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Code of Ethics Spotlight: Payment for Services

payment for service nasw code of ethics Here's a quick bit of the NASW Code of Ethics that, short as it is, may show up on the exam--section 1.13, Payment for Services. Here it is, in part:

(a) When setting fees, social workers should ensure that the fees are fair, reasonable, and commensurate with the service performed. Consideration should be given to the client's ability to pay.

(b) Social workers should avoid accepting goods or services from clients...Social workers should explore and may participate in bartering only in very limited circumstances...

(c) Social workers should not solicit a private fee or other remuneration for providing services to clients who are entitled to such available services through the social workers' employer or agency.

Question writers have stuff to work with here. Be careful not to be too rigid in your thinking when faced with a payment for service exam item. For instance, a question may ask about setting private practice fees--setting a trap for social justice-minded social workers who find the idea of making a bunch of money with an MSW repugnant. But social workers are ethically permitted to set "reasonable" fees.

Other questions may test your reading of the bartering language. Again, flexibility and client care are key--don't rule out the "limited circumstances" okay'd by the code when choosing your answer.

This isn't one of the you're-sure-to-see-it exam feeding parts of the code. But worth the review nonetheless.

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