Certification programs target CM departments

CARF targets acute care case management

Just when it seemed the market for case management credentials couldn’t become any more glutted, certification organizations have changed tactics, designing new certifications not for individual case managers but for entire case management programs.

Both the Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in Tucson, AZ, and the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission/URAC in Washington, DC, are developing accreditation standards for case management departments that will be available sometime next year. "Certification helped us establish a benchmark for individual practice," notes Jeanne Boling, MSN, CRRN, CDMS, CCM, executive director of the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) in Little Rock, AR. "But we’ve still faced the problem of certified individuals practicing in a system that doesn’t always understand what they do. Accreditation of case management organizations will help shape the system to help individual case managers reach the full extent of their practice capability."

Both CARF and the Commission/URAC say they are keeping the lines of communication open to avoid situations that would require case management programs to be accredited by both organizations. "We have some appropriate concerns about duplicating each other. Neither of us wants that to happen. We want to reassure the industry that we are in communication," says Don Galvin, PhD, president and chief executive officer of CARF. Galvin notes that CARF is primarily targeting facility-based case management programs, while the Commission/ URAC focuses more on payer-based programs. (For more information about the content of the standards, see boxes on p. 228 and at left.)

CMSA has kept a close watch on both accreditation standards. "Of course, we want to see the two accreditation programs as streamlined as possible," notes Boling. "We don’t want a case management organization to apply for CARF accreditation and then in addition have to apply for Commission/URAC accreditation. We are working with both groups in an effort to make these two programs complementary with no onerous duplication of efforts placed on case management programs."

"I really believe that this process will advance the evolution of case management as a profession into the year 2000," says Kathleen Ward Douglas, RN, MPA, CCM, assistant vice president for disease management for Health International, a Scottsdale, AZ-based medical management company, and chair of Commission/URAC’s case management advisory committee. "It will solidify the significance of the practice of case management. Accreditation will be a mark of distinction for purchasers — a guarantee for consumers that there is a level of excellence."

To review the public comment draft of the Commission/URAC standards, visit the organization’s Web site at www.urac.org or call (202) 216-9010. CARF can be contacted at (520) 325-1044. The organization’s Web site address is www.carf.org.