Social Work’s Role in Medicaid Reform: A Qualitative Study

Thursday, December 14, 2017
Publication cover image
Robert W. Seifert, MPA
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Sara S Bachman, PhD
Boston University
Madeline Wachman, MSW
Boston University
Leticia Manning, MPH
US Public Health Service
David K. Jones, PhD
Boston University School of Public Health
Therese Fitzgerald, PhD, MSW
Massachusetts Medical Society
Rachel Nuzum, MPH
The Commonwealth Fund
Patricia Riley, MS
National Academy for State Health Policy
Alexander M. Cohen, MSW, MPH
Cambridge Health Alliance

Social workers can take on greater leadership roles in the reform of Medicaid, which covers 73 million Americans. In order for them to do so, we must be able to articulate what social workers can contribute to Medicaid reform at all levels.

Through a group of semistructured interviews with 46 stakeholders from different states across the country, researchers analyzed a range of Medicaid reform approaches and how social workers fit into these models. The study notes that while social workers have valuable skills that could help in building health systems that promote population health, they are a typically under-used resource at the systems level. 

Contributions from social workers can include identifying gaps in service delivery and value.