Care Transformation Center Blog

Four tips for hiring your first high-risk care manager

by Megan Clark

Over the last few weeks, we've reviewed two critical care management roles—the high-risk care manager and health coaches—and discussed when one or both might be the right investment for the population health enterprise.

With nearly 75% of readers anticipating they will hire a high-risk care manager, we've received a few questions on how to find qualified candidates to fill this role.



Advice from organizations using high-risk care managers

Not every care or case manager is well positioned to be a high-risk care manager. However, as you look across your case management staff and your primary care practice teams, I imagine that a few individuals stand out as good candidates for the role.

Organizations that have created this role shared advice with us on filling and rolling out this new position.


1. The personality of the individual is as important (if not more important) than clinical training.

While many organizations chose to hire an RN for the role, each organization emphasized that the personality of the individual is just as important.

The ideal high-risk care manager is a problem-solver with good communication skills—both with patients and with physicians. These individuals enjoy working across settings and teams, often going the extra mile to bridge gaps in the care continuum. And, they enjoy understanding all the complex factors influencing a patient’s engagement in their own care and working with patients to identify personal goals.


2. Internal hires often already have physicians' trust.

One of the best advantages of looking internally is that physicians already know and trust the high-risk care manager. Organizations highlight that promoting from within has made physicians more comfortable referring patients into new programs because of the proven track record of the individual. And, the experience of these physicians can serve as testimonial to new physicians working with the high-risk care manager for the first time.


3. And, internal hires already know how to navigate patients through the system.

Familiarity with the system also helps this individual hit the ground running to achieve early wins. With this particularly complex patient population, there is a huge advantage in already knowing the hospital and health system referral protocols and relationships with members of the staff across the continuum.


4. It’s easier to hire externally for a more standard care manager or physician practice role.

Care management leaders also share that it can be significantly easier to hire externally for more traditional care or case management roles. So, once someone is promoted to the high-risk care manager role, consider replacing that member of the team with an external candidate. The organization is also already familiar with recruiting and training individuals new to the organization in these roles.

Your Complete Guide to Hiring Care Management Staff

Use our Staff Audit Tool to determine which staff you have—and which staff you need—then read our recent post on the differences between a health coach and a high-risk care manager.

Medical Home Health Coach Practice Impact CalculatorFor those interested in hiring a health coach, we have a calculator for assessing the financial impact of hiring one for your practice. For those interested in hiring a high-risk care manager, read our recent post and our study, High-Risk Patient Care Management, for more information on deploying this staff member and additional care management tactics for high-risk patients.

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