What Does a Case Manager Actually Do?

This post discusses some of the essential functions of case mangers. These functions are pretty universal across most case management programs.

I often get into conversations with other service providers and they ask me “What do case managers actually do?” I think a better question would be "Is there anything a case manager doesn't do?" However, case managers provide three essential functions for the people they serve. These functions are providing linkage to community resources, coordinating services, and monitoring services.

Case managers provide their clients with resources that may be helpful to their overall well-being. Case managers link their clients to just about any service or resource you can think of including but not limited to:
Primary Care Physicians
Dental Services
Social Activities
Assistive Technology (Communication Devices, Glasses, Computers/Tablets, etc.)
Benefits (Medicaid, Social Security, Food Assistance)

Service coordination consists of all the activities completed in order to get the appropriate services in place. Case managers complete the following activities: 
Scheduling Meetings- Case managers schedule meetings and various meetings throughout the course of the year to address and solve problems.
Gathering information (Assessments) - Case managers complete assessments needed to determine eligibility for services and to help the client find the most appropriate services. This information then provided (with consent) to service during the referral process.

Completing referral packages- Case managers refer clients to outside private and internal providers. Case managers provide assistance with filling out applications and ensuring that the referral information is submitted and received in a timely manner.

Completing service authorizations – Case managers often provide pre-authorization for services provided to individuals with intellectual disabilities (This process may vary from state to state). Case managers review provider service plans and then forward them to the state level for approval.
Requesting funds from public and private agencies- Case managers assist with obtaining funds from outside agencies such as the (Lions Club, Free Dental Clinics, etc.).

Case managers monitor services through monthly contact with the family, service provider, or the individual receiving services. Case managers usually make face to face contact with the client at least once every 90 days. Case managers also review provider reports and service plans to ensure the quality of services. 

Monitoring services regularly ensures that the client is happy with services and that services are provided as stated on the treatment/support plan. Regular monitoring is also needed to ensure the health and safety of the client. Case managers are mandated reporters and are obligated to report any suspicion of abuse or neglect.

Also See: Case Management 101: The Basics


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Martin Gardner
Thanks for visiting Case Management Basics! Martin Gardner is the founder of CaseManagementBasics.com and Case Management Basics, LLC. Gardner is a mental health professional with over 20 years of experience in the human services field.

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