When case management organizations and advocates descend on Capitol Hill in 2017, they’ll have to assume the groundwork they’ve laid for eight years has been excavated. Years of careful education about case management, established in one-on-one meetings with people who affect healthcare policy, largely are erased. A new presidential administration and Congress are in town, and everything has changed.
“Almost everyone we’ve been working with for eight years will no longer be there on the Hill,” says Cheri Lattimer, RN, BSN, government affairs specialist for the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) in Little Rock, AR. Lattimer works in Washington, DC.
“One of the reasons I’m looking at being in DC is to help balance a pendulum swing from left to right,” Lattimer says.
“For all of us in healthcare, and for those of us who work in public policy, this first year of a new administration is forging new relationships, new contacts, and a providing a tremendous amount of education and awareness about what we see in the field,” Lattimer says.
Lattimer accepted the case management lobbying job in June, planning to spend a lot of time working on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) as it furthers Medicare payment reform and heads to the next step of care coordination.
She realized she’d have to shift priorities after the surprising results of a presidential election that gave Republicans complete power over all policy-setting entities. It will be more important than ever to show the new Congress and staff members the value case managers bring to care coordination as they make decisions that could have a long-term effect on healthcare availability and execution.
“Every time you change something, it isn’t one change; it affects consumers, providers, payers,” Lattimer says. “We all have to look at what’s value-based and cost-effective, and what is quality of care.”
Case managers play an important role in care coordination and helping patients understand anticipated changes, she says.
“I am going to see this as an opportunity and glass half-full and not half-empty,” Lattimer says. “I am going to hope that we as case managers do what is for the benefit of our families and patients.”