COVID-19 AND PRIVATE PRACTICE OFFICE SPACES
On March 24, 2020, the Chief Medical Officer of Health ordered the closing of all private health clinics, with the exception of physician and nurse practitioner clinics. This included social work private practices. With the move to Alert Level 3 on June 8, 2020, private health care clinics, including social work private practices, can reopen in accordance with government guidelines.
While continuing with virtual care is still advisable where possible, social workers in private practice may be considering the physical re-opening of their office spaces. NLASW has developed a document which outlines considerations that may be helpful in planning to adjust workplaces to a ‘new normal’. The document can be accessed by clicking here.
Private practice is defined as:
The provision of social work services, on a full time or part time basis, by a registered social worker who is self-employed, a member of a partnership/group practice, or independent contractor. Social workers in private practice are autonomous and responsible for the quality of social work services and ensuring compliance with the legislation, code of ethics and standards of practice. Services in private practice are provided on a fee for service model that is mutually agreed to by a client or third party (i.e., insurance company, employee assistance program, organization) or as set out in a contract.
Registered social workers in Newfoundland and Labrador are employed in diverse fields of practice and private practice continues to expand with social workers involved in a broad range of activities including, individual, couple, family and group therapy; assessments, education, facilitation and consultation, and responding to critical incidents and emergencies.
Social workers engaging in private practice must maintain active registration with NLASW and professional liability insurance. Special professional liability insurance rates are available through the Canadian Association of Social Workers.
NLASW also offers a voluntary roster for private practitioners. The voluntary roster is intended to increase public protection while promoting the private practice of social workers who meet the criteria of NLASW’s Private Practice Policy.
Private Practice Roster
The roster is available for individuals wishing to engage the services of a social worker. Social workers listed here are registered with NLASW and meet the criteria for registration as a private practitioner.
Resource Guide for Private Practice
Private practice is a professional and business venture. As entrepreneurs, social workers in private practice need to consider all of the business aspects of running an independent practice that would normally be handled by an employer (i.e., accounting practices, tax remittances, rental agreements, insurance, record storage and security, fee schedules, administrative tasks, etc.).
Social workers considering private practice are encouraged to develop a business plan, implement accounting practices, seek clarification regarding HST exempt services from the Canada Revenue Agency, and obtain insurance and legal consultation as appropriate.
NLASW’s Private Practice Resource Guide (updated April 2020) identifies some of the ethical and professional practice considerations for social workers engaged in private practice.