Casey Newman


Social Care Specialists: Implications for Social Work Practice in Addressing Social Determinants of Health in a Medical Setting


Social determinants of health represent a wide range of non-medical factors that have a significant impact on patient health outcomes. Despite having the highest healthcare expenditures across the globe, the U.S. consistently has poorer population health outcomes than its peers. Payers are beginning to ask healthcare organizations to engage patients in social care. Healthcare systems have turned to social needs screening as a first step towards integrated medical and social care. Accurate patient data is critical to fostering investments in social care activities, however, patients have been reluctant to allow medical providers to step into the lived social experiences that impact their health outcomes. These factors are compounded by medical providers’ need to focus on volume and efficiency at the point of care occurs at a cost of relationship building. Addressing social needs in a medical context will require the recalibration of patient-centered care and doing that will require new investments. The social work profession is well positioned as a specialist in social care but organizations will need payer reimbursement support to take courageous steps in meaningful social care. Social workers can provide cost-minded social care solutions that drive improved data collection and targeted relationship-based care services that are nimble enough to meet the complex and continually changing needs of individuals and communities. The findings from this capstone project contribute to the developing knowledge base for improving health equity and patient health outcomes.


James Casey Newman has been a practicing social worker for nearly 20 years. He is currently the manager of inpatient social work for Norton Healthcare and helps oversee social work practice at the organization’s five Louisville KY area hospitals. Casey also leads projects aimed at addressing social determinants of health across the organization and meeting their associated value-based care measures. Before joining Norton Healthcare in 2013, Casey spent eight years managing one of Louisville’s emergency shelters serving families experiencing homelessness. Casey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states of Kentucky and Indiana and has experience as an independent contractor providing in-home psychotherapy services for adults and children. He is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Society for Social Work Leaders in Healthcare. Casey received his Master of Science in Social Work degree from the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. Casey’s research interests include social determinants of health, health equity, and social work leadership and professional development.