New York Care Management Coalition: A Historical Perspective

Over the years Case Management services has become an integral part of the health care system. One may argue that it is the corner stone of the social work profession, but it is a modality that is used by various professions in health care. As is evidenced by our membership, which represents a variety of professionals who provides case management services in their practice. In New York State, the Office of Mental Health (OMH) first introduces case management services in 1978 as part of their Community Support System (CSS) services, a federal block grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. This was in response to the movement at the time of de-insitutionalization of mentally ill individuals back into local communities. As such, a host of various services were developed in the community to support clients returning after many years, and in some cases decades, of institutionalization, with the corner stone being Case Management Services.

The core of case management was to advocate for, link to, monitor and support clients in their acquisition of all necessary services that will support their integration back into community living, with services that not only included mental health, but also included a host of health and/or other human services. A service that was committed to the integration of the clients we serve into the community with the linkage to, ongoing monitoring and necessary individualized supports (both natural and profession) necessary to maintain themselves in the environment of their choice. A case management service systemwhich is person centered, strength-based, promoting a recovery and rehabilitation model.

In 1989, OMH developed the first Medicaid funded case management service, Intensive Case Management (ICM), which was to address the special needs of a high risk, high user of mental health services. Shortly after in 1995, OMH also converted the CSS case management services to a Medicaid funding stream. It was during this uncertain, ever changing, fragmented time in the OMH service system, June of 1995, that a couple of case management providers throughout New York State collaborated with each other to form the New York State Case Management Coalition. In meetings with the high level of administrative staff of OMH, a partnership and collaboration was born that has continued throughout the years and still thrives today. Recognizing the knowledge, expertise and commitment that the Coalition holds, OMH has over these many years, worked in collaboration with, partnership with and consulted with the Coalition in integrating case management into many of the services they provide. We also worked with them on many projects, which have identified possible gaps of services to the severely mentally ill (SMI) and in their development of the Blended Case Management Model.

Understanding that the needs of the clients we serve go beyond mental health, the Coalition has also forged partnerships and has collaborated with various other State and Local governmental organizations, public and private organizations whose services impact the clients we serve.