Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Debora Rice


Social workers often take on the role of providing case management to Medicaid recipients; however, there is little clinical research on social workers' perceptions of their case management role. The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the social worker case management role by exploring social workers' perceptions of their roles when providing case management to Ohio Medicaid managed care enrollees. This action research study was grounded in organizational role theory. A semi structured focus group was facilitated using open-ended questions related to social workers' role perceptions, role conflict, role ambiguity, case management, and managed care. Qualitative data were collected from 5 licensed Ohio social workers working as case managers with clients enrolled in an Ohio Medicaid managed care plan. The data were coded and analyzed using constant comparison analysis to identify relevant themes. Four themes emerged from the data: care coordination, role conflict and ambiguity, lack of social work influence in managed care, and resources. The findings of the study may serve as a step toward filling gaps in the understanding of the role of social workers who provide case management services to Ohio's Medicaid managed care enrollees. The findings may also be used to effect positive social change by increasing stakeholders' understanding of social workers' roles in case management and encouraging stakeholders to take steps to identify and address possible role conflict and ambiguity.

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