SOLD OUT! A report from the 2016 CMSA Annual Conference

The CMSA Annual Conference took place in Long Beach, California this past week.  It was the first time in years that I attended the full week of conference events and I was excited to participate. The general mood was extremely uplifting and positive. People were happy to be there and fully engaged in both entertainment and educational offerings. I thrived on the fabulous networking and the atmosphere of collegiality. International attendees who I met represented South Africa, Germany, China, and Singapore. That says a lot about how important professional case management has become around the globe, not just in the United States.

A couple highlights worth mentioning…

My dear friends and trusted colleagues Ellen Fink-Samnick and Hussein Tahan were honored with the CMSA Award of Service Excellence and the Lifetime Achievement Award, respectively. I cannot think of more deserving recipients and was honored to have witnessed the presentations at the Gala Recognition Reception.  On top of that, the Case Management Society of New England was recognized with a Chapter Excellence Award. CMSNE raises its own bar year after year.  When good friends and my home chapter are recognized for their fabulous contributions to professional case management, it doesn’t get much better!

Wolters Kluwer’s booth was hopping busy with both a scheduled and an impromptu book signing. COLLABORATE for Professional Case Management sold out, as did the newest edition to the professional case manager’s reference library, The CMSA Core Curriculum for Case Management, 3rd ed.  Although sold out, orders were still being taken at Friday’s post-conference session, Setting the Standard Through Application of the New CMSA Core Curriculum. The all-star panel of presenters were both honored and humbled by the reaction of the capacity crowd.  It was a great launch for the new Core Curriculum text. Although advanced copies were made available at the conference, pre-publication orders are being taken at the WK website. Just follow the link provided above.

Next year’s annual conference is being held in Austin, Texas. Hope to see you there!


Soon to be released! The CMSA Core Curriculum for Case Management (3rd ed.)

My esteemed co-editor/author Dr Hussein Tahan and I just wrapped up the last bit of work – the Index – this past week!  So much has gone into re-working the third edition but none of it would have been possible without the foresight of case management pioneer, Suzanne K. Powell. Suzanne had the vision and assembled the first edition published in 2000 (with Donna Ignatavicius) and carried through as she led the second edition in 2008 (with Hussein Tahan).

The latest edition advances professional case management practice even further, “This comprehensive, expertly-written guide provides those directly or indirectly involved in case management with information about best practices, descriptions of key terms, essential skills, and tools that fulfill the current Case Management Society of America’s (CMSA) standards and requirements. Addressing the full spectrum of  healthcare professional roles and environments, this is both a crucial certification study guide and vital clinical resource for the case management professionals in all specialty areas, from students to veteran case managers” (Wolters Kluwer, 2016). Highlights of the new edition include:

  • NEW text boxes highlighting key information and vital practices in each chapter
  • NEW and updated Standards of Practice implications in each chapter
  • NEW and updated content on transitions of care, community-based care, care coordination, Value-Based Purchasing, ethics and social media, the impacts of health care reform, and digital technology
  • NEW and updated content on accreditation in case management
  • NEW chapter that lists key additional resources, by topic

This official publication of the Case Management Society of America, embeds the CMSA Standards of Practice for Case Management directly within each chapter to demonstrate the applicability of the standards across the entire care continuum.


The 3rd edition will be available through Wolters Kluwer, Amazon, and other fine book sellers in August. If you wish to register for publication updates, feel free to visit Amazon’s page, here.

A limited number of advance print copies will be available at the CMSA Annual Conference and Expo held at the Long Beach Convention Center in Los Angeles from June 21 – 23. There is a special post-con session the morning of June 24th from 8am-12pm to discuss the book and its importance in today’s high-stakes healthcare environment. Visit the CMSA Conference page for registration details. Hope to see you there!


Reviews on Amazon

Ellen Fink-Samnick and I are humbled by the response to COLLABORATE for Professional Case Management: A Universal Competency-Based Paradigm. These are just three examples of the feedback we are receiving about …

“Case management and interprofessional collaboration and cooperation have recently become integral to care delivery regardless of the healthcare setting. These have proven to add value to the consumer of healthcare services and to the professionals responsible for care provision. despite the popularity of case management, involved care providers continue to learn what case management is on-the-job. The authors of COLLABORATE have done an excellent job in sharing their collective practical knowledge, wisdom, and experience in an easy to read and apply textbook that can be used by the diverse healthcare and case management professionals. This textbook highlights the essential aspects of the fundamental structure, processes, and outcomes characteristics of case management practice; its history and roots; and its relationships to care coordination and transitions of care. COLLABORATE also provides a competency-based approach to the development of the case manager’s role; a topic that is not commonly deliberated in the literature. The list of competencies addressed in COLLABORATE is comprehensive and the practical tools shared on each competency makes their applicability in practice easily manageable.

COLLABORATE succeeds in offering a “go to” guide to case managers and other healthcare professionals interested in or are struggling with the practice. The value of this textbook is broad; it is essential for academic programs which aim to prepare future case managers. It also is equally important in the practice settings – use for orientation of those new to the role, in that it assists case managers in acquiring necessary knowledge, skills and competencies for better patient care outcomes. Additionally, it is a MUST read for case management leaders who may be struggling in transforming or advancing their programs. Without a doubt COLLABORATE supports the professional practice of case managers and their colleagues – the various members of the interprofessional healthcare teams. Congratulations to these trusted and credible authors for delivering a textbook that is a MUST HAVE for any case manager for years to come!”

Hussein M. Tahan, PhD, RN
Case Management Author, Researcher, Evaluator, and Consultant

“The collaboration between Teresa and Ellen to provide us with such a tremendous framework for case management structure is the best I have had the privilege to be exposed to and read.

This is a wonderful book to hand someone when they approach you and ask, “Now exactly what is Case Management and how does it work?”

Joint communication and decision-making processes with the goal of satisfying the health care needs of a target population is true collaboration. Our health care system is finally coming to the realization that better quality patient care and desired outcomes are achieved by the contribution and collaboration of the entire team within a patient’s healthcare circle.

All healthcare providers, whether they are physicians, specialists, therapists, social workers, clinic nurses, home health nurses, IP facility nurses, case managers or our BH providers, are learning that there should not be any hierarchy within our collaborative team for the member to succeed and meet their goals. We are all equally accountable for our patients to meet their desirable outcomes.

This book is an excellent guide/resource for new case managers learning about there challenging new roles or for the mature case manager that is tasked with growing their knowledge of the every changing healthcare system we have today.
This book is not only for individuals but for markets that are building a case management department. That is how detailed the information and resources are in this book.”

Amazon Customer

“This is an amazing book for case management professionals and especially for case management leaders. There is an excellent review of the history of case management and a deep analysis of the many aspects of case management. There are abundant references and case scenarios throughout each chapter.

For those starting in case management, this book may be a bit too in depth but as one’s experience increases with increasing responsibilities and leadership roles, this book must be read.”

Amazon Customer

Welcome to 2016

Technology and the Internet are wonderful tools for communication and interaction. However, both can grow to be masters instead of servants of those seeking to leverage their power. Recognizing that its Internet presence had grown beyond its usefulness and become more burdensome than valuable, Ascent Care Management, LLC is consolidating to a single site here at WordPress.

This exciting development kicks off 2016 allowing a more focused effort to grow CM World into a more regularly published editorial feature blog. More importantly, this site serves as a central point of communication about COLLABORATE® for Professional Case Management: A Universal Competency-Based Paradigm (Treiger and Fink-Samnick)  which is available at Wolters Kluwer, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other fine resellers.

Please take a moment to peruse the expanded web pages and watch for more news about the COLLABORATE® for Professional Case Management paradigm soon.

Do Health Care Consumers and Caregivers Understand The Difference Between Support and Abuse?

Recently, I witnessed a rather disturbing chain of events while on vacation with my spouse.   As I previously shared, my husband is disabled following a stroke in 2014. After a year of rehabilitation we resumed traveling, mostly cruising. We purchased a collapsible scooter to make getting around the ship and some of the ports a bit easier.  In all honesty more often than not he walks around the ship using a quad cane and enjoying his independence.

A big part of cruising revolves around taking excursions upon reaching port cities. We’ve applied a measured approach as to our activity. If either of us is not up to it, we simply cancel a tour rather than grit our teeth and soldier on through it. We don’t prod each other into overdoing something. This approach has worked well for us because we exercise good judgment and respect our physical tolerances. But just the other day, we witnessed two gentlemen join one of our excursions; one of whom should have been in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.  Even the untrained eye saw how much he struggled and more than a handful of fellow passengers were distressed with what was going on. However, his traveling companion (be him friend or relative) appeared to be oblivious or unaffected by the situation and continued to push him…. literally.

He pushed him up the stairs of the bus, pushed him into the seat (which was directly behind us), and pushed him out of the bus once we arrived at our tour destination. Mutterances such as “come on, do it” or “just keep going” were clear enough to hear. As the older man passed our seat, a number of us saw that he was incontinent and his blue jeans wet and the zipper left down.  Another gentleman traveler pointed this out to the companion who only responded with “yeah, it’s a bit too late for that”.  It was not a matter of misunderstanding what had been pointed out, he spoke clear, unaccented English. It broke my heart that the man just did not appear to be mindful of his companion’s physical state, nor that his dignity was suffering a massive blow… even if he may have been too confused to realize it.

Once seated in the row behind us, the older man’s labored breathing, congested cough, and incontinence were cause enough for me to alert the tour guide of my concern. She made an inquiry prior to departing the terminal but the companion insisted he was doing the right thing because he was told “he needed to get out and keep active”.

So what does this have to do with case management?

Granted, I was not privy to any of the clinical facts regarding the man’s health nor the context in which the instructions were given. Basically, it is impossible to know what was said or not said but in the back of my mind I could hear the voice of a well-meaning health care professional dispensing a generalized recommendation of increasing physical activity  at an office visit or as part of transition plan instructions. Case managers participate in countless team meetings to discuss client status and progress. We espouse the importance of caregiver involvement in recovery from illness. We urge caregivers to allow their loved ones time and space to make their own efforts and to praise  attempts to regain self-sufficiency. However, are we being clear enough and is that lack of clarity increasing the risk of unintentional abuse and/or neglect by caregivers?

In this instance, if taken at face value it occurred to me that the companion may have misinterpreted fairly common instructions which are given and intended to relieve caregiver anxiety as to what they should and should not do for the recovering patient. Additional study into what we think we are telling our clients versus what they are hearing may prove quite illuminating and serve as a gateway to meaningful change in our we teach and coach. Does it mean we need to change our entire approach to providing care instructions? No, but we probably need to make a few adjustments.

So the next time you are care planning or explaining discharge instructions with a caregiver and client, consider the following…

  • Assess – Ask a few questions as to what are the usual activities in which the individual participates and if there are any upcoming events such as travel, etc. which might be out of the ordinary.
  • Provide context – When providing instructions, place them into contexts that the client and caregiver understand. For example, if the client normally climbs down a flight of stairs to get to the mailbox, make sure the physical therapist weighs in on whether this is something the person should resume doing straightaway.  In the case of international travel, this requires a bit more discussion with the care team, treating provider, family, etc. Travel plans can be postponed. In this case, a letter from the provider could help in getting a postponement on the trip and perhaps a full refund.
  • Verify understanding – Be sure to apply “teach back” methodology to ascertain if the receiver of your message understands your meaning. If you do not verify understanding, you may as well have not bothered to provide any instructions.

As with any situation, there are exceptions. In spite of our best efforts, we cannot force our will upon others; people will do whatever they want to do. I do not know what became of the gentleman, nor his traveling companion but I certainly hope that they both made it back home safely.

Best to you,

Conscious Case Management©

In today’s harried health care environment, every participant of the patient care team seems to be rushing from one situation to the next, simply trying to put out proverbial fires. Often, there is someone associated with the care team whose job title is case manager, care coordinator or something similar. Actually, there are probably two or three people working in a similar capacity who has some level of interaction with the care team.

The sad thing is that no one seems focused on the big picture. Instead each struggles to keep up with their job’s demands. BUT through the miracle of the Electronic Health Record as long as every box is checked or drop down menu is selected from, people feel a false sense of reassurance that the work is done.

Well, I beg to differ with this conclusion.

Professional case management is about more than simply checking off boxes in the medical record or whatever information system one is working in. The Commission for Case Management Certification (CCMC) defines case management as “a collaborative process that assesses, plans, implements, coordinates, monitors, and evaluates the options and services required to meet the client’s health and human service needs. It is characterized by advocacy, communication, and resource management and promotes quality and cost-effective interventions and outcomes” (2015).

Frankly, none of these actions can be encapsulated by a check list. Each require a qualified clinical profession to take a step back and objectively assess each patient’s situation in order to formulate clear recommendations for patient-centered care coordination. The patient with special needs requires a case manager able to sensitively advocate on his/her behalf, to logically discuss pros and cons of each option, and to collaboratively reach consensus as to the most appropriate interventions as part of the patient’s care plan.

Professional case management process requires one to practice in a mindful manner. In other words, effective, professional case management is Conscious Case Management©. Conscious Case Management© is fairly easy to recognize but difficult to embody. It requires a clinical profession who is committed to practice excellence as evidenced by continuing education, certification, and advancement of professional case management practice. While we are not all driven to author articles and books or speak in public or participate in a professional organization, we must take personal responsibility to contribute to the practice by striving for day-to-day excellence and quality care. We must look beyond medical record and room number and diagnosis code to see the face of a human being who needs our very best in order to become his/her very best through as full a recovery as is possible.

Avoid falling into the pit of being a case management-bot. Instead, strive to become a Conscious Case Manager©.


Definition of Case Management found at on April 15, 2015.