New tools offered to help case managers

NASW, in collaboration with the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) and the National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC), has helped develop a number of professional tools that can help social workers who work in case management.

"NASW is continuing its work to provide practical information and tools for social workers who work in case management and who facilitate care transitions," explained NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman.

Caseload Work Group: NASW, CMSA, and other members of the Caseload Work Group sought comments on a final draft of its caseload matrix tool as well as a caseload concept paper. These materials will be used as a foundation for developing a calculator to determine appropriate caseload sizes and case mixes for case managers working in health, behavioral health, and workers' compensation settings.

The most recent draft of the matrix had been updated following input that had been gathered from the first posting of the document in August 2007. The recent draft incorporated input from social workers, nurses, other health care professionals, administrators and planners, as well as labor and consumer advocates.

The matrix is designed to incorporate systemic elements that affect case loads, including regulatory and legislative requirements, insurance, practice settings, and technology support. It also addresses clinical and psychosocial factors, interventions, and immediate and long-term outcomes.

An accompanying caseload concept paper was also posted for comment. The paper provides more details on the matrix, presents research about elements incorporated into the matrix, provides support for the need for a caseload calculator, and documents recommendations from the Caseload Work Group.

NTOCC tools. NASW and CMSA are also part of the National Transitions of Care Coalition, which has produced a number of tools for health and behavioral health professionals.

NASW and CMSA worked together to write a Transitions of Care Checklist, which offers descriptions of effective client transfers between practice settings, providers, and levels of care.

The document includes overarching concepts related to transitions of care, including engagement, collaboration, and strengths-based assessments, as well as common elements for assessment and intervention. It also includes an example of an assessment and coordination of care communication checklist, and a glossary of terms.

NASW also provided substantial reviews and comments on other NTOCC tools, including the "My Medicine List," a list of recommended information about clients' medications to help clients improve their understanding about their medicine regimens; medication reconciliation essential data specifications, which help healthcare professionals collect, transmit and receive information when patients move between settings, providers, and levels of care; as well as other documents related to transitions of care.

"NASW's collaborations with CMSA and the members of NTOCC have been productive,"