CMSA responds to NH Board of Nursing

Professional associations advocate for members

The New England chapter of the Little Rock-based Case Management Society of America contacted the national office in mid-August to ask for assistance in addressing a decision by the New Hampshire State Board of Nursing in Concord to deny renewal of the registered nurse licenses of several nurses working as case managers in that state. The response was swift: A letter went out within days to the board expressing concern and asking for clarification about its recent decisions. (See letter, p. 154.)

"The local chapters of CMSA and other profession organizations provide wonderful leadership. When case managers have concerns, they should turn to their local chapters for help," explains Danielle Marshall, director of membership/chapter service and special interest groups for the national office of CMSA. "And when local chapters want to add the authority of the national association in order to reach resolution of professional issues, they have access to a direct link to the national office."

CT takes a stand

CMSA has intervened effectively in several states at the request of local chapters concerned about legislation and other rulings that affect case management practice. "The state workers’ comp commission sent out a memo proposing changes to the workers’ comp laws that would have been in direct violation of the CMSA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. I was out of town when the memo came out. When I returned, I was inundated with phone calls from local members who were angry and concerned. I called national for advice on how to address this issue. I felt I didn’t have the clout myself to talk to the workers’ comp commissioner directly, but that the national office did," says Sandra G. Colahan, RN, CCM, a nurse case manager with Aetna in Branford, CT, and president of the Connecticut chapter of CMSA.

With assistance and support from the national office, the Connecticut chapter took the following steps:

• Sent a written response to the workers’ comp commissioner who issued the memo asking him to clarify the rationale behind his proposal and explaining that the changes would violate the CMSA Standards of Practice.

• Asked local members who had called to voice their concerns also to write letters to the commissioner.

• Invited the head of the Connecticut workers’ comp commission to attend the state chapter conference to engage in a dialogue with case managers.

"She [Colahan] approached the problem in a very professional, nonconfrontational way. She alerted the workers’ comp board that its proposal had potential legal and ethical implications for case managers. She encouraged the workers’ comp board to look at the standards of practice. Connecticut later ruled in a way that was more acceptable to everyone," notes Marshall.

What happened between the Connecticut chapter and national was a wonderful example of a state/national partnership, she adds. "I want local CMSA members to know that I am here to serve them in whatever way I can."

"When something slaps you in the face, you must be proactive," adds Kathleen Moreo, RN, BSN, BPSHSA, CDMS, ABDA, RN,Cm, owner and president of PRIME, a case management consulting and education firm in Miramar, FL, and president of CMSA. "Education is the key. We are a rapidly evolving, multidisciplinary practice. I’m sure other practices have faced similar barriers in their formative years. As case managers, we work to validate our worth to payers on a consistent basis. Now we must do the same with policy-makers."