I am extremely excited and humbled to start my term as president of the Case Management Society of America (CMSA). I have had a wonderful mentor in Dr. Mary McLaughlin-Davis, DNP, ACNS-BC, NEA-BC, CCM, who has had an exceptional 2-year term as president. I still remember when I first became involved with CMSA at the local level, when Patti Grady, MSSL, RN, CCM, CCP, CMCN, and Catherine (Cathy) Campbell, DNP(c), MBA, RN, CCM, CHC, FACHE, convinced me that I needed to be more involved with CMSA while serving as director of care management at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, TX. This encouragement slowly started my service at the local level by serving as DFWCMSA chapter president, followed by national service as chair of the Chapter Presidents' Council, and two terms as national treasurer. I have to be honest: During the last 10 years, I didn't see myself serving on the national board much less as your president, but I was encouraged to run each time. I, like many others, feared the thoughts or perceptions of not being elected. I truly want to thank the membership for entrusting me to serve as president.
As a young child, I was brought up to always give back to others. My grandmother was my biggest hero growing up, and her only request was for me to give back to my community. I continue to honor her wishes and memory by doing just that and giving back to my profession. I also want to thank the Tampa General Hospital executive leadership who supported my candidacy and involvement. I recently transitioned into a new leadership position as the director of care management at UC Irvine Medical Center, which is a trauma and Magnet-designated academic medical center in Orange, CA. Having the support and commitment from your employer truly are essential when serving on a national board, especially as president.
On behalf of CMSA, I would like to thank all those who attended the engaging and intellectual annual conference in Chicago. I definitely learned so much and thought that so many of the presentations and posters could be turned into manuscripts. CMSA prides itself on being the professional society for case managers throughout the health care continuum. I had a difficult time of selecting which sessions to attend from the various tracks, which included acute care, workers' compensation, long-term care, leadership, population health, managed care, and legal and discipline-specific case management. Other events included CMSA's Integrated Case Management Program and public policy events. I truly appreciated the opportunity to connect, network, and celebrate with case managers from different disciplines from across the country. Our conference allows for collaboration and sharing of ideas that can be taken back to your own practice. Kudos to Fraser Imagineers, CMSA's association management team, who did an outstanding job on putting such as exciting event, as well as the CMSA Chicago Chapter for being such a wonderful hosting partner.
CMSA installed its new board of directors during the annual conference, and one of the important tasks is to revise the 5-year strategic plan that will ensure the sustainability and longevity for our association for years to come. Professional membership organizations must continue to focus on the value addition so that membership can be expanded. The CMSA board of directors is committed to building a strategic plan that can capitalize on our strengths while addressing any potential threats as our health care industry continues to evolve. CMSA is committed to providing continuing education and tools that can help promote collaborative case management systems practice throughout the continuum. The strategic plan will include plans specific to supporting membership engagement, growth, and retention; public policy and advocacy; collaborative partnerships; and celebrating the accomplishments of case managers nationwide.
As we look into the future, we will be continually challenged with a transforming health care system. Case management leaders need to be prepared to face these challenges through development of effective interventions that will engage stakeholders in change. To be prepared for change, we have to be willing to further develop competencies in change management, performance improvement, and systems thinking.
I challenge our members to expand your participation and involvement at the local and national levels. Your national association and chapters are always looking for volunteers to serve on committees and boards. Mentorship is available at every level from those who have served and those who are currently serving. Mentorship doesn't need to come from those who are in visible positions and can come from those who are colleagues, peers, and individuals from other disciplines. In my own professional development, I have had the pleasure of being mentored by outstanding social workers, nurses, and physicians working in the case management field.
Oftentimes, I hear that the time commitment is the biggest barrier. It is important to evaluate the time commitment and volunteer based on that assessment. It is also important to meet your deliverables and communicate when help is needed. Again, there are all types of volunteer opportunities at the local and national levels, and I am sure that you will find one that will further enrich your professional development. Serving with a professional association demonstrates your commitment to our profession and the advancement of evidence-based practice.
As we continue our work in a transforming health care environment, we need to be acutely aware of the necessity of collaborating across the continuum of care. Our effectiveness will be limited if we continue the traditional silo frameworks of health care delivery. Currently in the news, there are many examples of health care stakeholders redefining the scope and span of health care delivery models. The population health strategy requires us to think outside of the box and partner with what were previously competitors and/or develop nonexistent relationships with continuum of care partners. Mergers and acquisitions are continuing to redefine how health care delivery will be accomplished. Case managers are critical to ensuring the needs of all patients, especially at-risk and vulnerable populations, are addressed within every care setting so that quality of life, care progression, and meeting the social determinants of health are maximized. The case management practice is essential to improving the patient experience.
As we look forward to how case managers can have a greater impact, we need to first consider how to effectively measure our impact on patient-centered care and population health. This starts by having a proactive case management program with clearly defined roles and responsibilities that are communicated to patients, families, staff, and other stakeholders. Oftentimes, assumptions are made or additional responsibilities are given to case managers without truly understanding the impact on the daily work of case management staff. Case management leaders need to advocate for having defined case departmental goals and objectives. Development of a case management dashboard is a great way of communicating the value addition of case management. By always putting patients first, we change the focus to providing exceptional case management services that lead to stronger organizational and financial performance. This approach is easier to understand by frontline staff, as it reaffirms their ability to make a difference in the lives of others.
Another key imperative is for case management leaders to build a bridge between exceptional care and financial performance by communicating on an ongoing basis the department and organizational quality and financial results. Case management has a powerful role in connecting clinical departments with nonclinical departments that oftentimes is a missed opportunity to connect the dots.
These are very exciting times to be a case manager in a transforming health care environment!
Jose Alejandro, PhD, MBA, RN-BC, CCM, FACHE, FAAN
President, CMSA National Board 2018–2020