By MaryAnn Ott, BSN, RN, CCM, CPC

As we close out CM Week 2023, I’ve been reminiscing about how I became interested in
becoming a CM. It was the early 1990’s and I made a career change to work as a Catastrophic
Nurse Advocate. I felt my prior diverse nursing experiences would help me in this new role.
At the same time, a friend introduced me to a social group of medical professionals including
social workers, nurses, vendors, and physicians. They met monthly to collaborate on improving their
patients' lives while socializing and networking among themselves. At first, I felt very intimidated
by this intelligent group, but soon I met each member and learned from their case management experiences. It was at these meetings I was introduced to the world of case management.

To advance my knowledge in this area, I ventured on my own to the CMSA National Conference. There, I met so many individuals who had gathered for the same goals, to advance the roles and profession of case management, and to visit with friends from all corners of the US. Like them, I came away from that conference with a barrage of case management information along with forever friendships. But most of all, I had an intense desire to become involved in CMSA and eventually attain my certification. I was enthralled by all the sessions offered and loved being around so many professionals. It was there I finally found my professional niche after so many years working as a general nurse. My goal was to learn as much about CM as possible. Once back home, I began introducing my coworkers to CMSA and eventually got a few to take the certification exam with me.

My friends and I passed the CCM certification exam, and we looked forward to new roles as case managers. The next 33 years proved to be the most fulfilling years of my nursing career. As a Catastrophic Nurse Case Manager, my role provided me with much knowledge and personal satisfaction in providing care to individuals who sustained life-altering injuries. I assisted both the patient and their
significant family member(s) in rebuilding a new normal life. I became CEAC-certified (Certified Environmental Access Consultant) to build them an adaptive living space. Some of those
patients became close friends and still call upon me when their lives present new obstacles.

I am now retired from my former job but have never stopped being actively involved with CMSA. I became a cofounder and president of my local CMSA chapter and serve as President-Elect and Treasurer. I have presented numerous times at CMSA National conferences and CMSA chapters. Additionally, I am on the CMSA Today editorial board, the CMSA National education committee, and I am writing a book with my best friend and colleague from CMSA. Locally, I’m a Mid-West Educational Coalition representative and participate in the CMSA CPC Leadership Group.

Who knows what lies in my future within CMSA or case management, but I know the journey will be well worth it. I am always anxious to touch base with all the friends made at conferences or Zoom meetings. Get involved and you’ll never regret it. 

 Our local chapters are the lifeblood of CMSA. Connecting locally with your peers and colleagues provides an enriching benefit to your CMSA membership, builds your professional network, and advances your practice as you interact with case managers from every discipline in every setting. See how you can get involved and grow your personal and professional network:

Bio: Maryann Ott RN, BSN, CCM, CPC, CEAC is retired from the State of Ohio, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. In addition to being a Certified Case Manager, she is also a Certified Professional Coder. Maryann has a diversified background in many aspects of nursing and case management. She has co-presented at CMSA annual and chapter conferences and is a co-editor for articles in CMSA Today. She is the Co-founder and 3 term Past President of the Cleveland Chapter of CMSA. Currently she is serving as the chapter Treasurer and is the Co-President elect.