Behavioral Health Specialist - Boulder, CO

Careers at UnitedHealth Group

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The Behavioral Health Specialist will partner with primary care providers and become a member of the Care Team to provide an integrated clinical and psychosocial approach through the continuum of care to ensure patients receive the behavioral support necessary to improve their health. The Behavioral Health Specialist will provide short term counseling, care management and crisis intervention to patients in the primary care setting.

The Behavioral Health Specialist will provide direct social work/case management services to patients and/or families and the Care Team to ensure patients receive needed assessments, interventions, support and referrals. This person will work directly with providers and clinic care coordinators to ensure patients receive appropriate and successful referrals to behavioral health specialists and other community resources. Excellent organizational skills and the ability to work and communicate well with others are critical aspects of this position.

Primary Responsibilities:
  • Manages daily schedule in Epic following program protocols for patient visits including telehealth
  • Works cooperatively and collaboratively as a member of a Care Team with primary care providers, MAs, and other clinics staff to provide care to patients based on best practices and evidence-based medicine (EBM)
  • Participates in team huddles and meetings among Care Team and clinic that address patient progress and barriers to patient care
  • Provides crisis intervention, evidence-based brief interventions such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and self-management support for referred patients
  • Provides strategic and goal-oriented counseling working with patients in a short-term model
  • Provides telephone call follow-up for high-risk patients, especially depression patients
  • Maintains a safe, comfortable, and therapeutic environment for patients and families in accordance with hospital standard
  • Develops positive working relationships with patients, their families, and representatives
  • Facilitates patient and family education, and promotes continuity of care to achieve optimal patient outcomes
  • Assures patient rights by offering a choice when appropriate
  • Monitors the condition of patients and reviews the patient plan of care with the multi-disciplinary team
  • Documents in the electronic medical record and verbally communicates with the Care Team to coordinate interventions and facilitate continuity of care
  • Communicates regularly and effectively with Behavioral Health Specialist supervisor to ensure that clinical interventions meet standards for BCH patient care. Behavioral Health Specialist Primary Care 1 will stay in touch via tasks, email, routing notes, and in-person supervision as well as access immediate supervisory support to discuss safety or crisis concerns when indicated.
  • Employees are expected to comply with all regulatory requirements, including Joint Commission Standards.
  • Is familiar with organization, department and job specific Environment of Care areas, including Life Safety, Utilities Management, Hazardous Materials Communications, Emergency Preparedness, Infection Control and Medical Equipment Failure
  • Adheres to Standard Precautions as appropriate, which may include:
    • The use of protective barriers, as appropriate (e.g., gloves, masks, gowns, pocket masks, and/or safety glasses)
    • Handling and disposing of infectious waste appropriately; and
    • Hand washing as appropriate


Continuum of Care Planning:

The Behavioral Health Specialist will be responsible for:
  • Assisting patients, families, and Care Teams when patients step down from higher level of care settings (such as psychiatric hospital unit) in order to ensure that aftercare appointments are scheduled and attended
  • Educating patient/family/Care Teams about options/choices within the level of care to be determined as appropriate
  • Assessing for safety, developing safety plans, and utilizing higher level of care options (such as ED, M1 holds when indicated) in the primary care setting
  • Ensuring collaboration of treatment with external providers such as therapists, psychiatrists, intensive outpatient programs, detoxification programs, and inpatient psychiatric settings


Knowledge, Skill and Ability:
  • Professional compatibility with the philosophy of the Boulder Community Hospital Physician Clinics department
  • Ability to provide targeted, solution-focused interventions with patients to improve their emotional and physical health. This includes demonstrated skills with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and other evidenced-based practices.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and the ability to perform thorough social and mental assessments; evaluates a wide range of psychosocial impairments within a patient population from adolescents to older adults and/or arranges for more detailed assessments when indicated
  • Knowledge of and experience with chronic pain, addiction and recovery issues
  • Knowledge of healthcare systems and reimbursement systems including Medicare and Medicaid
  • Demonstrates high-level knowledge of physical health conditions (i.e., diabetes, hypertension, obesity) and has skills to activate behavioral changes to improve overall health and wellness
  • Demonstrates knowledge of psychotropic medications, side effects, and benefits in order to increase medication adherence in the patient population
  • Able to navigate EMR (Electronic Medical Record) and critically evaluate whether a patient's plan of care is appropriate for level of symptomology (i.e., depression) reported. Provides well-conceived, best practice recommendations when plan of care is not sufficient
  • Ability to develop rapport with and provide emotional support for patients and/or families and staff in crisis situations
  • Ability to establish relationships and coordinate services between health care and community service providers and the patient and/or family and staff
  • Ability to provide education to patients and/or families, staff and the community; topics may include crisis intervention and the emotional, social, and economic stresses of illness
  • The ability to provide a range of brief focused prevention, treatment, and recovery services as well as longer-term treatment and support for consumers with persistent illnesses
  • Ability to function without direct supervision, utilizing time constructively and organizing assignments for maximum productivity
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to vulnerable populations and ability to provide services that are relevant to the culture of the consumer and their family


You'll be rewarded and recognized for your performance in an environment that will challenge you and give you clear direction on what it takes to succeed in your role as well as provide development for other roles you may be interested in.

Required Qualifications:
  • Master of Social Work (MSW) degree
  • Licensed Social Worker (LSW) within 180 days of hire for the state of Colorado
  • Travel up to 50% weekly in the Boulder, CO area
  • You will be provisioned with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and are required to perform this role with patients and members on site, as this is an essential function of this role
  • Employees are required to screen for symptoms using the ProtectWell mobile app, Interactive VoiceResponse (i.e., entering your symptoms via phone system) or a similar UnitedHealth Group approved symptom screener prior to entering the work site each day, in order to keep our work sites safe. Employees must comply with any state and local masking orders. In addition, when in a UnitedHealth Group building, employees are expected to wear a mask in areas where physical distancing cannot be attained


Preferred Qualifications:
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCSW for the state of Colorado
  • 1+ years' experience in an integrated primary care environment, acute care hospital setting or human service agency


Materials and Equipment Directly Used:
  • Telephone and voicemail
  • Copy machine
  • Fax machine
  • Computer (hospital/clinic communications and patient information)


Working Environment/Physical Activities:
  • Position located within BCH primary care clinics
  • Position will require movement between BCH primary care clinics and various locations within the community via car/shuttle/walk.
  • Work in artificial light and sit for substantial periods of time


Interrelationships:
  • Position requires excellent communication, interpersonal, and public relations skills.
  • Responsible for development of exemplary working relationships with patients, their families and representatives, providers, insurance companies, coworkers and hospital staff
  • Responsible for HIPAA compliance by maintaining patient confidentiality at all times, discussing only pertinent and necessary details or data with the appropriate people to provide excellent patient care and service


Patient Care/Interaction:
  • When applicable, employees must be able to adjust the essential functions they perform appropriately to the age of their patient/customer. Employees must demonstrate knowledge of the principles of growth and development and the knowledge and skills necessary to provide for the primary population of patients served in the department. Employees demonstrate the ability to alter care and patient/family education based on the age or developmental level of the patient.


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Colorado Residents Only: The salary range for Colorado residents is $53,300 to $95,100. Pay is based on several factors including but not limited to education, work experience, certifications, etc. As of the date of this posting, In addition to your salary, UHG offers the following benefits for this position, subject to applicable eligibility requirements: Health, dental, and vision plans; wellness program; flexible spending accounts; paid parking or public transportation costs; 401(k) retirement plan; employee stock purchase plan; life insurance, short-term disability insurance, and long-term disability insurance; business travel accident insurance; Employee Assistance Program; PTO; and employee-paid critical illness and accident insurance.

Diversity creates a healthier atmosphere: UnitedHealth Group is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, protected veteran status, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law.

UnitedHealth Group is a drug-free workplace. Candidates are required to pass a drug test before beginning employment.

Job Keywords: Masters of Social Work, Behavioral Health, BCH, Boulder, CO, Colorado, Clinical, specialist

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