CMSA reaches out to hospital case managers

Group to sponsor HCM summit this fall

Although the Little Rock, AR-based Case Management Society of American (CMSA) has represented case managers in all practice settings since its founding in 1990, recent survey data suggested that many hospital-based case managers either weren’t aware of the organization or didn’t know what it could do for them.

To rectify the situation, CMSA has launched an outreach initiative to let hospital case managers know the organization isn’t just for case managers in managed care organizations or other practice settings along the continuum of care.

"Even though CMSA had always included and encouraged membership for hospital case managers, it realized that some outreach was indicated because of the difficulty for any case manager of being able to access resources and identify what kinds of support and educational and networking opportunities might be available to them," says Sandra L. Lowery, BSN, CRRN, CCM, president of both CMSA and Consultants in Case Management Intervention in Francestown, NH.

Kathleen Moreo, immediate past president of CMSA, says the organization is well aware of the special challenges hospital-based case managers face. "Hospital-based case managers, like the rest of us, are in the midst of a struggle with outcomes," she says. "The main [difference] is that in a hospital, caseloads rapidly change, so, unlike the rest of us, they are not working across a continuum of change. Hospital case managers are different from the others — and that presents its own unique challenge."

CMSA is taking steps to meet that challenge. The society offers acute care and social work special interest groups through a membership with CMSA. Members of the acute care case management special interest group are allowed access to an around-the-clock on-line discussion forum where members can post questions and concerns and confer with colleagues across the country.

At the CMSA annual conference, facilitated special interest group meetings are held. "The national conference will give hospital case managers an opportunity to meet and network face-to-face with providers as well as payers, thus setting the stage for building relationships," says Anne Llewellyn, facilitator for the acute care special interest group.

"The special interest group is seen by the health care community as a real resource," Lowery says. "Often, we will get requests for a speaker or to respond to an issue or question. We’ll often contact the facilitator of the special interest group, who is also a member, to respond to an industry request that comes through the CMSA office."

Danielle Marshall, director of member/chapter services, says acute care case management "has probably been our fastest-growing membership, so obviously, we’re hitting a need."

On Nov. 9, 2000, CMSA will work with the Utilization Management/Case Management Best Practice Conference and Expo to offer an all-day preconference management summit specifically geared to hospital case managers, called Hospital Case Management 2000. The preconference summit will be followed by an acute care track at the second annual UM/CM Best Practice Conference, Nov. 10-11.

The conference will provide an opportunity for hospital case managers to network with other professionals who will be on hand to provide financial, clinical and technological tips on how to go about improving practices, says Llewellyn. Sponsored jointly by CMSA and the Washington, DC-based American Accreditation HealthCare Commission/ URAC, the event will be held in San Diego.

Other opportunities for hospital case managers include:

• participation with the leadership of CMSA in several initiatives related to case management professional development and support locally, nationally, and internationally;

• an acute care track at the organization’s annual conference in Tampa;

• participation at the local level in CMSA’s 70 chapters throughout the United States, many of which offer educational programs geared toward acute care issues;

• fax-on-demand information sheets;

• Information Central, a research service for CMSA members;

• CE programs on-line at CMSA’s Web site, free to members.

Future initiatives include:

• development and distribution of a CMSA-sponsored Core Curriculum (summer 2000);

• the second and third scientific papers on case management related to Empowerment and Care Coordination (the first, on Adherence, is already available through CMSA);

• a preconference Case Management Institute, held Nov. 12, 2000, in Baltimore in conjunction with the annual conference of the Disease Management Association of America.

Editor’s note: An application for membership to CMSA is enclosed in this issue. For more information about CMSA, call (501) 225-2229 or visit CMSA’s Web site: www.cmsa.org.