In Celebration of Our Social Workers

March 01, 2022
Kerri Ikenberry
Kerri Ikenberry, BSN, RN
Executive Director, Community Services

The generosity of the nearly 720,000 social workers in America is being recognized this month with the theme "The Time is Right for Social Work." The theme underscores the positive contributions social workers have made to this nation for more than a century and how the services they provide are needed as we address economic inequality, systemic racism, the need for improved health and mental health care, Covid-19, and so many other critical issues.

We all know a social worker who has taken the time to help us, our families, and our friends. They play an integral role in our lives because they touch every part of our lives. In keeping with the theme of Social Work Month 2022, we want to recognize and celebrate the many positive and critical contributions our Commonwealth Medicine (CWM) social workers make every day. They bring a unique mix of skill and compassion to our interdisciplinary teams, focusing on the social determinants of health and the psychosocial health and welfare of some of the most vulnerable individuals in Massachusetts.

Social workers are an essential part of our interdisciplinary teams throughout CWM’s Disability and Community-based Services (DCS). Social workers are a vital part of our Community Case Management (CCM), Preadmission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR), and Disability Review (DR) teams.

In our CCM Program, our social workers aid some of the most medically fragile in Massachusetts and their families to remain at home and avoid institutionalization by helping them understand supports available through state agencies and community programs. They refer individuals to needed services beyond traditional insurance coverage, including food pantries, fuel assistance, and home modifications. Social workers also help CCM members access behavioral health supports and help them understand how to pay for items or services not covered by MassHealth. 

Social workers in our PASRR Program are part of an interdisciplinary team that evaluates individuals with Serious Mental Illness (SMI). Social workers identify the appropriate setting for individuals with SMI and avoid inappropriate institutionalization, and help them identify the best services to meet their behavioral health needs.

As a member of the DR team, our social workers bring their knowledge and expertise of mental health to determine eligibility for benefits. Their disability determinations allow applicants to continue needed behavioral health treatment and intervention leading to better overall health and wellness.

Our DCS social workers have directly impacted thousands of individuals over the years by taking an empowering approach and facilitating access to care that supports community living. As we celebrate Social Worker Month, we are full of gratitude for our DCS social workers and all they do.