Shepherd Center Access Case Manager Explains the Role She Plays with Patients and Families
Ginger Murphy, MSW, LCSW, is an access case manager at Shepherd Center.
Q: How long have you worked at Shepherd Center?
I have worked at Shepherd Center for 12 years. I am an access case manager (ACM) covering central and south Florida.
Q: What role does an access case manager play with a patient and their family?
I describe us as navigators of a brand-new world for patients and families. After someone is injured, it can be overwhelming to know where to go, what next steps should be and what questions to ask. We help with everything from the initial referral to the patient entering Shepherd Center’s doors for rehabilitation. This process can include assessing the patient’s injuries to give guidance on planning for the future, working with insurance companies and planning logistics to get the patients to Shepherd Center. This is a vulnerable time, so our job is to be a trustworthy source of information and support to take the burden of the unknown off of patients and families.
Q: Why do you enjoy working at Shepherd Center?
I think we have a very unique hospital. In my opinion, the quality of care Shepherd Center provides is unmatched. We also have a really terrific team in the admissions department. This can be a tough job, so having great leadership and a strong support system is so important.
Q: Where is the ACM team based?
As a top rehabilitation hospital, our goal is to provide quality care to as many patients and families as possible. Our 19 ACMs cover the entire United States and also occasionally work with international patients. We pride ourselves on being able to respond quickly after we receive a referral. Between referral and actual admission to Shepherd Center, we are always available to the patients and families who need us.
Our team includes a combination of nurses, social workers and therapists who have all served in a trauma setting. This foundation working with patients who have sustained brain and spinal cord injuries prepared us to provide the best service in our current roles at Shepherd.
Q: What’s the best way for a patient to request an evaluation by an ACM?
The best way is to have the hospital send us a referral. We have a triage team that receives referrals to see if the patient is eligible to be admitted. If they are eligible, our team reviews the records, reaches out to the case manager at the referring hospital and starts building a case for admission to Shepherd Center.
Another option is to submit a general inquiry on our website. We will reach out to the contact and discuss the next steps.
Q: What do you love about your job the most?
I love the people I work with, and I really love working with families. We get into this work because we want to help people. These families are hungry for connection and information after a catastrophic injury happens to a loved one. We are the flashlight that helps them find their path forward. It’s so rewarding.
- Ginger loves to cook. During quarantine, she focused on baking and perfecting Julia Child’s French bread recipe. She once baked 32 loaves of it for a Super Bowl party!
- Ginger grew up in an Italian family and believes that influenced her love of food.
- When she was in junior high school, Ginger took a creative writing class and thought she wanted to be a journalist. She was even the sports editor for her high school newspaper.
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS:
University of Central Florida
- Master’s degree in social work
- Bachelor’s degree in social work
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 935 inpatients, 541 day program patients and more than 7,300 outpatients each year.