SOCW – 6204 Medical Social Work I

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The medical social work profession owes its roots to Dr. Richard Cabot and Nurse Garnet Pelton. In 1905, Garnet Pelton was hired by Dr. Cabot, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, to provide social services to his clinic patients (Massachusetts General Hospital, n.d.). Dr. Cabot recognized the importance of addressing a patient’s social needs and health needs simultaneously in order to achieve maximum benefit. Since 1905, the field of medical social work has become one of the leading disciplines of the social work profession. Currently, medical social work services are provided in a plethora of health care settings, including both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Over time, the medical social work field has evolved and adapted in the face of changing health care policy and reform. Consider managed care, which resulted from the enactment of the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973 as a means of containing health care costs in the United States. Managed care affected medical social work and influenced the delivery of health care services provided by medical social workers.

To prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s resources including the web article titled, “Pioneering a Profession: A History of Social Work Innovation at the MGH, 1905–2005.” Consider how individuals and events have shaped the medical social work profession. Think about the health care delivery systems in the United States and their impact on the profession. Finally, consider the future of the profession.

Post a brief description of one major historical event that you believe influenced the medical social work profession. Explain the impact—both positive and negative—of managed care in the evolution of medical social work since the emergence of managed care in the 1980s. Take a position and provide specific examples to support your position. Briefly describe current issues—the challenges and the opportunities for the medical social work profession. Select one current issue that you think is important or challenging for this profession. Explain why. Provide a future perspective of this profession with regard to leadership and advocacy for patient care and well-being. Justify your response with scholarly resources.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the resources and the current literature using appropriate APA format and style.

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