STAFF FEATURE: Debbie Langer, LMSW, Clinical Program Coordinator/Utilization Review

One of the newest members to the Inner Door Center® team is Debbie Langer, LMSW, Clinical Program Coordinator/Utilization
Review.  Debbie is an asset to the team and provides everyone with a fresh prospective and friendly smile.


Explain your job title and what you do at the Inner Door Center®:

An LMSW is licensed master’s level social worker; I have a clinical focus, as opposed to an administrative focus. A social worker in general works with the client and their system- work, school, family, community, culture and the system’s influence on the individual. The thought is if you impact change in the system the individual will be able to create change for themselves.  The psychologist focus could be said to be a focus on changing the individual and their perceptions to impact their system.

As the Clinical Program Coordinator/Utilization Review- I contact insurances for days to support clients who are in partial hospitalization program/intensive outpatient programming. I create the American Psychiatric Guidelines grid that supports the level of care we request on several measures: weight, supports, suicidality, motivation, purging behavior, compulsions to over exercise, co-morbid factors and geographical availability for programming. I support Kecia (our Medical Assistant) in scheduling collateral appointments with Dr Pohl MD, psychiatrist and Dr Efros MD, internist.  Monitor medication during programming and interface with family to support success in programming. I also do assessments of new eating disorder clients, for either Wednesday night yoga group, partial hospitalization program/intensive outpatient program interests and refer to available therapist at the Center for individual treatment as desired.

I facilitate team clinical meetings on Friday and will facilitate meetings for treatment planning with the therapists. I will be supervising two students in the fall, both masters level social work students.


Where did you/do you go to school and for what?

My undergraduate degree is from Michigan State University, Go Green! I majored in social work and psychology. My favorite class was with an older prof, who did video interviewing, role playing and review.

I received my master’s degree from Wayne State University, in their one year, advanced standing program.


What does a day at work look like for you?

After juggling keys for the client locker and medicine cabinet, I settle into report writing, insurance calls, program inquiries and dealing with issues that come up in program for the clients and therapists.  I do outreach to local agencies, hospitals and hopefully in the fall, also to schools.  I so enjoy talking with the therapist, the dietician, office staff and Bev about the clinical issues and needs of our clients. Every day is different, challenging and rewarding.


What is your favorite part of your job?

I most enjoy saying hi to the clinicians, the clients and staff, sharing stories, concerns and creative interventions.


What made you interested in working with patients with eating disorders/substance abuse issues/addictions/etc.?

In seventh grade I had to write what I would want to do as a job focus when I grew up, my answer then and still is working with young girls/women who struggle with everyday issues and help them learn to normalize their anxiety and concerns.  The more I learned about eating disorders in my past job, the more I became fascinated with the struggles these clients faced. I was always pushing the system to support the intricate clinical needs, extended stays and complicated treatment pictures that included the individual’s mind set, the family history and often trauma history. There was only so far my voice and advocacy could go on the inside of the insurance business. I see eating disorders as being at a bold jumping point, similar to where Autism issues were 10 years ago and now there is a state mandated law supporting treatment/intervention for Autism in Michigan. Imagine if eating disorders becomes as recognized, supported and successful at getting clients’ needs met through insurance and treatment focus!


What are your career goals/aspirations?

I want to create order to my daily tasks, paperwork demands and learn what my job responsibilities are more thoroughly. I hope to successfully supervise our interns, teaching them needed and helpful skills to master therapeutic interventions with our clients. I hope my knowledge base and wealth of information around eating disorders, family intervention and treatment needs continues to grow.

I hope someday to find a nice, sunny spot to retire or find my next career at a camp ground or residential camp so I have an excuse to be outdoors, in the sun and sing to my heart’s content. Or become a stand-up comedian.


What are your favorite hobbies?

I love spending time with my pets, two dogs and two cats. I like to read, cook and pop-up camp. I would love a cottage, by a lake to lounge around.


Who inspires you the most?

My 15 year old daughter’s expansive imagination, enthusiasm and openness to try anything once. She is the most daring, athletic, caring and unique person I know.  Also, the bravery of everyday people moving beyond trauma, asserting their independence and learning new skills.  Ok, so maybe my  94 year old mother, who keeps going every day despite severe arthritis, is inspiring, having been over heard at her birthday celebration this year saying, “who knows maybe next year on my 95th, they (meaning me) will celebrate in a big way!) She has never given up on anything.


What is your favorite book?

Prince of Tides and Exodus.


What kind of music do you listen to?

Beatles, James Taylor, Little River Band, Wicked and Bruce Springsteen!


An interesting/unusual fact about you that you’d like to share:

I am an only child, who has an only child. My husband has 40 immediate family members, parents, bro/sisters, aunts, uncles and first cousins!

My mother was 44 when she had me; you all can do the math.

I have the same best friend, since second grade, she is moving back to Michigan, after being in Tennessee for six years, this makes me very happy.


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