The 28th Annual Case Management Society of America Annual Conference is in the Books! Between June 18th and June, 23rd over 2000 professionals involved in the practice of case management came to Chicago IL to learn, network and reunite with friends and colleagues.

The CMSA Annual conference brings together professional case managers from all sectors of the healthcare industry to learn, network and gains insights into how their roles are changing as the broad healthcare industry shifts. As critical influencers, professional case managers are essential members of today’s healthcare team.

Here are some of the topics that dominated the talk at the 29th Annual Case Management Society of America’s Annual Conference:

  • Title Protection: it will be important for all professional case managers to educate stakeholders as to the value they bring to the healthcare system based on their education, training, and expertise. As case management is a professional practice, the title of case management should not be confused with the work non-professionals do but be respected and upheld.
  • The importance of professional case managers using their voices during these disruptive times.
  • Understanding how technology both digital and mobile health tools are becoming more commonplace. Professional case managers need to keep up to date on how these tools are used and how they can be used to engage, educate and empower patients to be active participants in their care.
  • As the industry moves to a value-based system, it will be important for professional case managers to use data to identify patients and caregivers who can benefit from having a case manager to improve the delivery of care.
  • Collaboration and effective communication is a critical skill that must be utilized and refined. Today, case managers are viewed as advocates, care coordinators, liaisons between payers, providers, employers, patients and all members of the healthcare team. We are in place to ensure patients receive safe, evidence-based care in the least restrictive setting at the most cost-effective price to meet their individual needs. As experts, we can take the lead in ensuring all stakeholders are working toward the same goals.
  • Professional case managers must be alert and use their voices during these disruptive times to work with their legislative representatives on the local, state and national level to ensure health policy meets the needs of all people.

The challenges the industry faces will not be fixed in a week but will require ongoing collaboration between all stakeholders if we want to be successful in improving the delivery of care while improving the health of all.

Some fun before the conference started:

This year, my husband joined me for a few days early in the week, and we got to take in the city of Chicago. The town is full of energy, impressive architecture, and history. We arrived in Chicago at different times, so we met at the hotel we would call home for the week.

For our first night, my husband planned for a nice dinner at an outstanding steakhouse, Bavettes. If you are a steak lover, put this restaurant on your ‘must do list’ next time you are in Chicago!  The service was excellent as was the food. The next day, we got up early and jumped on the Hop on Hop off Bus that took us around the city to see the high points. It was a beautiful day, and we had two excellent tour guides show the ins and outs of their city with humor and pride. As we are both baseball fans, we took in a game at the historic Wrigley Field where we saw the Cubs and the Dodgers.  It was great fun to be in one of the few remaining stadiums that has so much history.

Time to Get To Work

Wednesday was the start of the conference for me, but in reality, it had been going on for two days with various workshops and educational events such as the Commission on Case Manager Certification, Certification 360 Workshop and the Military/VA/DoD Day. Those programs started on Monday and were wrapping up on Wednesday.

The program I was involved in was the 2nd Annual Writing Workshop. I was one of 5 co-presenters who shared information aspiring writer can use to highlight the work they do as professional case managers. The workshop sold out weeks before the conference started. It was exciting to meet with over 150 professional case managers who came from various settings to learn how they can use their voice more effectively through writing and other mediums. The room was set in rounds, allowing for discussion between individual attendees and the group as a whole. Our opening speaker was Kathy O’Malley, a journalist with the Chicago Tribune and a celebrated radio personality.  Her show was called ‘Girlfriends’ and was a favorite of many for years. Kathy shared her story and how she came into the publication business. She inspired the audience and provided invaluable tips

Monica Capogna and Brianne Baird the Communication team for CMSA shared the publications and the various mediums CMSA offers to educate and inform professional case managers. They encourage the audience to use their voices to share the work they do and the impact they are making in today’s complex healthcare system.

My section covered various mediums professional case managers can use to share information, educate consumers and caregivers as well as bring members of the health care team together to improve the delivery of care. If you would like to have a copy of my slide deck, please feel free to email me at

Eric Bergman and Colleen Morely were the final speakers and led an exercise that highlighted case managers as a catalyst for Interdisciplinary Leadership for Healthcare Reform.

What was most exciting for me was to see how so many people took the time to participate in each of the writing exercises held during the day. So many people shared their ideas and the challenges they face in their setting. The program was interactive, and all left with ideas on how they can use writing and other communication tools to tell their story about how they are improving the delivery of care through their work. We all left looking forward to the 3rd Writing Workshop! Stay tuned for more details.

Following the Writing Workshop, we moved to the Public Policy Meeting. The room was packed which is a testimonial to the interest case managers have in the area of Public Policy. Topics discussed were: Title Protection, the importance of sharing the Case Management Standards of Practice, the Case Management Society of America’s Model Act and other products developed to showcase and validate the work done by professional case managers across the care continuum. Also discussed was the Multistate Licensure Compact and the progress case managers are making in getting more states into the National Compact.

Eric Bergman also gave an update on the National Nurse Act and how important it is for professional case managers to know about and support this legislation. Professional case managers can show their support by calling their members of Congress/Senate and letting them know that they support the Bill. Passage of the National Nurse Act will empower nurses to work in communities to educate people to improve their health and healthcare.

The same time the Public Policy Meeting was going on, Kathy Frazer, Executive Director, and Deborah Gutteridge co-hosted Case Management: the Next Generation – Mentoring for Success.

Following the Public Policy Meeting and the Mentoring program, the Taste of Chicago Bash took place which was a fun event that allowed all attendees to relax and network!

Thursday, June 21st kicked off bright and early with the CMSA Annual Meeting. Mary McLaughlin-Davis, the current president, welcomed all to the conference. She recognized the current and incoming Board of Directors.  She talked about what was happening at CMSA and encouraged all to get involved. As a member organization, the Bylaws are reviewed, updated and shared with the membership at the annual conference. Incoming President, Jose Alejandro discussed the By-law changes that were recommended by the committee and the Board of Directors. Most of the changes were to update language and ensure they were relevant. Some bylaws were eliminated because they were obsolete. One of the most exciting changes to the Bylaws was to membership categories.  A new type of membership is being added to accommodate those case managers who have and are retiring. The goal of this change is to retain members into their retirement years so they can stay active members of the organization. As a new retiree, I appreciate this change and applaud the organization for this new category. So many of our peers are retiring from formal work, but are still active in their local chapter and communities.

The Agenda: Something for Everyone

The conference agenda seemed to have something for everyone. I will not go through the entire schedule in this post, as it can be viewed online. There was a variety of topics that were broken down by tracks that included: Case Management Track, Long-Term Care Track, Leadership Track, Population Health Track, Managed Care Track, and Legal Track. As usual, there were many sessions that I wanted to attend, but as I could only be in one place at a time, I could not see everything. Because the sessions were recorded, they will be available in a few weeks in the CMSA Educational Library. I look forward to being able to listen to the sessions I had checked off in my conference guide. As a member of CMSA, you too can take advantage of the wide range of programs in the library. Look for an announcement from CMSA when the new programs are added to the site.

The keynote speakers are always exciting and this year was no exception. Each presented a different focus and talked about the critical role case managers play as a member of the healthcare workforce. The team at Fraser Imagineers did an excellent job of educating each keynote speaker to understand the audience to ensure their talk was relevant. Click here to view the keynote speakers for the 28th Annual Conference.

Celebrating the Past Presidents

The Past Presidents are pillars of the organization and leaders in the practice of case management. Each is viewed as thought leaders and continue to make contributions to the practice. For the second year in a role, the past presidents held a panel discussion to address the critical topics facing the practice. In addition, they have an ongoing column is CMSA Today knows as the Past President’s Corner. This is where they can share their views, their insights and their recommendation for the practice. Feel free to read past columns here.

Changes in Leadership

There is a common saying among CMSA’s Past Presidents of CMSA; “Is it June Yet? As this is when the current President and the incoming President change roles.

Mary McLaughlin-Davis, the current President of CMSA, was front in center throughout the conference. She talked about her term, what she learned during her two-years as president and the accomplished she and her Board achieved. All thanked her for her dedication to the practice of case management and her service to CMSA.

As is tradition, the new President assumes office on the last day of the conference and shares their vision for their term. On Saturday afternoon, Dr. Jose Alejandro delivered his speech to the audience on his vision for CSMA. All wish Jose the best of luck as he embarks on his two-year term.

This is a crucial time in our history and a time when we can show the value we bring to the broad healthcare industry. CMSA as the professional organization serving case managers across the continuum has a vital role to play.

The last award given was the Case Management of the Year Award. This year the CMOY Award went to Carol Garner, a case management leader from South Africa. Carol is a founding member of Case Management Society of South Africa. She is the first case management leader to be selected from outside of the US.  Recognizing her highlight the fact that the practice of case management is a global practice!

Carol work has raised the visibility of case management in South Africa. Together with several colleagues, she is working to bring a national training program and certification to continue to grow the practice. She is one of the growing numbers of independent case managers in South Africa. She is a mentor and a leader to many. Congratulations Carol!

In Closing

As I look back on my week at the conference, the people I met and the information I  gained from going to sessions and networking; I am filled with gratitude and have a renewed energy to move forward in promoting the work we do. I am grateful for being able to attend the annual conference and to be an active member of this dynamic organization.

I would like to congratulation and thank Kathy Fraser, the Executive Director of CMSA and the staff of Fraser Imagineers for the hard work they put into making this year’s conference a huge success.  Great job everyone!

I am already looking forward to 2019 when we will meet in Las Vegas!  Make sure you save the dates, June 10-14, 2019. One of the best deals is to register for the 2019 conference early and get a free CMSA membership! If you are not a member of CMSA currently, sign up for the early bird rate for the 2019 Conference and get a free membership. If you are a member, register for the 2019 conference early, and your current membership will be extended at no cost when you are up for renewal. Belonging to your professional organization is an integral part of your professional development, so don’t procrastinate – Join CMSA Today!

Thanks for reading Nurse Advocate. I look forward to your comments and recommendation for future posts.

Also, as I am out and about, I would love to connect with if we will be in the same area, Check out finding Anne to see where I will be next! If you will be in the same event, drop me an email at so we can connect!

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