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What Is a Case Manager and How to Become One

What Do Case Managers Do?

A case manager is a patient care professional who assesses and oversees a patient’s or client’s complete case. Case managers coordinate the many providers involved in a patient’s or client’s care. Depending on the particular position, this may mean coordinating social services, rehabilitation and therapy services, home healthcare, in-patient care, and more. Above all, case managers see that the needs of their patients' or clients' are understood clearly and met as best they can be.

How Do You Become a Case Manager?

There are various paths to becoming a case manager. Two of the most common are becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) or a social worker. Nurse case managers focus on ensuring the client’s health care is being provided in the best and most cost-effective way possible. Social workers in the healthcare case management field tend to focus on ensuring all other needed services are provided, such as therapy/counseling and living assistance. License and certification requirements vary by state.

What Is the Role of a Medical Case Manager?

A medical case manager’s role is to liaise with a patient, their family, and the patient’s healthcare providers. Medical case managers are not in charge of diagnosing patient illnesses. They are the coordinators that ensure that the care plan to treat them is carried out properly and that it has the desired result. This may require coordination between doctors, insurance companies, rehabilitation and home health care—whoever is involved in the patient’s care plan.

Can an Occupational Therapist Be a Case Manager?

According to The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, occupational therapists with significant work experience (at least 3-5 years) have the skills necessary and are qualified to work in case management. Case management requires the same medical knowledge that an OT would have at this stage in their career. Additionally, the therapist aspiring to become a case manager should hone their communication, team building, and problem-solving skills.

Case Manager Job Description Sample

With this Case Manager job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Case Manager role.

Job Summary

The case manager will be responsible for assigning, monitoring, and organizing cases for social work. They will be directly involved in the lives of their clients, and provide resources and assistance. Planning health services, working with social workers and doctors, and scheduling treatment or recovery is all in a day's work. The case manager must be highly organized, empathetic, compassionate, nonjudgmental, and eager to help children and vulnerable adults.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Accessing client needs, and developing strategies to help the client
  • Providing support and resources for clients; good working relationship with support networks, government resources, and community resources
  • Researching and referring client resources such as health and childcare
  • Assigning social workers to respond to crisis situations that affect children and vulnerable or mentally unstable adults
  • Evaluating and studying programs, services, and resources for quality and client needs
  • Determining the correct course of action when helping children, whether it be with a social worker, psychologist, or medical doctor
  • Creating programs and services to benefit clients and community
  • Listening and providing help and advice for children and adults
  • Caring for the well-being of clients and helping a wide range of clients, including people with serious illnesses, addictions, disabilities or who have been neglected
  • Organizing and influencing community and policymakers to develop programs, policies, and services to assist in social work
  • Advocating and raising awareness on behalf of clients and the needs of the community and local services
  • Assisting clients by providing a family social worker, clinical social worker, school social worker, or healthcare social worker

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Possesses superb written and spokencommunication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with colleagues, community leaders, policymakers and others
  • Excellent time management skills; organized and able to prioritize
  • Motivated to take on additional community involvement projects and solve problems
  • Comfortable in a fast-paced environment with multiple cases
  • Able to organize and manage large amounts of files, schedules, dates, and information
  • Self-directed and able to work without supervision
  • Comfortable with building personal relationships and dedicated to helping others
  • Empathetic and supportive with mentorship and leadership skills
  • Bachelor's degree in social work, psychology, sociology, healthcare or medical and related fields; Master's degree in social work preferred; supervised practicum or internship preferred
  • Licensed or certified by state board according to regulatory
  • Proficient computer skills, including Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel)
  • Able to work nights and weekends
  • Able to travel to meet with clients