Important Message from the CMSA Board of Directors

Posted 25th September 2010

The following is a letter from the President of the CMSA issuing an official response to the CCMC's concerns regarding the CMSA's updated Standards of Practice for Case Management

Dear CMSA Member:

The Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC) yesterday issued an official response to the CMSA updated Standards of Practice for Case Management (SOP). The notification to their body of Certified Case Managers had several critical elements which were missing from their response and the Board of Directors for the Case Management Society of America (CMSA) would like to highlight the need for clarification to the posting.

Public Safety

First, and most critical, is CCMC's assertion that the SOP document presents a threat to public safety. This assertion is entirely false and we believe CCMC acted recklessly in issuing this statement.

The updated SOP in no way presents a threat to public safety. The document, in fact, is designed to improve public safety through the establishment of standards by which case management professionals can refer to and follow in their practice and by which other health care professionals can expect from case management professionals. To assert that the SOP document itself presents a public safety threat is certainly not true. We are currently working with CCMC to address this critical issue and to urge them to retract this most problematic assertion.

The Process

The development of the revised CMSA Standards of Practice for Case Management has been a lengthy two-year process that was supported through consensus with a diversity of case management stakeholders to include:

  • Two public comments periods
  • Stakeholders representing multiple interests within the case management community participating in task force and work group committees
  • Legal review by CMSA counsel
  • Peer review by the SOP Reference Group

Members of the SOP task force committee were multi-disciplinary, half of the committee were Certified Case Managers through the Commission and the remainder carried other certifications. All comments from the public comment periods were reviewed by the committee. The final acceptance of the revised SOP's was approval by the CMSA Board of Directors on January 2010.

The Standard in Question

CCMC asserts that it opposes the revised SOP and urges others to do the same. Yet CCMC's concerns only relate to one aspect of the SOP: Qualifications for Case Managers. And with regard to this standard, CCMC failed to properly summarize the entire provision. The provision clearly refers to and emphasizes the importance of certification.

In the revised CMSA Standard: Qualifications for Case Manager it reads:

     Case managers should maintain competence in their area(s) of practice by having one of the following:

  • a. Current, active, and unrestricted licensure or certification in a health or human services discipline that allows the professional to conduct an assessment independently as permitted within the scope of practice of the discipline;

  • b. Baccalaureate or graduate degree in social work, nursing, or another health or human services field that promotes the physical, psychosocial, and/or vocational well-being of the persons being served. The degree must be from an institution that is fully accredited by a nationally recognized educational accreditation organization and the individual must have completed a supervised field experience in case management, health, or behavioral health as part of the degree requirements.

Note that part (a) of the CMSA standard supports the practice requirement documented by CCMC within their definition but was missing from their posting to their members. We know that the demand for Case Managers will continue to grow. To address those concerns CMSA moved to bring greater clarification in defining Case Management, who is a qualified case manager and the scope of services provided in a case management program. CMSA believes the CMSA Standards of Practice assist with that process.

CMSA believes the qualification standard has been strengthened by the revised SOP and that the revised SOP supports both our nursing and social work case managers as the regulatory statutes are currently defined. As the SOP Task Force worked through development of the Standards Qualification, everyone agreed that nursing case managers are licensed, and may also have a case management certification of their choice but could not find justification for mandated certification outside of a few states that require such for Worker's Compensation Case Managers. On the other hand, qualifications for social work case managers had varied requirements:

The SOP Task Force agreed that all individuals with social work degrees meet qualification (b) of the SOP noted above regardless of whether they are licensed by the state or hold a case management certification. CMSA does not mandate any one certification credential for its members but does encourage all case managers to seek certification and we offer course work for that process within our 24x7 e-library and during our Annual Conference program. As the national professional association for case managers, CMSA recognizes 14 certifications. We believe that as a professional organization, our mission and vision is to support our membership with professional standards of practice to be used as general guidelines in building strong case management professionals and programs.

CCMC refers to a document called, "The Differences Between Certified Case Managers and Case Managers," located on the CCMC website. The document questions the case manager's accountability. However, the CMSA Standard pertaining to Legal reads as follows:

     "The case manager should adhere to applicable local, state, and federal laws, as well as employer policies, governing all aspects of case management practice, including client privacy and confidentiality rights. It is the responsibility of the case manager to work within the scope of his/her licensure.

     NOTE: In the event that employer policies or the policies of other entities are in conflict with applicable legal requirements, the case manager should understand which laws prevail. In these cases, case managers should seek clarification of any questions or concerns from an appropriate and reliable expert resource, such as an employer, government agency, or legal counsel."

The Standards of Practice for Case Management continue to define confidentiality, client privacy, consent for services, ethics and advocacy.

CMSA recognizes that CCMC has different requirements for their certification credential which would be appropriate for the focus of the Commission. CCMC as a certification body does monitor and enforce their standards as documented for the specific CCM certification.

In Summary

CMSA recognizes multiple certifications and licensure for its membership and the associations ongoing goal is to support our diverse, national membership and our Case Management partners through collaborations to move this endeavor forward within the context of professional, market, business, legislative, workforce and association needs.

CMSA remains committed to collaborating its efforts with CCMC for the betterment of the case management profession.

RespImportant Message from the CMSA Board of Directorsectfully Submitted on behalf of the CMSA Board of Directors,

Margaret Leonard, MS, RN-BC, FNP
Case Management Society of America

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