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Medical Social Services Practitioner

Salary: $23.52-$28.71 hourly / $4,090-$4,993 monthly / Range: 5664

DEFINITION: Under general direction, performs professional-level medical social work for patients, clients, and their families presented with complex or multiple medical and related psycho-social problems; and performs related duties as required.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This class is responsible for performing specialized medical social work in areas where a master's degree in social work is mandated or preferred by program specifications or in areas where the patient's medical condition is life-threatening or has a significant impact on the functioning and lifestyle of the patient and family.


1. Interviews patients, clients, and family members to obtain relevant psycho-social information and determine the effect of the illness or pregnancy upon the patient or client and their family; identifies complex multiple medical, social, emotional, financial, and environmental factors which interfere with the patient's or client's ability to benefit from medical care or other services provided.
2. Develops and implements a social work treatment plan for patients, clients, and family members based on an analysis of the patient's or client's psycho-social factors and the effects of the illness or pregnancy; selects and makes referrals to other community agencies; may conduct home assessments to determine the need for additional services or equipment.
3. Provides individual and group counseling to patients, clients, and families in such areas as family problems, coping with illness or pregnancy, and loss of function; assists patients in understanding and coping with the effects of illness and pregnancy.
4. Manages assigned caseload; prepares narrative and statistical reports; documents results of psycho-social assessments and treatment plans in patient or client files.
5. Coordinates assigned caseload of clients in Public Health program settings.


1. Develops discharge plans to ensure a safe transfer from hospital to home; arranges for in-home supportive services and provides support and information on resources to families and patients who need placement in board and care, or skilled nursing facilities.
2. Counsels patients in understanding and coping with accepting medical recommendations; counsels patients on how to remove barriers that interfere with a patient's ability to benefit from medical care.
3. Participates as part of a multi-disciplinary team in case conferences to formulate overall patient care plans; interprets the psycho-social aspects of the patient's illness to the team and assists in the ongoing orientation of medical and surgical residents on the role of medical social work in patient care.


1. Conducts intake interview with the client and/or the client's family; on a continuous basis, assesses the psycho-social and health needs of clients and their families through interviews, behavioral observations, and home visits; detects physical and emotional illness.
2. Develops an Individualized Service Plan for clients and their families; creates goals and objectives for clients to achieve; monitors and adjusts plan as needed; teaches adolescents how to problem-solve, set priorities, and develop realistic steps to complete goals; assists clients in making healthy lifestyle decisions.
3. Coordinates a caseload of up to 40 pregnant/parenting adolescents with more complex problems; provides crisis intervention services; identifies barriers and offers needed support and encouragement.
4. Participates in the development, maintenance, monitoring, and evaluation of local systems of care that focus on the health, education, and psycho-social needs of pregnant/parenting adolescents by involvement in community networks, coalitions, and collaboratives; utilizes these providers and services on a daily basis.
5. Conducts extensive and ongoing outreach and case finding activities with community agencies, schools, and other organizations serving adolescents; responds to training requests by other agencies and schools; participates in procedural review and provides staff in-service training.

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS: A master's degree in social work or a master's degree from an accredited or State-approved two-year counseling program. Definition: Qualifying master's degree from a two-year counseling program is that with a study emphasis in marriage and family counseling, child counseling, or gerontology. Qualifying two-year counseling degree programs must have included an internship or supervised fieldwork. An internship or fieldwork in medical social work is highly desirable.

Additional Qualifications: Possession of or ability to obtain a valid California class C Driver License may be required. Selectees for employment in some positions allocated to this class must as a condition of employment sign a statement agreeing to comply with Section 11166 of the California Penal Code relating to child abuse reporting and Section 15630 of the Welfare and Institutions Code relating to dependent adult abuse reporting.

Knowledge of: principles and practices of medical social work; philosophy and function of medical care delivery and social service systems; principles and techniques of interviewing, diagnostic assessment and various counseling modalities; psycho-social, medical and economic relationships contributing to socio-pathology; appropriate utilization of social resources; social service investigative research methods; principles of child development/parenting, family dynamics, aging, and human behavior; narrative case report writing practices.

Ability to: plan, develop, and implement service plans; assess undefined and complex medical and psycho-social problems; determine suitability of placements; counsel patients and their families to enhance functioning of individual and family unit; monitor and evaluate behavioral changes; interview a variety of people with diverse socio-economic backgrounds and temperaments; assess social service needs of patients; determine the appropriate course of action in emergency or stressful situations; understand program objectives in relation to local and regional providers of social, medical and/or other specialized services; learn, apply, and explain complex regulations and policies governing medical social work processes; work independently; listen and cope with terminal, life threatening, or unusual life circumstances; encourage patients in progress toward functioning outside of the hospital; prepare routine statistical reports; project consequences of decisions; organize and prioritize work assignments; make decisions and independent judgments; deal firmly and fairly with patients; maintain accurate records and document action taken; communicate effectively both verbally and in writing; establish and maintain cooperative working relationships.

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