In the Belly of the Beast: A Case Study of Social Work in a Managed Care Organization

  • Lisa S. Patchner
Keywords: Managed care, Medicaid, case management, HMO, health care policy


The employment of social workers within managed care organizations is a new phenomenon. As such, this case study utilized an exploratory-descriptive design that assessed social workers as case managers within a Medicaid HMO. The semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and participant observation suggested that the use of case management services, delivered primarily by social workers,was effective in addressing the bio-psychosocial needs of Medicaid consumers within a provider-driven HMO. Study findings recommend specific knowledge and skills that social workers need in order to prepare for practice within managed care environments.