Here are some basic facts that should help you make decisions about which certification programs best fit your personal experience, expertise, and professional needs. Information below is summarized directly from candidate handbooks supplied by each credentialing board. For complete eligibility criteria and other relevant data, contact the appropriate credentialing board for the complete candidate handbook.

1. Nurse case manager (RN-NCM)

Credentialing board: American Nurses Credentialing Center, 600 Maryland Ave. SW, Suite 100 West, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (800) 284-2378.

Eligibility criteria:

Candidates who currently hold a core nursing specialty certification must:

• hold an active RN license in the United States or its territories;

• hold a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing (transcript showing conferral of degree must be submitted);

• have functioned within the scope of a registered nurse case manager a minimum of 2,000 hours within the past two years;

• show proof of a current, core nursing specialty certification.

Candidates who do not hold a core nursing specialty certification must:

• hold an active RN license in the United States or its territories;

• hold a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing (transcript showing conferral of degree must be submitted);

• have functioned as a registered nurse for 4,000 hours, with at least 2,000 of those hours as a nurse case manager within the past two years;

• must take an expanded version of the test, including "core specialty” questions.

Registration fee: For members of the American Nurses Association: $100. Non-members: $200. The core specialty test costs an additional $50, while late fees, alternate date fees, and special test site fees are $35 each.

1999 testing dates: June 26 and Oct. 2, 1999.

Recertification: Certification is valid for five years. Recertification requirements include:

• 1,500 hours of practice (full-time faculty can apply up to 500 hours of nursing case management didactic lecture in a baccalaureate or higher nursing program toward the practice requirement);

• a minimum of two of the following:

— 75 contact hours of continuing education;

— five academic semester hour credits (or six quarter hours);

— participation as a presenter/lecturer in five formal continuing education or professional education offerings;

— evidence of publication of one article in a refereed journal, book, chapter, or published research paper in an appropriate area of nursing;

— 120 hours of on-site case management clinical preceptorship supervision of baccalaureate or higher degree nursing students.

Exam content outline: The test covers five components: Assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, and interaction.

2. Care manager certified (CMC)

Credentialing board: National Academy of Certified Care Managers, 3389 Sheridan St., Suite 170, Hollywood, FL 33021. Telephone: (800) 962-2260.

Eligibility criteria:

• Candidates with master’s-level education in social work, nursing, gerontology, counseling, or psychology must have two years of supervised (50 hours/year) paid, full-time care management experience that includes face-to-face interviewing, assessment, care planning, problem-solving, and follow-up.

• Candidates with bachelor’s-level education must have four years of paid full-time experience with clients in fields such as social work, nursing, mental health, counseling, or care management, two years of which must be supervised (50 hours/year), paid, full-time care management experience.

• Candidates with a high school diploma or any advanced degree in an area unrelated to care management must have six years of paid, full-time, direct experience with clients in fields such as social work, mental health, nursing, counseling, or care management, two years of which must be supervised (50 hours/year), paid full-time care management experience.

Registration fee: $225; $20 for candidate handbook and application forms; $20 for reprocessing of incomplete or incorrect applications.

Refunds: Candidates withdrawing from the exam may receive a full refund less a $50 processing fee. Requests must be made in writing 10 working days prior to scheduled examination date.

1999 testing dates: Unlimited. Candidates may schedule the certification exam seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Testing sites: Test is computer-generated and can be taken at 250 Sylvan Testing sites nationwide.

Recertification: Three years after initial certification, candidates must demonstrate that they have maintained 1,500 hours of professional care management practice and completed 15 contact hours per year in approved continuing education. The recertification fee is not yet established, as the examination process is less than two years old.

Additional comments: NACCM recognizes the diversity of the practice of care management. The term assumes the broadest possible meaning of the roles, functions, responsibilities, and educational backgrounds of care managers. The successful applicant must have full-time direct access with persons with chronic disabilities and supervised care management experience that includes face-to-face interviewing, assessment, care planning, problem-solving, and follow-up.

Exam content outline: Test covers five major domains or categories: assessment; establishing goals and a plan of care; coordinating and linking formal and informal resources to meet goals and implement plan of care; managing and monitoring ongoing provision and need for care; and legal and ethical issues.

Sample question: A consumer living in supervised housing becomes psychologically unstable and is returned to a local mental hospital. What is the appropriate procedure to follow during the consumer’s hospitalization?

3. Case management administrator certified (CMAC)

Credentialing board: Center for Case Management, 6 Pleasant St., South Natick, MA 01760. Telephone: (508) 651-2600.

Eligibility criteria:

Candidate must fall into one of the categories described below:

• Master’s degree and one year experience in case management administration.

• Bachelor’s degree and three years experience in case management administration.

• Master’s degree and three years experience as a case manager.

• Bachelor’s degree and five years experience as a case manager.

Registration fee: $300.

1999 testing dates: April and October, 1999. (Specific dates not yet determined.)

Additional information: "Persons considered as administrators, for the purpose of this program, are those who are accountable and responsible for management of programs that provide care coordination along the continuum. Examples of titles considered to be administrative are: Department Head, Director, Vice President, Department Coordinator, Department Supervisor, Department Manager, and others.”

Exam content outline: With a focus on leadership, management, case management, and systems-thinking principles, the following content areas will be covered: 1) identification of at-risk populations; 2) assessment of clinical systems components; 3) development of strategies to manage at-risk populations; 4) assessment of organizational culture; 5) market assessment and strategic planning; 6) human resource management; 7) outcomes measurement, monitoring, and management.

4. Certified case manager (CCM)

Credentialing board: Commission for Case Manager Certification, 1835 Rohlwing Road, Suite D, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008. Telephone: (847) 818-0292. Fax: (847) 394-2172.

Eligibility criteria:

• Minimum educational requirement of post-secondary program in a field that promotes the physical, psychosocial, or vocational well-being of the persons served.

• License or certification awarded upon completion of education requirement outlined above must have been obtained by the candidate’s passing an examination in his/her area of specialization.

• Completion of the education program’s licensing or certification process must grant the holder of the license or certification the ability to legally and independently practice without the supervision of another licensed professional, and to perform all six essential activities of case management, including: assessment, planning, implementation, coordination, monitoring, and evaluation.

• Candidate must have verifiable employment experience in one of three categories: 1) 12 months of acceptable full-time case management employment or its equivalent under the supervision of a CCM for the 12 months; or 2) 24 months of acceptable full-time employment or its equivalent; or 3) 12 months of acceptable full-time employment or its equivalent as a supervisor, supervising the activities of individuals who provide direct case management services.

• All applicants must hold a professional license or certification that allows the holder to legally and independently practice without the supervision of another licensed professional, and to perform the six essential activities of case management listed above within each of the following five core components: coordination and service delivery, physical and psychological factors, benefit systems and cost benefit analysis, case management concepts, and community resources.

Registration fee: $130 nonrefundable application fee plus $160 examination fee, due when candidate sits for the exam, or total certification fee of $290.

Application deadline: Jan. 15, 1999, for June test; July 15, 1999, for December test.

Refunds: $130 application fee is nonrefundable.

1999 testing dates: June 5 and Dec. 4, 1999.

Testing sites: Candidates are sent a list of established testing sites roughly six weeks prior to examination date.

Recertification: Five years after initial certification, candidates must verify completion of 80 hours of approved continuing education in the past five years to avoid re-examination. There is a recertification fee of $150.

Exam content outline: Test covers the five domains described in the eligibility criteria, which include: coordination and service delivery, physical and psychological factors, benefit systems and cost-benefit analysis, case management concepts, and community resources.

Sample question: Before releasing information about a client with disabilities to an interested party, the case manager should first obtain the client’s permission. In order for the client with disabilities to give consent, three elements must be satisfied. Two are voluntariness and sufficient information about what is being consented to. What is the third?

5. Certified disability management specialist (CDMS)

Credentialing board: Certification of Disability Management Specialists Commission (formerly Certification of Insurance Rehabilitation Specialists Commission), 1835 Rohlwing Road, Suite E, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008. Telephone: (847) 394-2106. Fax: (847) 394-2172.

Eligibility criteria:

Candidates must meet requirements for one of the following five eligibility categories:

1a) valid registered nurse or certified rehabilitation counselor certification/license plus a minimum of 24 months of acceptable full-time employment, or its equivalent, providing direct rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities receiving benefits from a disability compensation system;

1b) master’s or doctorate degree with very specific course requirements granted by a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body at the time the degree was conferred plus a minimum of 24 months of acceptable full-time employment, or its equivalent, providing direct rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities receiving benefits from a disability compensation system;

2) master’s or doctorate degree with very specific course requirements granted by a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body at the time the degree was conferred plus a minimum of 36 months of acceptable full-time employment, or its equivalent, providing direct rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities receiving benefits from a disability compensation system (the differences between categories 1a and 2 are in the course requirements listed);

3) bachelor’s degree with a major in rehabilitation granted by a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body at the time the degree was conferred plus a minimum of 36 months of acceptable full-time employment, or its equivalent, providing direct services to individuals with disabilities receiving benefits from a disability compensation system;

4) bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree in any discipline granted by a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body at the time the degree was conferred plus a minimum of 60 months of acceptable full-time employment, or its equivalent, providing direct services to individuals with disabilities receiving benefits from a disability compensation system.

Registration fee: $130 nonrefundable application fee plus $160 examination fee, due when candidate sits for exam, or total certification fee of $290.

Refunds: $130 application fee is nonrefundable.

1998 testing dates: Apr. 24, 1999 (application must be postmarked by Jan. 1, 1999), and Oct. 30, 1999 (application must be postmarked by July 1, 1999).

Testing sites: Test sites are arranged on the basis of geographic distribution of the candidates sitting for each examination in order to minimize travel expenses for as many candidates as possible. Lists of established sites are sent to candidates one month prior to the examination date.

Recertification: Five years after initial certification, candidate must verify completion of 80 hours of approved continuing education in the past five years to avoid re-examination. There is a $150 certification renewal fee.

Exam content outline: Test covers job placement and vocational assessment, case management and human disabilities, rehabilitation services and care, disability legislation, and forensic rehabilitation.

Sample question: When an insurance claims representative talks to a disability management specialist about the "claim severity” of a case, what is the claims representative referring to?

6. Certified professional in health care quality (CPHQ)

Credentialing board: Healthcare Quality Certification Board of the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), P.O. Box 1880, San Gabriel, CA 91778. Telephone: (626) 286-8074. Fax: (626) 286-9415. Web address: www.cphq-hqcb.org.

Eligibility criteria:

• minimum of one of the following: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree in any field, or valid RN or LPN license, or valid accreditation in medical records technology;

• minimum of two years of full-time experience or its part-time equivalent (4,160 hours) in health care quality, case, utilization, and/or risk management activities in the last five years by the date of the exam.

• Alternative eligibility preapplication review may be appropriate in some cases if one but not both of the above requirements are met. Request the Candidate Handbook for further details and specific requirements. Deadline to submit required materials is 90 days prior to the exam.

Registration fee: Early bird (postmarked by 6/30): $300 for non-NAHQ members, $235 for NAHQ members; regular fee (postmarked by 8/31): $350 for non-NAHQ members; $285 for NAHQ members.

Refunds: $85 of each registration fee is nonrefundable to cover processing costs. Candidates who withdraw prior to exam may receive full refund of remaining amount by making a request in writing five days prior to the examination date.

1999 testing date: Nov. 13, 1999. Non-Saturday testing for religious reasons is available.

Testing sites: More than 30 sites nationwide in multiple states. Candidates living more than 400 miles from a testing site may request a special testing site for an additional nonrefundable fee of $100.

Recertification: Candidates must apply for recertification every two years. Recertification cost is $95. Candidates must complete 30 hours or more of acceptable continuing education every two years and submit a summary of continuing education activities form. Recertification material submitted after the Jan. 31 postmark deadline must include an additional $25 penalty for a total of $120.

Exam content outline: Management and leadership; information management; education, training and communication; performance measurement and improvement; accreditation and licensure.

Sample question: Which of the following processes is most cost-effective in preventing unnecessary resource consumption in the hospital?

7. Certified rehabilitation registered nurse (CRRN)

Credentialing board: Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board, 4700 W. Lake Ave., Glenview, IL 60025-1485. Telephone: (800) 229-7530.

Eligibility criteria:

• Current, unrestricted RN license plus at least two years of practice as registered professional nurse in rehabilitation nursing within the last five years. Employment must be verified by two professional colleagues, one of whom is a CRRN, or an immediate supervisor.

Registration fee: $195 for Association of Rehabilitation Nurses members (ARN), $285 for nonmembers.

Refunds: If candidates are unable to test at a scheduled date, they must reschedule. There are no refunds.

1998 testing date: Electronic testing available at multiple sites all year long. Call Assessment Systems Inc. at (800) 470-8756 to set up an appointment. Bring application and fee in when you take the test.

Recertification: Five years after initial certification, professionals either must take the examination again or submit verification of 60 hours of continuing education or 60 points of credit in the past five years. Two-thirds of continuing education hours must be approved by national or state nursing organizations. Also, two-thirds of contact hours must be rehab-related. Recertification deadline is Sept. 30.

Exam content outline: Test covers rehabilitation and rehabilitation nursing models and theories, functional health patterns, rehabilitation team members, community re-entry, and legislative and legal issues.

Sample question: What cranial nerve is affected in a patient who cannot smile but can chew without problems?

8. Continuity of care certification, advanced (A-CCC)

Credentialing board: National Board for Certification in Continuity of Care, 7313 Southview Court, Fairfax Station, VA 22039. Telephone: (860) 586-7525. (Editor’s note: At press time, Hospital Case Management had not received confirmation of the preceding address.)

Eligibility criteria:

• open to multiple disciplines, including nursing, social work, therapy, dietitians, and physicians;

• bachelor’s degree plus two years of full-time experience within the last five years in continuity of care, or equivalent part-time experience (4,000 hours) within the past five years. Verification of employment is required.

Registration fee: $300.

Application deadline: March 30, 1999 ( for May test), Sept. 30, 1999 (for November test).

Refunds: Candidates who withdraw from the exam may receive a refund of $75 or reschedule for the next exam for an additional fee of $125. Requests for refunds or rescheduling must be made in writing within 30 days of testing date.

1999 testing dates: May 15 and Nov. 6, 1999.

Testing sites: Multiple sites available nationwide in 11 states. In addition, special testing centers can be requested for candidates who live more than 500 miles from the nearest testing site. There is a $100 fee for special testing sites.

Recertification: Certification is valid for five years from the date of initial certification. To achieve recertification, a candidate must: 1) provide documented evidence of at least 50 contact hours of continuing education related to continuity of care within the five-year certification period, or 2) successfully pass the certification examination. Both options require payment of recertification fee.

Additional information: "The NBCCC recognizes that continuity of care includes many factors beyond those traditionally associated with discharge planning and case management, and that these important components of the total health and social support system are included in continuity of care,” according to NBCCC’s Handbook for Candidates.

Exam content outline: Test covers continuity of care process, health care delivery systems, professional issues, standards, reimbursement, regulation and legal issues, and clinical issues.

Sample question: In planning discharge services for the elderly, it is important to remember that the majority of services will be delivered in what health care setting?