Social workers have confidentiality privilegeWe support...


April 06, 1996

Social workers have confidentiality privilege

We support your March 11 editorial, in which you agree that confidentiality is crucial to psychotherapy and that the Supreme Court should extend the psychotherapist-patient privilege, which psychiatrists and psychologists enjoy, to social workers, as most states do.

We do, however, wish to correct your statement: "In many cases, employers will pay for workers to see a counselor or social worker, but not a higher priced psychotherapist."

Clinical social workers are qualified psychotherapists, under the Maryland Social Workers Act.

The profession of social work is legally regulated in nearly all states. The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes clinical social work as one of the core mental health professions, along with psychiatry, psychology and psychiatric nursing. Clinical social workers provide the majority of mental health services across the nation as well as in the state's outpatient mental health clinics.

Clinical social workers are included as autonomous mental health providers and are eligible for reimbursement under federal insurance programs.

While it is true that clinical social workers are often paid less than psychologists and psychiatrists for the provision of similar therapeutic services under the Medicare reimbursement system

and by insurance companies, this is an issue that the National Association of Social Workers continues to address as an organization dedicated to the interest and improvement of the social work profession.

Meg McKeon


The writer is president of the National Association of Social Workers, Maryland Chapter.

Schmoke's lurch right is wrong

It is a measure of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's increasing desperation about our city schools that he would fall for the kind of intellectual claptrap proferred by the Cato Institute's David Boaz, who likened America's problem-plagued schools to the former Soviet Union's planned economy as a way to justify a "free market" approach to school reform (The Sun, March 11).

Mr. Boaz's argument is flawed in both form and content.

Its form is flawed because to compare one nation's schools with another nation's economy is like comparing apples and oranges; they are different entities.

Its content is flawed because even if the proper comparison were made between U.S. and Soviet schools, the Soviet system won.

One of the great ironies of the Cold War was that even though East European economies were dismal failures, their school systems were actually quite good.

Which only goes to prove that free market principles are not equally valid for all problems. They work exceedingly well when it comes to maximizing efficiency on auto assembly lines, but less so when it comes to problems like medicine, as our inequitable and costly health care system readily attests.

The same is true for education. Indeed, it may be taken as axiomatic that the more human purposes are mixed with technological ones, the less well are free market principles likely to work.

This is a lesson our troubled mayor would do well to learn. For while his lurch to the right may be explainable in terms of politics, it is disastrous for public education.

Howard Bluth


Praise for staff at Patterson post office

During times when Baltimore's postal service is being questioned, the postal service staff at Patterson Station in East Baltimore should be commended for its outstanding service. I have watched the Patterson Station staff deal with irate customers, customers with language barriers and large crowds. They always accord the same degree of respect, courtesy and friendliness to everyone.

The staff's high quality of service and commitment is best illustrated by a wall behind the service desk covered with postcards from customers who, while out of town, have taken the time to remember its employees.

The staff is friendly, seems to enjoy public service and is one of the many things that are right about the quality of life in Baltimore's neighborhoods.

Shari T. Wilson


Brownless Baltimore is for the Birds

Some 42 years ago, a major league baseball franchise called the Browns relocated in our city and became the Orioles.

In 1995, a major league football franchise -- also the Browns -- did likewise and became the Ravens.

So, ornithologically speaking, Baltimore is a two-bird city and, thankfully, absolutely Brownless.

There is a plus side to this coincidence, but down the road a piece, I can foresee a slight glitch. From the positive perspective, the sports fanatics of Baltimore will never again be without a fine feathered friend to root for and go mad over. Nevermore!

When Orioles fly away in October to hibernate until spring, the void will be filled by Ravens. It is extremely comforting -- at least to me -- to realize that no longer will our city be birdless for %J months at a time!

The potential problem, though, is this: Since 1954, the sports people of the local media fell into the custom of attaching a sub-sobriquet to the Orioles, ''the Birds.''

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