Document Type


Publication Date



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Social Work


Managed Care is a generic term for a broad and constantly changing mix of health insurance, assistance and payment programs which seek to retain quality and access while controlling the cost of physical and mental health services. The introduction of managed care fundamentally transforms the traditional “agency” relationships on which modern social work was built. Little research on its impact on social services is currently available. The managed care model, with its distinctive external patterns of accountability, raises serious questions about the continuing viability of the “social agency” model of practice to which social work has been committed for most of this century.

Source Citation

An edited version of this manuscript was published as Managed Care: A Review of Recent Research. In R. Edwards (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Social Work (19th ed., Vol. 1997 Supplement, pp. 200-214). Washington DC: National Association of Social Workers.


This is a slightly modified version of the author's pre-print of the original article.



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