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Joe Szimhart's “job descript"….

Crisis Intervention Caseworker
Montgomery County Emergency Services [psychiatric hospital]

The Crisis Intervention Caseworker provides counseling, information, referral, screening and intake services to callers, agencies, clients and their families who seek assistance with psychiatric, drug and/or alcohol related problems. He and she exercises independent judgement in directing clients to appropriate resource, including, but not limited to the MCES evaluating physician. The Crisis Caseworker gathers and organizes information relevant to a case and facilitates appropriate disposition, gathers required insurance information and other related documentation on all prospective clients who may be evaluated or admitted with particular attention toward pre-certification insurance requirements.

Master’s degree preferred. Minimum of Bachelor’s degree in related field and/or 5 years relevant experience.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned.

1. Providing intake and crisis intervention services to clients (callers and walk-ins) that includes:
a. Assessing the nature of the client’s problem
b. Assessing the level of the client’s own resources to handle the problem and other resources such as health insurance that will facilitate services.
c. Making and recording initial observations of client’s problems, mental status and appearance.
d. Determining if an emergency medical situation exists and, if so, initiating appropriate action.
e. Screening and triaging referrals, i.e., prioritizing problems and resources to be utilized and making appropriate referrals and dispositions.
f. Preventing client from making far-reaching decisions during crisis.
g. Preventing violent confrontations and intervening as necessary [as with physical restraints].
h. Transmitting pertinent information to any other resources brought into the crisis situation, within the confines of confidentiality laws, rules, regulations, and MCES policy.
i. Thoroughly understanding state laws state and local laws, internal policies, rules and regulations regarding [involuntary] emergency commitments, psychiatric, drug and alcohol treatment.
j. Collecting required information from prospective clients, callers, agency workers, etc. particularly insurance information, ID, and other documents required for medical assistance applications.
k. Understanding client’s rationale and motivation for seeking treatment.
l. Preparing and completing required documentation, i.e., contact sheets, insurance forms, etc, and making proper distribution of same.
m. Understanding facility requirements regarding hospitalization insurance and implementing same.
n. Screening clients for appropriateness for evaluation at MCES.
o. Establishing good rapport with prospective clients and those referring or accompanying the client.
p. Informing client of program/facility requirements, rules, regulations, restraints and restrictions.
q. Determining client’s current and past involvement with related agencies.
r. Determining the necessity and appropriateness of involving others, i.e., family, friends, guardians, etc. in the process.
s. Entering data accurately in the crisis computer in a timely fashion.
t. Adhering to confidentiality laws and rules.
u. Clearly establishing that proper medical clearance has been accomplished for clients by consulting with the physician assistant or doctor on duty.
v. Exercising suicide prevention techniques and preventing suicide attempts through all available means.

2. Provides referral service.
a. Determining and completing referrals to the other services, agencies, according to client’s needs.
b. Knowing community agencies and their criteria regarding availability, admission policy, etc.
c. Contacting the referral sources and communicating as required.
d. Knowing this agency’s policies and procedures concerning referrals.
e. Documenting and making appropriate referrals as required.

3. Providing individuals counseling via telephone or to persons presenting themselves at this agency without overstepping personal limitations.
4. Exercising humane professionalism in dealing with all clients and their relatives, friends, etc.
5. Understanding significance and importance of record and log keeping and writing clearly, concise and organized contact records and exercises same.
6. Understanding and exercising crisis standard operating procedures, facility and crisis memos, the Mental Health Procedures Act, the DPW rules and regulations, JCAHO and all training and resource materials posted or found in the Crisis Department.
7. Knowledge of drug and alcohol, i.e., applying a working knowledge of substance abuse in:
a. The effects and interactions of different substances on social, psychological, and
physical functioning.
b. The major theories and stages of addiction and the symptomology of abuse.
c. The social and cultural patterns of abuse among various populations i.e., ethnic groups, economic classes, etc.
d. The law as it applies to substance abuse, including legal applications to different age groups.
e. Emergency procedures relative to substance abuse, i.e., drug overdose/withdrawal.
f. The different components of service delivery in substance abuse field.
g. Psychopharmacological classification and current corresponding street slang.

8. Providing accurate and timely information to callers and walk-ins concerning emergency, involuntary commitment procedures upon consultation with the County Mental health Delegate on duty or on call, and assisting in the commitment process as directed. Informing an involuntary patient of his rights and assuring that the property and premises of committed patients has been secured and the welfare of dependents and pets is not in jeopardy.
9. Presenting cases to evaluating physician and assisting in evaluation, admission, or referral processes as required, having interviewed the voluntary or involuntary client sufficiently.
10. Responding to all emergency situations at MCES and has thorough knowledge of disaster, bomb, fire, electrical power failure procedures, etc.
11. Conducting search procedures as specified in search policy and receiving visitors following the visitor’s policy, securing valuables with proper documentation, and preventing contraband from entering building.
12. Authorizing ambulance transportation as required and directed by policy.
13. As this is a crisis center and an emergency psychiatric hospital, all crisis staff are required to provide coverage by remaining on duty until properly relieved. We remain open in snow/inclement weather.
14. Performing other related duties as required.


We have a spiritual crisis in this country. New Age gurus are feeding off it. It seems that anybody can sell metaphysical snake oil and get away with it.

—Quoted in Newsweek, February 1, 1988

Joe's webpage link..


Thank you Joe...
your knowledge, compassion and courage has been an inspiration to me.