Magazine article USA TODAY

Case Managers Assuming Key Roles

Magazine article USA TODAY

Case Managers Assuming Key Roles

Article excerpt

"Case manager," one of the newest phenomena in the health care industry, also is a valid, cost-effective, and up-and-coming specialty whose importance will increase in the wake of health care reform, maintains Deborah Booton-Hiser, director of the Nurse Practitioner Program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The term describes a person--usually a nurse or a social worker--who acts as a go-between for the patient and various services.

"Case managers may make health assessments, but they also have to know the resources available to their immediate community and to the various health care and other institutions. This person must be capable of working with a variety of professionals, because that's what is best for the client," she explains.

As an example, a case manager with a nursing background may assess the condition of a patient recently released from the hospital, then assume responsibility for finding high-quality, cost-effective therapy for that individual plus coordinate details such as home-delivered meals, transportation, and counseling for family members. Case managers also may be hired by insurers to help streamline services. …

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