1. My experience in the VA is that social work has grown exponentially because the factors Sims-Gould et al notes in their article has been the experience of the VA system, that every time a medical social work challenge is given it
    overcome and then a new standard for achievement is set by that solution. At Hines VA Hospital our social Work executive actually felt he had to decline offers by the Surgeon Chief of Staff for new job roles for social workers out of concern that even though social work meet and exceed expectation that there might be an issue of going beyond the boundaries of scope of practice and LCSW licensure and his belief that perhaps another profession might serve the veteran better in that role

    Sadly while simultaneously working part time in the a Tertiary Care Medical School Teaching Hospital Level One Trauma Center I have seen the number of social workers cut by 2/3 and replaced by nurse case managers in
    med / surg, psychologist in opt mental health and BA level employees working off scripts and algorithms for
    community outreach and followup. The only area of growth was in Emergency Department Social Work where that hospital went 24/7/365 MSW coverage by primarily full time staff working twelves with vacation/sick time/
    spot coverage by their long-term service group of parttime and on call MSW’s.

    There is a lot of case data and “war stories ” about how profession med-surg LCSW /BCD/ NASW specialty
    boarded/ACSW social workers and some of our long term and experienced BSW health care social workers create a lot better outcomes than various types of case managers but the research data is not out there, the cost benefit analysis in terms of shortening length of stay, pt satisfaction, decreased lawsuits and better outcomes. We really do need that data so that our managers can have the ammunition that they need to
    keep social work in Med-surg Social Work. Luckily within the VA systems, managers have been able to do just that and been able to increase the numbers of social workers and not incidentally the pay grades of many clinical service social workers.

    Just a thought

    • Frank, you are “Spot On”! We don’t have the data to give to our Health Administrators who always view Social Work as “fluff”. Do you know the history of how the VA System embraced Soial Work? Maybe we should take a look at their experience. Thank you

  2. Thank you for advocating for the social work profession.highly appreciated

  3. As a medical social worker of 13 years I would be happy to participate in any study that advances he social workers ability to provide medical services to the comminity

  4. Thank you to the academicians who authored this study! It’s a great start toward evaluating the value of professional social work. I hope this study may be replicated to develop a stronger database of results. These factors then can be measured against quantitative outcomes for the PHFs, leading to a better quality of life for older adults and their loved ones.

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