By Tiffany Ferguson, LMSW, CMAC, ACM
Case Management Week is a time when we come together to celebrate the incredible dedication of professionals who spend their lives advocating and helping others. As I reflect on my own journey from social work to medical social work and eventually into case management, I'm reminded of the profound impact that advocacy, compassion, and a sense of community can have in the healthcare environment.
In recent days, I had the privilege of spending time on the frontline with fellow case managers at one of our client hospitals. It was a humbling experience, from witnessing case managers taking the lead and showing unwavering dedication, to understanding their patients' unique needs. During my time at the hospital, I was particularly struck by their commitment to the patients and their role. One instance that left a lasting impression was when a case manager unhesitatingly reached out to a physician to advocate on behalf of a patient. This intervention halted a potentially premature discharge and led to the discovery of a missed blood clot—a life-saving intervention made possible by their advocacy simply by taking the time to intervene and listen to the patient’s concerns when they were unfortunately not being heard by other staff members.
The world of healthcare is filled with complexity. It is far from a streamlined, linear process. Instead, it is a vivid canvas painted with the hues of human interactions, emotions, joys, pains, sadness, and grief. It encompasses both the best of intentions and, regrettably, sometimes ill intentions. Within this intricate network, case managers serve as directors and guides to bring clarity. Case managers fill in the gaps within this multifaceted canvas. They are the navigators who guide patients and their families through the labyrinth of healthcare systems, ensuring that the individual's care needs are met. Whether it's coordinating appointments, deciphering insurance complexities, or bridging the divide between medical necessities and social realities, case managers tirelessly work to ensure that care is not just delivered but delivered with empathy and efficiency.
In a recent social post, I asked, “Why case management?” and, “What is meaningful to those in the field?” The summary of collective responses demonstrated a commitment to making a difference in helping others to improve their outcomes. It is a calling and ethical adherence that draws those to the field, believing that healthcare could and should be better for those who need it most. In this spirit, it is important to celebrate Case Management Week and provide a heartfelt tribute to those who "keep the person at the heart of collaborative care.” It's a time to express our gratitude for the dedicated professionals who, like me, show up every day trying to make a difference in those they serve, recognizing the profound impact case managers have on patients, families, and the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.
We may be wrapping up #CMWeek2023, but we're not ready for the celebration to end — Join us for our two remaining Bonus webinars during October (aka Case Management Month)! For more information and registration links go to https://cmsa.org/about/national-cm-week/
Bio Tiffany Ferguson, MSW, ACM, CMAC is CEO of Phoenix Medical Management, Inc., the case management company. Tiffany serves is an adjunct professor at Northern Arizona University, Department of Social Work and on the American College of Physician Advisors (ACPA) Observation Subcommittee. Tiffany is a regular contributor to RACmonitor, Case Management Monthly, serves on the editorial board for CMSA Today, and commentator for Finally Friday. She is a weekly correspondent on SDoH for the news podcast, Monitor Monday. After practicing as a hospital social worker, she went on to serve as Director of Case Management and quickly assumed responsibilities in system level leadership roles in Health & Care Management, which includes CM, UR, CDI, HIM, and coding. She has held c-level responsibility for a large employed medical group which included value-based arrangements, PCMH, and outpatient care management. Tiffany is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and received her MSW at UCLA. She is a licensed social worker, ACM, and CMAC certified.