“The variation among individuals working under the case manager job title who are not actually performing the full scope of case management roles, functions, and activities (as defined by the Standards of Practice offered by the Case Management Society of America).”
This is not surprising to me. There is a massive problem with misuse of the “case manager” job title and it is worsening as more organizations start to apply it to positions seeking non-clinical and unlicensed administrative staff who coordinate services for their clients. While it may sound “cool” and market more effectively, this practice does a grave disservice to the consumer.
Consider this… as a patient, the consumer is greeted by a steady stream of new faces throughout the care continuum. From the hospital to their insurance company to any other care setting, there will invariably be someone identifying him/herself as a “case manager”. But what does this really mean to that consumer? If the interaction is positive, it probably means a favorable impression of what a case manager is and does. But what of the less than positive experiences?
As I discovered at a visit to a Senior Center where I spoke about case management, for many it resulted in creating a negative opinion about ALL case managers without a real understanding of what authentic case management means. Interestingly, when I attempted to share information as to the definition, qualifications, and activities of case management, many in the room were not willing to accept that as truth. Their personal experience overrode anything I said. Unfortunately, many of the attendees had stories to share regarding negative experiences of a family member or friend with a case manager. More than once, I heard accounts where case managers described their work responsibility as being “to get them out of the hospital and to make sure the hospital gets paid”. Can you picture me falling over backwards at that revelation? I almost did!
In 2011, an article I penned for the Remington Report included the point that “In order to establish and maintain a consistent definition of case management, it is necessary to codify it in such a way as to prevent the continued misuse of its title and functions. This begins with a standard definition, originating from subject matter experts, to be used as a common point of reference. The most widely accepted definition was approved by the Case Management Society of America in 2009 as “a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, care coordination, evaluation, and advocacy for options and services to meet an individual’s and family’s comprehensive health needs through communication and available resources to promote quality cost effective outcomes”. Despite attempts to redefine the term for a specific purpose or use by companies, organizations, agencies, and other entities, this definition remains the gold standard.”
This definition, in conjunction with Standards of Practice, must set the foundation for establishing a clinical professional practice track of education, work experience, and accreditation/certification, all of which are necessary for case management title recognition. Until those of us who dedicate ourselves to the professional practice of case management unite and make enough noise about this, we risk continuously treading water in a vortex that will eventually suck us under the waterline.
Now get out there and collaborate!