Acknowledge Your Social Worker: March Is Social Work Month!
How much do you know about social workers and what they do? If you work in a dialysis or transplant setting, you probably know at least one social worker because Medicare regulations require these settings to have social workers. But, did you know...
Social workers help the interdisciplinary team improve patient outcomes by:
The ESRD Conditions for Coverage places the responsibility on the clinic's governing body for providing sufficient staffing, including staffing of social workers, to meet patients' clinical needs. In fact, the regulations say that if social workers are shared with multiple clinics or have to perform non-clinical tasks, "it must not negatively impact the time available to provide the clinical interventions required to achieve the goals identified in the patient's plan of care."9
Social workers want to be liked and seen as team players. Toward this end, they may take on any task they're assigned. However, when social workers take on clerical tasks like admissions paperwork, entering data in CROWNWeb, or finding help to pay for drugs or dialysis chairs and scales the clinic is required to provide, these take time away from their mandated responsibility to provide clinical services to enhance patient's well-being. Understand that when social workers set boundaries on clerical tasks, there are limits to available time and the scope of their license.
Finally, recognize that paying Master's prepared social workers to do clerical work when they should be helping patients achieve their plan of care goals and helping the clinic meet QIP performance measures is just plain penny wise and pound foolish!
- 42 CFR 494.140(d), Condition: Personnel qualifications, Standard: Social worker
- 42 CFR 494.140, Condition: Personnel qualifications
- Code of Ethics, National Association of Social Workers at http://socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp
- 42 CFR 494.80(a)(7), Condition: Patient assessment, Evaluation of psychosocial needs by a social worker
- 42 CFR 494.90(a)(6), Condition: Patient plan of care, Psychosocial status
- 42 CFR 494.80, Condition: Patient assessment
- 42 CFR 494.180(f), Condition: Governance, Standard: Involuntary discharge and transfer policies
- 42 CFR 494.110, Condition: Quality assessment and performance improvement
- 42 CFR 494.180(b), Condition: Governance, Standard: Adequate number of qualified and trained staff