMART program would provide state funds for field education stipends for students placed in public school settings providing the students agree to a term of service in public schools after graduation. This legislation has gone to the house, where it has been referred to the Committee on Health Policy.
In addition, the state legislature is considering budget amendments (Sections 1996 - 2000) that would increase and enhance the behavioral health workforce in Michigan. These crucial investments would bring hundreds of new professionals into communities across Michigan over the next three years through investing in students, training and research.
In Washington, new legislation to increase Medicare reimbursement rates for clinical social workers has been introduced in both chambers of Congress. The Improving Access to Mental Health Act is part of a comprehensive mental health reform legislative package and was introduced by Senator (and MSW) Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY).
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106