State will conditionally approve some providers to deal with its own backlog

In last week’s announcement from NYSED about provider approvals, there was a plea that they are overloaded up there in Albany: “due to the large number of applications and capacity issues in the Board Office, the application review process is taking longer than anticipated.” In response, NYSED has created a special status of providers: conditionally approved. This status allows a provider to deliver continuing education credits while they await the fate of their applications. The state has agreed to honor any credits for education a social worker receives while the provider is conditionally approved.

As of May 29, there was a single provider listed with that status, the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

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This new status, while probably welcomed by a few of the providers whose applications are stalled in Albany, sets up an ambiguous situation. Courses are announced weeks or months in advance and social workers register and pay weeks in advance, plan days off to participate, may even book hotel rooms and transportation. Yet, between their registering and attending—should the state deny the application—the social worker could find themselves out of pocket. Caveat emptor: check the provider’s refund policy carefully.

The state did offer to help the ambiguity somewhat by promising that “Conditionally approved entities will be identified on our website, including the date of the final determination to deny the application” [emphasis in the original]. Yet the date for conditional approval for Hunter above is actually 16 days before the posting date. So, have they approved Hunter? Or not? Apparently, like so many these days, NYSED has commitment issues.