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Social workers in Michigan are preparing to be part of health care changes

Social worker with elderly patient

Social workers in Michigan are starting to wear many hats as health-care reform is implemented.

The expansion of Medicaid and the establishment of the state Health Insurance Exchange is expanding health-care coverage to hundreds of thousands of Michiganders.

Robert Sheehan is the executive director of the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties.

He says all the changes healthcare are broadening the scope of social workers.

“Social workers will be taking on actually a traditional social-work role, to integrate the care that our patients, clients, consumers get, between their primary-care provider, their behavioral health-care provider, their housing provider, employment, legal systems,” says Sheehan. 

Sheehan says many social workers are becoming specialists in the health insurance and health care provider industries, as the changes take place.

He says the Michigan chapter of the National Association of Social Workers is developing training to help its members play key roles in integrated health care.

Vincent Duffy has been news director at Michigan Public since May 2007.
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