3.16.2022 Tip of the Week: Implementing the NABITA Standards for BITs (Part XII)

NABITA membership has more than doubled over the last year. To help new members implement the NABITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs), and to provide continuing members with a refresher, NABITA is launching a Tip of the Week series specifically focused on the BIT Standards. Twenty standards, twenty Tips of the Week (maybe more) aimed specifically at the practical application of the BIT Standards (Note: the twenty Tips may not be published consecutively so that NABITA can bring you timely updates regarding other topics).

Standard 13. Case Management: Teams invest in case management as a process, and often a position, that provides flexible, need-based support for students to overcome challenges.

Case management, whether as a process for team interventions or a position within the team, is about helping students overcome obstacles to achieving their personal and academic goals. As a process, case management leverages existing team members to provide direct services to individuals referred to the BIT. When structured as a position within the team, case management is provided by a staff member whose full-time job is supporting referred individuals. Case managers should assist students with a solution-focused approach that highlights what is and can be done, rather than previous challenges and what has held the individual back. Case managers, in general, may be clinical or non-clinical in their work and seek to help students reach their goals while avoiding becoming lost amongst departmental silos or while navigating institutional processes and systems.

Clinical case managers are clinically licensed (e.g., LCSW, LPC, LMHC) and are hired by an institution to provide mental health treatment (e.g., clinical assessment, diagnosis, treatment plans). Because licensure is part of the job requirements, and because the individual is practicing mental health treatment for the institution, clinical case managers are typically work in a counseling or health center.

Alternatively, non-clinical case managers may or may not have a clinical license, but they are not hired by an institution to provide mental health treatment. Non-clinical case managers are hired by an institution to offer support and resources to individuals in need (e.g., communication to faculty, psychoeducation, referral navigation), and licensure is not a job requirement. Because of this, non-clinical case managers typically work in a dean of students office, residence life, a case management office, or another support office.

Practical tip – NABITA recommends institutions utilize non-clinical case managers on the BIT. Because licensure and state confidentiality laws govern clinical case managers, they cannot release information without the permission of the individual to whom they are providing services. Additionally, clinical case managers’ records are privileged and kept in a privileged database. Because of this, BITs will not have appropriate access to needed information when making risk and intervention determinations. On the other hand, non-clinical case managers deliver services under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). “Non-clinical case management services and the[ir accompanying] notes are typically kept in a database such as Maxient or Symplicity. [A database] makes it much easier for non-clinical case managers to participate in BIT meetings, provide updates to referral sources, and coordinate support resources for students across the campus. Working under FERPA provides more latitude in how campus administrators can communicate and share information.”[1]

Tim Cason, M.Ed.

Consultant, TNG

[1] Schiemann, M. and Molnar, J., 2019. A Practical Guide to Case Management in Higher Education. 1st ed. National Behavioral Intervention Team Association.