What is Case Management?

Case management is a collaborative process, following public health principles, that coordinates an individual's medical needs over an entire episode of illness or response process. Case management includes a range of activities specific to the needs of the individual and the needs of the community.

According to Public Health Interventions - Applications for Public Health Nursing Practice (PDF), developed by the Minnesota Department of Health in 2001, case management is characterized by its:

  • Focus on development of the self-care capabilities of communities, systems, individuals, and families
  • Promotion of the efficient use of resources
  • Stimulation of the creation of new services where needed
  • Assurance of quality care along a continuum of service delivery
  • Decrease in the fragmentation of care across settings
  • Enhancement of clients' quality of life
  • Cost containment

With disease case management, you have two patients - the community and the patient you are working with. Your job is to quickly interrupt the disease transmission and engage and retain the patient in care.

Goals and Levels

If performed in a timely manner, case management provides an effective framework for the public health nurse to stop the spread of disease.



Role of Health Departments

The case manager (commonly a Local Board of Health (LBOH) public health nurse or MDPH employee) is directly responsible for an individual's case management for specific infectious diseases in the community in which they serve.

The case manager:

  • Follows up on identified cases
  • Assesses each individual's situation
  • Formulates a plan
  • Builds relationships with patients to ensure they are receiving the medical care and other services they need in order to recover from their disease.

The LBOH is often the link between the state health department and the person with the infectious disease in the community. The LBOH ensures appropriate actions are taken in alignment with state guidance to monitor disease and stop the spread of infection.

One of the ways it does this is by using MDPH's MAVEN system. MAVEN is a surveillance tool used to inform cities and towns of disease events. It provides a system for information tracking, disease investigation, and case management efforts and is shared with the state health department.

Note: Some LBOH outsource case management to visiting nurse associations or other external organizations.


Disease case management is a preferred strategy for infectious diseases to ensure diagnosed individuals are able to get optimal care, as well as to stop the spread of the disease.

Regardless of the disease, case management includes steps such as assessment, assurance and planning.


The components of the case management process include:

  1. Case identification
  2. Case investigation
  3. Engagement and retention of care
  4. Case management completion

Each will be described on the following pages.

Remember, for some infectious diseases, case management by the LBOH is required under Massachusetts regulations.

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