Formerly IGSW News | VOLUME 24 | FALL 2017

Issues and Views

Conversation with a leader in managed care

What Skills Do Managed-Care Organizations Want
In the Long-Term Supports and Services Workforce?

The way healthcare is delivered has changed dramatically over the past few years, spurred by the Affordable Care Act and its goals of better care, for more people, at lower cost. Increasingly, the emerging system centers around managed care. For long-term supports and services, managed-care organizations are becoming the main link between government and other funders; provider agencies; and individual "beneficiaries."

What skills and competencies do managed-care organizations want and expect from agencies and their workers who provide long-term supports and services? What kind of training is best? To find out, we asked a most qualified expert, Michelle Bentzien-Purrington (pictured above). She is vice president of Managed Long Term Services and Supports and Duals Integration for Molina Healthcare, a national managed-care organization, where she is responsible for implementation of person-centered programs for special-needs populations.

The LearningEdge: What is the role of the managed care organizations in MLTSS?

Michelle Bentzien-Purrington: At Molina, we are the conduit of quality long-term supports and services to the individual, in a way that promotes independence and quality health outcomes. That is our role and our responsibility. We base our work on the premise that each individual health situation is unique—varying from person to person, state to state, and across program model.

How do you ensure that the care and services are of high quality?

MB-P: Skilled, competent workers are essential. For agencies and independent workers alike, we ask what we can do to ensure that they understand their own roles and responsibilities. And how we can help them do their jobs well. The components of training are based on those questions. We look at what they need, what they have, and then we help them fill in the gaps.

What skills and competencies are you looking for?

MB-P: We look for individuals who are competent working in teams, understand community resources, have strong communication and assessment skills, and are culturally competent and person-centered. We want the individual workers to be enabled and empowered to meet the individualized needs of those they serve. We want assessment of their skills, and then a focus on developing or strengthening the skills that best meet those needs.

What do you look for in a training program?

MB-P: We find that many government and private agencies do provide training opportunities, but most lack standards and criteria, except for Boston University's CADER and a few others. We want testing that certifies that the individuals have the explicit skills the training was supposed to provide. Our other criteria for a training program: person-centered content; flexibility addressing learning styles, settings, location; cultural competence; scalability and replicability.

Boston University's CADER offers a variety of certification programs and courses for the LTSS workforce that give them the skills to meet the needs of those they serve and to promote independence and community living. The courses may be taken online and include pre- and post- evaluation and testing to ensure that the material is comprehended and beneficial. "Core Issues in Aging and Disability," "ADRC Options Counseling," and "Interdisciplinary Teams" are just a few of the valuable programs.

We invest in training the workforce because it brings improved outcomes and less turnover. And, it gives workers something marketable to take to their next jobs.

If you ruled the world, what kind of training would you provide?

MB-P: I would recognize the value of training not only for paid service-providers in agencies but also for unpaid care workers. Assessment of skills would be evidence-based, and I would have a standard, modular program to provide training for different levels, depending upon the job. All this would maximize the effectiveness of our care system.

For Michelle Bentzien-Purrington's bio, click here.

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Copyright © 2017 Trustees of Boston University. All rights reserved. This article may not be duplicated or distributed in any form without written permission from the publisher: Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research, Boston University School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, U.S.A.; e-mail: