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COLLABORATE©: A Universal Competency-Based Paradigm for Professional Case Management, Part I Introduction, Historical Validation, and Competency Presentation

Treiger, Teresa M. RN-BC, MA, CHCQM-CM/TOC, CCM; Fink-Samnick, Ellen MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP

doi: 10.1097/NCM.0b013e31828562c0

Purpose/Objectives: The purpose of this first of a three-article series is to provide context and justification for a new paradigm of case management built upon a value-driven foundation that

  • improves the patient's experience of health care delivery,
  • provides consistency in approach applicable across health care populations, and
  • optimizes the potential for return on investment.

Primary Practice Setting(s): Applicable to all health care sectors where case management is practiced.

Findings/Conclusions: In moving forward, the one fact that rings true is there will be constant change in our industry. As the health care terrain shifts and new influences continually surface, there will be consequences for case management practice. These impacts require nimble clinical professionals in possession of recognized and firmly established competencies. They must be agile to frame (and reframe) their professional practice to facilitate the best possible outcomes for their patients. Case managers can choose to be Gumby or Pokey. This is exactly why the definition of a competency-based case management model's time has come, one sufficiently fluid to fit into any setting of care.

Implications for Case Management Practice: The practice of case management transcends the vast array of representative professional disciplines and educational levels. A majority of current models are driven by business priorities rather than by the competencies critical to successful practice and quality patient outcomes. This results in a fragmented professional case management identity. While there is inherent value in what each discipline brings to the table, this advanced model unifies behind case management's unique, strengths-based identity instead of continuing to align within traditional divisions (e.g., discipline, work setting, population served). This model fosters case management's expanding career advancement opportunities, including a reflective clinical ladder.

Teresa M. Treiger, RN-BC, MA, CHCQM-CM/TOC, CCM, is President, Ascent Care Management, LLC. She has worked across the health care continuum for more than 25 years. She has published on case management, technology, professionalism, and transition of care. She was the primary investigator in the 2010 HIT Survey and participant in the 2012 survey. She is on the National Transition of Care Coalition Board of Directors and served as the National President of the Case Management Society of America 2010–2011. Her current work encompasses professional education, public speaking, and consulting in the development of integrated care coordination, transition of care, and case management programs and technology solutions.

Ellen Fink-Samnick, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP, is Principal of EFS Supervision Strategies, LLC, and a health care industry expert for 30 years, who empowers the transdisciplinary workforce's competencies through professional speaking, mentoring, and consultation. Ellen is adjunct faculty for George Mason University's College of Health & Human Services, trainer for the National Association of Social Workers, Director of Social Work education for Athena Forum, Social Media Moderator for Ellen's Ethical Lens, and Editorial Board Member for Lippincott's Professional Case Management. Ellen is a past commissioner and chair of the Ethics & Professional Conduct Committee for the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). She has served as an Exam Item writer for the Association of Social Work Boards and CCMC and a contributor to CMSA's Career and Knowledge Pathways Project. She is a certified case manager, licensed clinical social worker, and certified rehabilitation provider.

Address correspondence to Ellen Fink-Samnick, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP, EFS Supervision Strategies, LLC, Burket, VA 22015 (

The authors report no conflict of interest.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.