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Charting the territory of health care in American society is a daunting task. This text takes on the challenge in a bold and ambitious style that is robust in historical accuracy and insightful when articulating the responsibility of professional social work in today’s complex evolving health care environment. A particular hallmark of this text is the thread that is weaved from the origins of American health care to its current texture.
More than an academic text, this important work clearly and accurately characterizes the skills, challenges, and patient and family-centered work of the present day healthcare social worker. Amidst the turmoil and theoretical debate driven by health care reform, the authors write from direct experience effectively bringing their knowledge into a comprehensive examination of the value and role of social workers in the health care arena today.
“Drs. Allen and Spitzer provide a very thorough and insightful examination of not only the profession of social work, but also the complex context in which social workers must work. The treatment of the history of attention to social determinants of health, the evolution of the healthcare delivery system, and the renewed attention to social determinants through the Affordable Care Act is of interest and importance not only to members of the profession, but to all healthcare professionals and others who wish to understand this rapidly changing industry.”
This comprehensive volume makes an important new contribution to the literature of health care social work. In exploring social work’s changing roles in health care, it offers knowledge that is based both on thorough research and on practice wisdom drawn from experiences of the editors and authors.
Drs. Allen and Spitzer provide a comprehensive and well-sourced review of the practice of social work within the broader context of past and present health care delivery models. Most intriguing is their projection of the future of social work in health care using patient-centered, integrated care, medical homes, navigators, and patient/provider partnerships.