The National Association of Social Workers has put out a call for social workers to inform themselves about a unique social work position, Behavioral Health Care Manager, and advocate for social workers to be included in the language and official job requisites for this title and funding eligibility.
What is a Behavioral Health Care Manager?
The description for the Behavioral Health Care Manager (BHCM) is clinical staff with formal education or specialized training in behavioral health (which could include a range of disciplines, for example, social work, nursing, and psychology).
The NASW urges that “this is an opportunity for social workers to advocate for Medicare beneficiaries to receive quality care from social workers, one of the largest and only group of mental health providers in the United States who treat behavioral and precipitating environmental factors impacting the lives of Medicare beneficiaries and others.”
Anticipated Salary for Behavioral Health Care Managers
Anticipated salaries for this position and its like differs by state and agency and is influenced by level of education and experience of the social worker. As such, they can range from $30,000-$60,000/year, at the MSW level, with the national average for all Behavioral Health Care Managers at $52,000 annually.
Three Characteristics of the Behavioral Health Care Manager:
- It is a collaborative, comprehensive treatment role. BHCMs play a specialized part in a team-based approach to care, working alongside physicians, nurses, psychiatric providers, and other medical staff to ensure more continuity of care to clients. Social workers who are BHCMs can expect to be overseen by the treating physician or psychiatrist.
- Expectations include: performing assessment of needs, including the administration of validated rating scales, the development of a care plan, provision of brief interventions, ongoing collaboration with the treating physician or other qualified health care professional, maintenance of a registry, all in consultation with a psychiatric consultant.
- The services proposed to be covered by the bill are all included in the clinincal social work acumen: psychiatric evaluation, psychotherapy, crisis intervention, family psychotherapy, multiple family group psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling, and alcohol or substance abuse structured screening and brief intervention services. By this, social workers are especially fit for the BHCM role.
What Can a Behavioral Health Care Manager Do?
- Provide Care Management. The behavioral health care manager under this model of care is a member of the treating physician or other qualified health care professional’s clinical staff with formal education or specialized training in behavioral health (which could include a range of disciplines, for example, social work, nursing, and psychology) provides care management services.
- Bill Medicare. Social workers who are BHCMs are eligible to bill Medicare for furnishing services to Medicare beneficiaries.
- Participate in Continuity of Care. Patients who are appropriate candidates to participate in the continuity of care model are considered an especially vulnerable population. They may have newly diagnosed conditions, need help in engaging in treatment, have not responded to standard care delivered in a non-psychiatric setting, or require further assessment and engagement prior to consideration of referral to a psychiatric care setting. Social workers are especially called and equipped to service these more vulnerable and at-risk populations.
To read the policy, go to: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-07-15/pdf/2016-16097.pdf. Pages 46203 thru 46205 relate to the Behavioral Health Care Manager role, and duties of the position are outlined on page 46204.
To add your voice to social work advocacy on this policy, go to http://www.regulations.gov/.
Follow the instructions for “submitting a comment.” Refer to file code CMS-1654-P when commenting.