Healthcare case coordinators specialize in arranging and securing services for people with chronic, acute or terminal illnesses, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or AIDS. Some work with patients who have substance abuse problems or mental health disorders. Medical and public health social workers may serve the functions of case coordinators, while other professionals in the field have a background in healthcare management rather than social work.
Job Outlook for Case Coordinators
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for healthcare social workers will increase by 19% from 2014 to 2024, significantly faster than the national average for all occupations during that same decade. Increasing life expectancy and improved medical care are leading to a large elderly population, who generally require more healthcare services. This, in turn, creates a greater demand for healthcare professionals, including case coordinators, who are focused in the gerontological field. In addition, as more people seek help for substance abuse and mental illnesses, case coordinators will be needed to help individuals manage their treatment and recovery efforts.
Case coordinators typically assist individuals and families in setting up treatment options and services, such as arranging transportation for outpatient services or coordinating residential care. They may work with clients assigned to rehabilitative or long-term care facilities, substance-abuse programs, mental health clinics, nursing homes or adult day-care facilities, as well as those receiving at-home care. In addition to providing access to medical and health services, case coordinators can also direct clients to additional social services resources.
Working as a case coordinator in the complex healthcare field requires an ability to juggle multiple tasks and interact with a variety of clients, medical professionals and other service providers. Strong communication and decision-making skills are important. Case coordinators are typically employed by hospitals, nursing and rehabilitative care facilities, individual and family services agencies, and local government agencies. They may work flexible schedules to accommodate the needs of their clients.
Case Coordinator Salary Potential
Nationwide, healthcare social workers had an average annual wage of $55,510 as of May 2016, according to BLS data. The top 10% of earners had salaries exceeding $80,000 a year. Professionals with advanced educational qualifications and work experience generally have higher earning potential than recent graduates.
In addition to educational attainment and employment history, a variety of factors can influence potential salary ranges and job opportunities, including regional market conditions, and industry type and size.
Education and Training
Healthcare employers may prefer case coordinators and other healthcare social workers to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field such as social work, healthcare management, human services, gerontology or one of the social or behavioral sciences. Some organizations may require candidates to have a master’s degree in healthcare management, human services, counseling, rehabilitation or social work.
A first step toward a career as a case coordinator in the booming healthcare field can be an associate’s degree in healthcare management.
Completion of a healthcare management education program helps prepare individuals to:
- Understand the range of bioethical and socio-ethical issues in healthcare
- Identify how trends in the nation’s managed healthcare system impact an organization
- Incorporate solid analytical and organizational skills in preparing case documents
- Exercise critical-thinking methods to identify optimal solutions
- Communicate effectively with healthcare professionals, service providers and clients
- Pursue a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management
Is a Career as a Case Coordinator Right for You?
If you have strong organizational abilities, confident decision-making skills, an aptitude for managing casework, and a desire to help those with a variety of medical conditions and associated challenges, you may find working as a case coordinator offers personal and professional satisfaction, along with opportunities for career advancement.