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Action Alert: Medicaid Expansion

17 Oct

Social Workers: Please join thousands of Ohioans to ask legislative leaders and Controlling Board members to make Ohioans more competitive, create good jobs, and make Ohio’s economy stronger by approving funding for Medicaid expansion.

There is a lot of pressure from a small, but vocal opposition, so we need you to act now!

Call legislative leaders and Controlling Board members using the call script below.

  • Senate President Keith Faber (614) 466-7584
  • Speaker of the House Bill Batchelder (614) 466-8140
  • Sen. Tom Sawyer (614) 466-7041
  • Sen. Bill Coley (614) 466-8072
  • Rep. Ron Amstutz (614) 466-1474
  • Sen. Pro Tempore Chris Widener (614) 466-3780
  • Rep. Chris Redfern (614) 644-6011
  • Rep. Cliff Rosenberger (614) 466-3506

Call Script: I support the expansion of Medicaid coverage because it will create 30,000 new jobs, and it will help Ohioans become more competitive and live better lives. Please approve funding for Medicaid expansion at the Ohio Controlling Board meeting on Monday. I believe the time to act is now. I thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration and again urge a “Yes” vote on Monday.

For more information about the Medicaid Expansion and current advocacy efforts, please visit the NASW Ohio Chapter web page here.

Action Alert: Medicaid Expansion

The Time for Drug Reform in Ohio is Now

2 Aug

DanielleBy Danielle Smith, MSW, MA, LSW

NASW Ohio Chapter Services Coordinator

The following information is from the Drug Policy Alliance. 

In the 1970s, Ohio decriminalized marijuana for personal use and became the most permissive state in the country. However, since then Ohio has taken no steps toward drug reform and in fact ranks 35th in the nation in treatment spending and has terrible racial disparities in its prison system. There were more African-Americans in prison in 2005 in Ohio than in Ohio colleges and universities (23,200 to 20,074).

In November of 2002, voters defeated an initiative, Issue One, that would have provided Proposition 36-style treatment instead of incarceration for first- and second-time drug offenders. Issue One would have saved Ohioans $20 million dollars per year and would have pulled Ohio from the basement of a backwards drug policy that saw a 211% increase in corrections spending from 1985 to 2000.

Slight progress has been made in providing treatment to drug offenders with the state’s Second Chance to Change 90-day treatment program for prisoners, but Ohio is still in desperate need of drug reform to address drug abuse as a public health rather than criminal justice issue, mitigate the racial disparities in prison, and close the state’s budget gap.

With the budget gap looming at $8 billion now is the time to address our state’s failed drug policies. For more information visit

Healthcare for those without

28 Jul

By Cindy Webb, MSSA, LISW-S

NASW Ohio Chapter Executive Director

As I am struggling to find affordable health insurance for staff in our small office it leads me to ponder the thousands among us who are without basic health services.

Several years ago a man from Cleveland, Zac Ponsky, struggled with the fact that he lived in a city of world class health facilities yet there were Ohioans who had no access to health services. This led him to create MedWorks, a non-profit organization committed to improving access to healthcare for Ohio’s uninsured and underinsured.

MedWorks has provided free medical, dental, and eye care services to thousands of people. The MedWorks events have been made possible through donations and countless volunteer hours of professionals and lay members of the community. Social workers have been at the forefront of this effort, volunteering countless hours to meet the challenging needs of patients coming from Ohio and nearby states.

I especially wish to thank the social workers that came to help this past May, some working the whole event from 6:30 am on Saturday morning to 6:00 pm Sunday evening. Social workers traveled from Cincinnati, Toledo, Columbus, Strasburg, and Youngstown to work with social workers from the Cleveland area. I was proud to be part of this team that offered to provide whatever assistance was needed to help the long lines of people seeking care.

The event have raised my awareness of just how close I am to being the one in line instead of the one assisting the line. I spoke with many individuals with masters degrees, one a social worker, who lost her job and with it her insurance. Beside those who had recently lost health insurance were many who had never had insurance, one man stating it had been 30 years since he had seen a doctor.

So why do I tell you this? MedWorks is seeking donations. Zac Ponsky is opening his home to a Backyard MedWorks event. Join me at the event or send a few dollars to support MedWorks through their website


Who is Fred?

Fred doesn’t have health insurance

Fred has a full time job, bu still can’t afford health insurance.

Fred has health insurance, but can’t afford his deductible.

Fred can afford his deductible, but can’t afford his copay.

We all know Fred……… let’s help him out!



$30 entry fee / $50 per couple

Cheap food / Cheap drinks / Cheap games ** Bring Lots O’ Cash!!! **

Free Fun & Music for a great cause!


Host: MedWorks

Location: Ponsky Backyard – 37200 Fairmount Blvd. Hunting Valley, OH 44022

When: Saturday, August 7, 7:00PM Add to my Outlook Calendar

Please RSVP to

To volunteer or make a donation, please visit

More Info/Questions: Contact Julie 216.231.5350 or

MedWorks is a non-profit organization committed to improving access to healthcare for Ohio’s uninsured and underinsured. MedWorks provides an innovative vehicle through which healthcare providers, corporate sponsors and other volunteers can provide free healthcare, education and other services.

Start Your Advocacy Engines!

7 Jul

DanielleBy: Danielle Smith, MSW, MA, LSW

NASW Ohio Chapter Services Coordinator

Step Forward;  Build Power;  Today, Tomorrow, Together!  These are the words that were yelled every morning at the Children’s Defense Fund YALT Training last year to get us excited for a day of leadership and advocacy training.   All of the participants would yell each of the words as loudly as they could to ignite their feelings of passion for advocacy for children’s issues.  Well, today, I want you to yell these words because its time for you to prepare to take action to protect Ohio’s most vulnerable populations. 

I went to the Ohio Budget Planning and Management Commission meeting today and was reminded for the umpteenth time that the State of Ohio is facing an unprecedented crisis next year when it is time to lay out the budget and close the gap.  I’m sure it is not a surprise to any of you that estimates of the gap between expenditures and revenue are around $8 billion dollars.  Everyone who provides social services or supports those who do are nervously awaiting January when the formal process begins to decide what will be cut and what will be saved.  During the FY10 budget many social workers weathered huge cuts to funding and many lost their jobs.  The blunt truth is that the FY12 budget is going to be worse. 

It is going to be bad but we do not have to take this laying down.  We can Step Forward and Build Power.  At the commission meeting today, a presentation was given on what other states (who operate on a different budget cycle) have done to close their budget gap for FY11.  The list was long, interesting, and sometimes scary.  (For instance, the state of Kentucky completely eliminated their drug courts!)  However, there were many viable solutions that would have little to no affect on our state’s vulnerable populations.    There were also many solutions presented that could even have positive effects such as revising sentencing lengths for non-violent offenses.  What we need to do as social workers is advocate for solutions that will do no further harm to the clients and communities that we serve and suggest alternative solutions that will close the budget gap with less of an impact.  Legislators need to hear our input on how cuts will hurt us as providers and the clients that we serve.  We need to gather information on the performance of our services now to prepare for next year because it may come down to all agencies demonstrating their effectiveness in order to receive funding.  We need to gather information now on our impact as social workers and when cuts are proposed we need to gather information on how that impact will cost us in the future.

NASW Ohio Chapter will be here to advocate for you but the power of the association comes from the power of its members.  We need every single member and social worker in the State to take action.  Please comment here or e-mail me at with your feedback.

The budget cycle begins in January.  Let’s get ready.

Social Workers and Political Action

2 Jul

By Cindy Webb, MSSA, LISW-S    

Executive Director    

The membership survey is helping us understand your expectations and needs of NASW. So if you haven’t taken the survey, please do so by clicking here. This is our way to gain an understanding of what we are doing that is helpful and not so helpful. It is also a way for us to clear up any miscommunication or misunderstandings.  With that said, from our survey, I have found some members frustrated with our political action believing that we are a partisan organization supporting only liberal democrat candidates and agendas. To some extent we do lean more towards the democrat agenda because there are several similarities with NASW policies, developed by the NASW Delegate Assembly and the democratic platform. The Delegate Assembly is the representative, decision-making body – comprised of 277 elected delegates representing our diverse membership, people like you who come together every three years since 1981 to review and vote on our policies as a profession. We, at the Chapter, utilize these policy statements, from the current Social Work Speaks (Eighth edition) to guide our advocacy efforts. Before taking a position on state legislation, the Ohio Chapter compares the proposed policies with those in Social Work Speaks to determine level of consistency with our position. In turn, we seek to support candidates that support the policies that we deem critical.   

So are we partisan? Our NASW, OH PACE is diligent to be non-partisan. The last race PACE provided support was in 2008 at which time two Republican candidates were chosen out of a total of 10.   

  Upon meeting with Rep. Matt Dolan a Republican in the 98th District, in September of 2008 we found his concerns and interests paralleled ours. The committee elected to support Rep. Dolan’s campaign with a $2,000 donation — one of only two candidates that received this level of donation (our donations generally range between $200 and $250).   

Matt Dolan

The PACE committee unanimously voted to support Republican Kevin Bacon – Representative in 21st House District who has worked tirelessly supporting issues that align with many of NASW Policy Statements. Learn more about Rep Bacon at the Ohio House Website

Representative Kevin Bacon

At this time, the PACE committee is going through the arduous process of selecting candidates to support. The list of candidates has been reduced to 100 for review with 37 of those being Republicans.   

So, what can you do? If you are interested in this process, please join the PACE committee. You can find more information about our PACE at the Ohio NASW website and email us at if you are interested in being appointed to the NASW, OH PACE committee. All appointments go through our chapter president, Rebecca Sanford. OR If you have questions, concerns or just want to chat about the process please contact Bob Littmann ( the PACE committee chair who is very interested in hearing from members.

We are a membership organization. You have a voice. Please contact us in order for us to understand your perspective on the various issues we each face through our unique lens of the world.