Five Crozer Case Managers Team Up for Certification
Pride in their profession and a desire to become expert in hospital case management propelled five case managers at Crozer-Chester Medical Center to team up in pursuit of the accredited case manager (ACM) certification through the American Case Management Association (ACMA) last year. For several months, Debbie Alberici, RN, ACM, Karen Gallagher, MSN, CRNP, ACM, Debbie Kitson, RN, ACM, Mercedes Mack, RN, BSN, ACM and Sally Yuska, RN, ACM, studied together daily on their lunch hours, completed hours of reading and homework each week, and even paid to take a sample test to prepare for the comprehensive four-hour certification exam.
“We encouraged and supported one another, which really helped all of us get through the process,” says Kitson. “Everyone was equally committed to the goal. Some of us have been in the profession a long time and some not so long, so we relied on each other’s expertise as we prepared for the exam. We all completed homework and came to every meeting. We were thrilled when we all passed with flying colors the first time!”
The group began by doing research to find an organization that provided certification specifically in hospital case management. “We all take pride in our profession and wanted to become more knowledgeable about the national standards for case management in the hospital arena, rather than more general case management that involves workers comp and other issues unrelated to the hospital,” Kitson says.
Since receiving certification, the group feels better prepared on the job every day, using guidelines for practice developed by ACMA. “The certification stresses the importance of accountability to your patients and your whole scope of practice,” Kitson emphasizes. “Case management isn’t just chart review. It involves daily collaboration and communication with healthcare providers and social workers to facilitate the appropriate care for each patient. It also involves communication with patients and their families as well as insurance companies. Proper documentation is essential, and it’s important to be aware of state mandates and rules when you’re making decisions. Going through the certification process helps you pull all of these components together and evaluate cases more effectively.”
Kitson notes that Crozer-Keystone awards a $500 bonus to any nurse who obtains initial certification, and a one-time $250 bonus upon recertification. The health system also provides reimbursement for the cost of a certification examination sponsored by a recognized accrediting body in the nurse’s clinical area, provided the nurse passes the exam.