The American health care system is in the midst of unprecedented changes under the name of “managed care,” including preauthorizations for care, cost and outcome accountability, formulary regulations and restrictions, and corporation of multi-professional collaboration. How to prepare practitioners for new responsibilities in such a time of exponential change while preserving professional values and priorities is the rightful concern of mental health educators. This paper identifies and examines some fundamental professional skills as essential criteria for assessing the preparation of social work professionals for the new mental health care environment. They are (1) communication skills, (2) cultural competency, and (3) state-of-the-art treatment. The paper also discusses the manner in which rapid scientific advance, managed-care environments, and changing patterns of practice might test, extend and alter traditional pillars of professional competence. Finally, it is stressed that social work education should prepare professionals to distinguish between constructive and destructive aspects of managed care and should teach the moral imperative to confront harmful practices.
- Cultural competence
- Managed care
- Mental health service delivery
- Social work training
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science