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Care Managers are key members of any Integrated Primary Care Team
No matter where your practice might be on the spectrum of integrating behavioral health and primary care, it is clear that those individuals who provide care management and coordination are the lynchpins for success. Any member of the care team can provide these important services, but having dedicated professional care managers in a Patient-Centered Medical Home is rapidly becoming the goal toward which successful practices are working.
CIPC is fortunate to be a part of a nation-wide research study on Behavioral Health Integration funded by PCORI and headed by the University of Vermont. This financial support has allowed us to completely revamp our Care Management course, which will be offered this Spring semester. Registration is now open for this online course.
Constructed of 20 online learning modules, "Integrated Care Management" is divided into 4 sections:
Who Should Enroll? Nurses, Social Workers, Medical Assistants--anyone who works or would like to work in the expanding field of Patient Care Management.
Intended Learning Outcomes: To develop general skills at engaging patients, promoting their activation to improve their own health, and general medical and behavioral health skills to be able to connect them to appropriate services, to address questions, to teach healthy living and support patient-centered treatment plans.
Background: Care management is a crucial part of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). It is the role that can change a passive health system that waits for the client/patient to be involved into an active and engaging health system. When the system is more engaging, patients are more likely to be engaged in improving their health. Care Management is central to the success of the PCMH. Care Management can be targeted at people coping with chronic illnesses that put their health and/or social functioning at risk. Chronic illnesses are sometimes defined as "physical" like diabetes, or "mental" like schizophrenia and substance abuse, but for the purposes of this definition, we will call them all "chronic illnesses". Expertise in both the care management tasks of the healthcare world and the mental health world is necessary to do the job. In practice, Care Management, the active outreach to engage patients/clients and help them use services, is particularly applicable in situations where the engagement between the person and the health system is likely to fail: transitions of care, barriers to access, poor fit between the person’s social skills or medical understanding and the level of either required to maintain health or to access care.