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A national board of directors consisting of case management professionals is establishing the first case management association specifically designed to address the needs and concerns of hospital and health system-based case managers.
Called the American Case Management Association (ACMA), the new organization was formed in an attempt to meet the professional development and networking needs of acute care case managers, says L. Greg Cunningham, president of ACMA. Cunningham notes that in the course of his consulting work in hospitals and health systems, many case managers have commented on the relative lack of professional resources available to them. "Other than American Health Consultants’ Hospital Case Management publication, directors of case management have very limited tools," he says. "There are [associations] that have broad-based offerings, but there is no affiliation that just focuses on hospital and health system-based case managers," he says.
The formation of ACMA also was motivated by the desire to foster closer cooperation between nurses and social workers, Cunningham says. "Many of the individuals in leadership positions around the country who hold professional backgrounds in nursing and social work felt the need to have a forum where the two could work in collaboration for the advancement of case management," he says. ACMA has made a commitment to this collaboration. ACMA’s mission statement says ACMA is "the association that offers solutions to support the evolving collaborative practice of hospital/health system case management."
Marcia Colone, PhD, LCSW, director of case management at Northwestern Memorial Hos pital in Chicago and a member of ACMA’s board of directors, says ACMA is "a critically needed organization that truly integrates the disciplines of nursing and social work. From a case management director’s perspective, ACMA’s mission for collaborative practice offers a professional bridge that allows us to learn and succeed collectively."
ACMA also has ensured that its board and officers have equal representation from the nursing and social work professions. ACMA’s board elected Cunningham, whose professional background is hospital administration and not nursing or social work, to be its first president. Following Cunningham’s term, ACMA’s president will have a professional rotation between nursing and social work.
The board already has received accolades of support and is forming a national network of ACMA state ambassadors, 50 nurses and 50 social workers representing each state, to be the foundation for the association. The ACMA board has begun developing an aggressive agenda for 2000 and has received requests from various constituents regarding certification, salary/compensation, skill set/competencies, and organization tools and systems.
Members of ACMA will be able to take advantage of the following services:
1. A job opportunities network.
Hospitals will be able to post vacant positions relevant to case management staff and leadership. Case managers seeking employment will be able to review the postings and respond directly to the posting organization.
2. An information resource center.
The ACMA resource center will house generic tools such as job descriptions, salaries, national case management survey data, case management literature references, and Web site references. These resources will be available to requesting members.
3. A directors forum.
A forum will be established for directors of case management at ACMA’s first annual meeting, to be held in conjunction with the Little Rock, AR-based National Institute for Case Management’s next Clinical Case Management Conference, which will be held April 24-27 in Las Vegas.
The forum will allow directors an opportunity to "identify a year 2000 agenda for issues related to case management," Cunningham says. The directors also will be developing a national case management survey, which ACMA will sponsor. The results of this survey will be made available to the membership.
4. A mentoring service.
Individuals who are just becoming case managers or directors of case management will be able to link with another ACMA member who has volunteered to serve as a learning partner. "There will be various levels of mentorship," Cunningham says. "On one level, the mentoring may take place through the Internet and e-mail. A second level may involve interactive conference calls in addition to e-mail."
Annual membership dues for ACMA are $135. (See application sheet, inserted in this issue.) Those who join by the end of 1999 will be the charter members. Their memberships will be valid through the end of 2000.
"With health care as unpredictable as it is and hospital leadership depending more on case management as its solution provider,’ ACMA is gearing up for the challenge to assist its members in collaboratively providing solutions for their success," Cunningham says.
For more information, call the ACMA office at (501) 907-2262.