Understanding the enemy: A curated list of COVID-19 resources for case managers!

covid-19 resourcesCase managers are struggling. Preliminary results from over 5,900 CCMs in our recent “Checking in With Our CCMs” survey reveals some of the burdens our case managers carry, and it’s eye-opening.

We’re not that surprised by the results on the professional side. Most case managers are working remotely (57%) and have limited contact with clients and patients (55%). Some, however, have been called upon to work on the frontlines. Regardless, many (40%) are fielding more questions than ever from clients and patients.

Significant percentages are dealing with staff shortages (15%) and lack of supplies (28%). Clearly, work has become more challenging, but that’s to be expected. And we know that professional case managers will always rise to the challenge.

What has been a surprise is how much the coronavirus has personally affected case managers. We’re seeing that, as you continue to advocate for clients and connect them to the resources they need, many case managers themselves carry a heavy burden.

We’re seeing significant percentages for food scarcity among case managers (16.6%) and income loss (30.5%). More than 21% of today’s case managers report clinical health issues. About 5% of those responding say the practice or organization they work for has shut down completely. Most distressing of all, much more than we anticipated—5.3% of case managers—report losing loved ones to COVID-19.

It’s a dark time for many in our profession and yet, as we move forward with resilience and commitment, we find sources of encouragement. I found one in the preliminary results: There’s a real hunger to learn about the coronavirus. Our CCMs want to know more so they can be trusted resources to clients and to colleagues—and perhaps to friends and family.

Mental health
We know the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn are taking a toll on your mental health. In fact, it’s negatively affected the mental health of 45% of U.S. adults, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

So the first resource we’ll offer is a simple three-pager from WHO with a self-explanatory title: “Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Webinars and training
Organizations and companies in the health and medical space are making available on an array of COVID-19-related webinars and other educational programs we would like to share with you—most are free.

The National Association of Social Workers’ (NASW) COVID-19 page includes educational and advocacy resources, broken down by category (e.g., ethics, workforce, etc.). It also has links to webinars that are free to NASW members.

The Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network’s dedicated COVID-19 page features webinars and communication tools. It also provides information about a nightly (M-TH) online discussion for hospice and palliative care professionals.

The Alliance for Health Policy has produced a series of COVID-19 webinars. The focus is on public health, but some have direct application for case managers, including COVID-19 Webinar Series Session 9 – Social Isolation and Loneliness.

Nurse.org has curated five online training resources for nurses.

The Institute for Health Improvement has curated a collection of COVID-19 guidance and resources, including a link to its Virtual Learning Hour Special Series.

The National Academy of Medicine provides an array of coronavirus resources, including webinars and videos.

American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing’s site features links to basic resources as well as several webinars. Of particular interest is the section “Telephone Triage and COVID-19.”

American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s robust COVID-19 Response Webinar Series deserves a mention. Many of the topics understandably relate to academia, but some have applications for case managers across professional settings.

Publishers and professional societies are stepping up; most are making COVID-19 research available at no charge. Among the many journals providing free access to COVID-19-related research are:

The New England Journal of Medicine
The Lancet
British Medical Journal

Lippincott Nursing Center: COVID-19’s comprehensive, frequently updated website offers links to journal articles, reports and educational materials. It also features podcasts and blog posts and provides a link to each state’s board of nursing.

UpToDate: Coronavirus disease: This evidence-based, peer-reviewed and frequently updated clinical decision-support resource provides the most current information on COVID-19. It covers everything from epidemiology and virology to prevention and management. Clickable footnotes show you abstracts of all the original research cited. It’s a good place to start.

News sources

Chances are, you, your clients and colleagues are overwhelmed with news about COVID-19, so we’ll keep this list short.

MedPage Today and Medscape, targeted primarily to health care professionals, provide Coronavirus coverage with a focus on research. MedPage also features links to educational resources that are pre-approved for CCM continuing education credits.

Kaiser Health News, targeted to a broad audience, provides a daily roundup of news from both mainstream media and health-related publications—including original reporting.

Client-facing resources
Many of your clients—or their loved ones—may be confused and overwhelmed by all the information coming at them.

COVID-19 basics (UpToDate): Like the professional version, this is a peer-reviewed and a regularly updated overview of the COVID basics—except this one is designed for consumers.

CDC’s public-facing COVID-19 site: Again, this covers the basics; it includes links to updates and surveillance data, but it’s mostly about the basics of staying healthy and recognizing symptoms.

In addition, Kaiser Health News, mentioned above, provides a daily non-partisan, a curated roundup of Coronavirus-related news.

The Big Three
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include links to what are probably the three most important sites for COVID-19 information. You’re familiar with them, of course: CDC, WHO, and the National Institutes of Health.

Up next
We’ll be in touch soon with the full results of the Commission’s “Checking in With Our CCMs” survey. And if you’ve found resources to help you better fight this pandemic, let us know through the Commission’s social media channels so we can share them with your colleagues. Until then, be well.

Note: Please visit our COVID-19 webpage for updates on the Commission and to stay current on how to get certified and stay certified. You may also find our brief COVID-19 podcasts here.

MaryBeth KurlandGuest post from Mary Beth Kurland, CAE, Chief Executive Officer, Commission for Case Manager Certification

MaryBeth Kurland leads and sets the Commission’s strategic mission and vision. She manages relationships with like-minded organizations and oversees business development as well as the Commission’s programs, products, and services. She works directly with the Board of Commissioners, building its corps of volunteer and subject-matter experts who directly support and evaluate certification and related services.

Prior to becoming CEO, Kurland served as the Commission’s chief operations officer and was the staff lead for the development and launch of the Commission’s signature conference, the CCMC New World Symposium®. Kurland brings extensive experience to her role, having served as executive director of organizations, including the Association of Medical Media, Office Business Center Association International and the League of Professional System Administrators.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, the American Society of Association Executives and the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives. In 2011, Kurland was recognized as Association TRENDS Young & Aspiring Association Professional.

Which Case Management Certification Should I Get? (UPDATED AUGUST 2019)

Which CM Certification Should I GetWe have been getting a lot of inquiries recently regarding the different types of Case Management Certifications available. Many of you want to know which is best for you. This is a very individual choice based on where you work, your professional background, and where you see yourself working in the future. This article gives a comparison of 3 of the more popular certification available for case managers to help you decide which one may be best for you.

CCM (Certified Case Manager)

This certification exam is administered by the Commission for Case Manager Certification and is considered the gold standard of case management certifications. It is also the most popular with over 45,000 board-certified case managers to date. This certification is inclusive of all case managers no matter their work setting or credentials as long as they have a license that allows them to conduct an independent assessment of the client. This makes it very popular with case managers today who are interested in career advancement and know the importance of making themselves more marketable.


Applicants must meet the qualifications in three areas; licensure or education, employment, and character, to be eligible to sit for this exam. Qualifications include:

Licensure or Education Requirements

Applicants must have:

(1) a current, active and unrestricted licensure or certification in a health or human services discipline such as RN, LCSW, CRC, Rx, PT, OT, ST, RT, and CDMS.


(2) a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in nursing, social work or other health and human services discipline and have completed supervised field experience in case management, health, or behavioral health.

Employment Requirements

Applicants must meet one of the employment requirements below:

  • 12 months of full-time case management, supervised by a CCM
  • 12 months of full-time case management employment experience as a supervisor of individuals who provides case management services
  • 24 months of full-time case management

Character Requirement

Be of good moral character, consistent with the CCMC Code of Professional Conduct.

Exam Structure

According to CCMC, “The CCM exam is practice-based, meaning all questions are based on the knowledge that an experienced case manager should know and understand.”

The examination content focuses on the following five domains:

  • Care Delivery & Reimbursement Methods
  • Psychosocial Concepts & Support Systems
  • Quality & Outcomes Evaluation and Measurement
  • Rehabilitations Concepts & Strategies
  • Ethical, Legal & Practice Standards

You will have 3 hours to complete the exam which consists of 180 multiple-choice questions. Only 150 of these are actual scored questions, the other 30 are pretest questions which are not scored. Those who pass this exam are entitled to use the credential CCM (Certified Case Manager). 

Exam Schedule

The exam is administered 3 times each year, April, August, and December. The test can be scheduled any day during the testing month at a Prometric Testing Center. Applications to test must be submitted during the application window for that test month.


Exam Period April August December
Application window open November 1 March 1 July 1
Application window close January 31 May 31 September 30
Approve/Denial Notified By February 28 By June 30 By October 31
Exam Administered April 1-30 August 1-31 December 1-31


The application fee is $200 (non-refundable) plus the exam fee of $185 (refundable if ineligible to sit for the exam), for a total of $385. 

The Skinny

Who: Medical Professionals who are permitted to conduct an independent client assessment

Work Setting: All

Credential: CCM

Fee: $385

Work Experience: Minimum of 1 year

Renewal: 5 years

Popularity: 45,000+

This is for you if: (1) You are a medical professional working as a case manager. (2) You are looking for career advancement. (3) You want the Gold Standard Certification. (4) You work or plan to work in a setting other than acute care. 

For further clarification on eligibility please contact: CCMCertification.org

ACM (Accredited Case Manager) 

This certification is created and administered by the America Case Manager Association (ACMA). It is only offered only to RN’s and Social Workers. The ACM is for health delivery system and transitions of care (ToC) case managers working in the hospital setting. 


The ACM Certification examination is open to all registered nurses with a valid and current nursing license and/or social workers with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in social work or valid social work license. All applicants must have 1 year (2,080 hours) of full time, supervised paid work experience as a case manager or in a role that falls within the scope of Services and Standards of Practice of a case manager, by a health delivery system. Candidates with less than two years of experience must provide supervisor contact information and an attestation that they have at least one year of case management experience. It is important to note that paid or unpaid internship does not count toward full-time work experience. The exam application fee is $325. Candidates deemed ineligible to sit for the exam will receive a refund, less a $75 processing fee.

Exam Structure

The examination content focuses on hospital case management and transitions of care (ToC) in the following four domains: 

  • screening and assessment, 
  • planning, 
  • care coordination, intervention, and transition management,
  • evaluation. 

There are two components to this exam. The first part consists of questions that test core case management knowledge, skills, and abilities. The second part of the exam involves discipline-specific clinical simulations. Candidates must pass both the core and discipline-specific portions to be entitled to use the ACM credential. 

Exam Schedule

Quarterly Exam Scheduling. Candidates apply and test within the regularly scheduled deadlines and timeframes listed below.


Application Deadline Exam Period
November 15 January, February, March
February 15 April, May, June
May 15 July, August, September
August 15 October, November, December


The Skinny

Who: RN’s and SW only

Work Setting: Hospital

Credential: ACM (Accredited Case Manager) ACM-RN or ACM-SW

Fee: $325

Work Experience: Minimum of 1 year

Renewal: 4 Years

Popularity: 6,400+

This is for you if: (1) You are an RN or SW case manager working in a hospital setting and plan to continue working there. (2) You are looking for career advancement where you currently work.

Learn More: acmaweb.org


This certification is administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). It is developed for nurses, by nurses and is focused specifically on nursing case management. 


Applicants must meet the qualifications in two areas, licensure and employment. 

Qualifications include:

Licensure Requirements

Applicants must hold a current, active RN license within a state or territory of the United States or the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country to be eligible to sit for the exam. International applicants must comply with additional requirements. 

Employment Requirements

Applicants must have practiced the equivalent of 2 years full-time as a registered nurse and have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in nursing case management within the last 3 years. In addition, applicants must have completed 30 hours of continuing education in nursing case management within the last 3 years.

The application fee is $395. If you are a member of the American Nurses Association (ANA), the application fee is $270. If you paid $395 to apply for an exam and then chose to withdraw or were deemed ineligible for the exam, ANCC would retain $140 and provide a $255 refund.

Exam Structure

(*Note this information applies to the new updated test which begins December 16, 2019)

The ANCC is a competency-based exam that assesses the entry-level clinical knowledge and skills of registered nurses working in case management. The examination content focuses on the following four domains: 

  • Professional Foundation
  • Care Coordination
  • Quality Management
  • Health Promotion

You will have 3 hours to complete the exam which consists of 150 questions. Only 125 of these are actual scored questions, the other 25 are pretest questions that are not scored. After successfully passing the exam the RN-BC (Registered Nurse-Board Certified) is awarded. 

Exam Schedule

After you mail your application, allow 4 – 6 weeks for an eligibility decision. If eligible, you’ll get an authorization to test number and a 90-day window in which to schedule and take your exam at a Prometric Test Center.

The Skinny

Who: RN

Work Setting: All

Credential: RN-BC

Fee:  $395, American Nurses Association (ANA) Member $270

Work Experience: 

  • 2 years full-time as a registered nurse, and
  • 2,000+ hours of clinical practice in nursing case management within the last 3 years, and
  • 30 hours of continuing education in nursing case management within the last 3 years.

Renewal: 5 Years

Popularity: 2,000+/-

This is for you if: (1) you are an RN. (2) You work or plan to work in a setting other than acute care. (3) You are looking for career advancement.

Learn More: NursingWorld.org

My Opinion

I wanted to share how and why I chose the CCM Certification from different options.

At first, I was leaning toward the ANCC since I was a nurse and it was for nurses only. When it was time for me to apply, I asked the director of my department her opinion. Her answer was “the CCM is the gold standard”…

So, I began looking into CCM. I also looked at job postings for Case Manager positions I may want in the future and all the positions required CCM certification. Based on this, I made the choice to seek my CCM certification and have been extremely happy with my decision. My CCM certification has opened many doors for me.

While the CCM was the right choice for me, it will not be the right decision for everybody. You will need to take into consideration your current situation and where you see yourself in the future.

No matter which one you choose, good luck and know that you can do it! Being a Certified Case Manager is a great profession!

Deanna Headshot 2Deanna Cooper Gillingham, RN, CCM is a leader in case management with over a quarter-century experience in healthcare as a Registered Nurse and Case Manager. She is CEO and co-founder of the Case Management Institute, and leader and co-founder of the Case Managers Community, a group of over 10,000 committed case managers. From there she hosts the popular Case Managers Community Saturday morning FB Lives.

In addition to her own books, CCM Certification Made Easy: Your Guide to Passing the Certified Case Managers Exam and Foundations of Case Management (Available 2020), she has contributed to other works including Second Acts, Stepping Up to Certification, and Case Management Salary and Trends Survey.


CCM Preparation with Ethics in Mind

CCM preparation with ethics in mind:

Swim with the current, stand like a rock

swimming with the current“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” When it comes to helping case management clients achieve their goals, Thomas Jefferson’s words were never truer. Every day, case managers need flexibility while standing firmly on ethical principles and standards.

When you earn the CCM, you’ve demonstrated you have the knowledge and skills to practice with excellence. But CCMs also represent a professional code and standard of practice. The Commission’s values include advocacy for consumer protection, quality case management practice, and ethical standards and behavior. That’s why the CCM exam includes the ethics, legal and practice standards knowledge domain.

Professional ethics are integral to case management. Becoming board-certified isn’t just about knowing facts and demonstrating skills. Case management requires critical thinking and good judgment. We want to nurture a case management community that asks questions and considers the implications and consequences of our actions in the context of ethical principles.

Naturally, exam preparation should include the study and understanding of the ethical, legal and practice standards of case management. The Commission’s Code of Professional Conduct for Case Managers (the Code) is the best place to start. It includes eight overarching principles and six rules of conduct, plus the scope of practice, standards for conduct, and the procedures for anyone to file a complaint. It intentionally provides a framework—not specifics—for ethical practice so case managers understand their responsibility to apply the Code wisely, practicing good judgment.

The Code, which is accepted across the industry as the ethical standard for case managers, was adopted by the Commission on November 1996 and was last updated in 2015. In many ways, it defines the profession and undergirds our ability to practice independently. Case managers who carry the CCM credential commit to advocating ethically for their clients, putting the client’s safety, privacy, and autonomy first.

In the context of an ever-changing health care landscape, it’s telling that the eight principles maintain their applicability. For example, the first principle, “Board-certified case managers will place the public interest above their own at all times,” ensures that we actively advocate for the client. That ethical standard helps all board-certified case managers uphold consumer trust. These principles and standards provide the ethical baseline for case managers and the support needed to take a stand when challenged by an employer, a caregiver or anyone else. Because board-certified case managers agree to follow the code, we can say with confidence, “I can’t do that,” while pointing to the Code and explaining why.

Because eight ethics CEs are required every five years for recertification, the Commission also provides a range of ethics continuing education materials. You can take advantage of one of these opportunities to view materials and then quiz your understanding of the Code at no charge, all on the CMLearning Network® platform. You only need your ccmcertification.org to log in—the same one you created when you applied for certification.

The Commission’s Code, exam, education requirements, CMLearning Network and Case Manager Body of Knowledge® contribute to our overall vision for the advancement and evolution of case management. As board-certified case managers, our commitment to the Code sets us apart as advocates who recognize that our actions or inactions play a critical role in helping clients achieve optimal health.

Vivian CampagnaVivian Campagna, MSN, RN-BC, CCM is the chief industry relations officer (CIRO) for The Commission for Case Manager Certification. As CIRO, Vivian’s primary focus is to work with individuals and/or organizations that are interested in Certification (CCM®/CDMS®), related products and services through CCMC’s broader marketing and promotions efforts; foster strategic partnerships and alliances; and provide insight and guidance related to industry trends and developments.


Patrice V. Sminkey Foundation Scholarship

Patrice V. Sminkey Foundation Scholarship

Honoring a commitment to certification: The Patrice V. Sminkey Foundation

By Debby Formica COO, Commission for Case Manager Certification

The phones are ringing in our offices here at the Commission, as they always do during a certification application window. The energy is high—the kind of day my friend and colleague Patrice Sminkey thrived in.

During her six years as CEO of the Commission, Patrice championed efforts to develop tools and resources for a prepared and ready workforce in order to promote, advance and advocate for quality case management. As a registered nurse by training, she spent many years of her career dedicated to the health care accreditation and certification arena.

Patrice passionately believed in the value of the CCM credential; anyone who had the privilege of hearing her speak at a conference or meeting could attest to that. Patrice personally inspired countless case managers to take the certification plunge and unequivocally demonstrate their competence. That’s the power of certification, and Patrice seemed to channel it as her special gift.

Soon after her passing in September 2016, a number of Patrice’s colleagues and friends began working to establish a foundation memorializing that commitment.

The Patrice V. Sminkey Foundation is a separate non-profit entity from the Commission. Led by Annette Watson, RN, CCM, as president, it is governed by an independent, volunteer board—all friends and colleagues of Patrice who cared about her dearly. And this year, the Foundation will be awarding its first scholarship recipients.

Until the end April, and again during a window in the fall, the Foundation will accept applications from case managers—board certified with the CCM or on the path towards certification—for scholarships to support professional development. The application is online. Amounts may be requested for up to $1,000 for CCM certification, research in case management or participation at a continuing education event.

We’re excited that there’s a vehicle to extend Patrice’s commitment to education, research and case manager development. The Foundation is funded by donations from individuals and organizations who also stand behind a commitment to case manager development.

I want to recognize one group gift from CMSA Iowa. The chapter made a one-time donation to the Foundation to fund scholarships for Iowa-based nurses who meet the CCM exam requirements. Those applicants should look for a separate application and criteria for scholarship funds here.

The amount we are able to give case managers for professional advancement depends on the generosity of people like you. If you would like to donate, please send your check to the Patrice V. Sminkey Memorial Foundation, c/o Commission for Case Manager Certification, 1120 Route 73, Suite 200, Mount Laurel, NJ, 08054.

And if you’re considering CCM certification, I would encourage you to make the commitment, take the plunge, and apply today. Apply for the scholarship, too. I believe Patrice would say that there’s no better way to advance yourself and the field of case management.

Debby Formica COO, Commission for Case Manager CertificationDebby Formica has been with the Commission since 2010. She served previously as director of administration and operations, assistant vice president, and director of business development. In her new role as COO, Formica is responsible for oversight of certification services, management of volunteers, and implementation of the strategic direction provided by the Board of Commissioners. Formica has extensive experience in financial analysis, project management, and certification services. She began her career by spending eight years in healthcare financial consulting with CBIZ KA Consulting Services before moving to Johnson & Johnson as a manager in contract management and analysis. She holds a bachelor of science in accounting from Lehigh University and is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, the American Society of Association Executives and the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives. Formica is also president and founder of Helpful Gifts from the Heart, a non-profit that benefits families dealing with pediatric cancer.

How to use the Knowledge Domains to Study for the CCM Exam

We recently received this article written by Vivian Campagna, MSN, RN-BC, CCM, from CCMC and thought it would be beneficial to know how to use the knowledge domains to study for the CCM. (Note the highlighter tip, which is part of Deanna’s Successful Study Strategies.)

Whenever I’m with a group of case managers, it’s common to get questions about the essential knowledge domains and corresponding subdomains used as the content blueprint for the exam. Where do they come from? Why do they matter? And (the most frequent question) how do I use them to study?

The CCM® exam is designed to evaluate a case manager’s job-based competency. That requires us to stay on top of current trends and practices in case management. The Commission is the only case management certification body that fields a research-based survey every five years (the CCMC Role and Function Study), to ensure we do just that. We ask thousands of case managers—both certified and not yet certified—about knowledge, skills and activities required in today’s practice. The robust, statistically significant findings inform the knowledge tested by the CCM exam and that’s where the knowledge domains come from.

The most recent study identified five major domains of essential knowledge, each of which represents the core knowledge used by case management professionals across the care continuum. Every time the exam is administered, it contains a carefully weighted number of “items” (questions) from each of the knowledge domains. In that way, the exam as a whole reflects the job-based competency knowledge, skills and activities revealed through the Role and Function Study. That’s important to employers and the health care industry because it’s assurance that a CCM is truly prepared with the essential knowledge required to perform the job with competence.

To further illuminate the essential knowledge included within those domains, the Commission divides them into more than 80 subdomains. So, for example, the Ethical, Legal, and Practice Standards domain has a dozen subdomains that include what types of ethical, legal and practice standards are tested on the CCM exam.

When applicants first see that long list of subdomains in the Certification Guide, it can be intimidating. That’s a lot of information to study!

I prefer to look at the knowledge domains and subdomains as a means to focus the majority of study time on areas where you don’t use the knowledge regularly in your work. So, for example, if your job doesn’t touch much on rehabilitation, that’s a knowledge domain you’ll need to study more.

There are some simple tricks to ease your mind when you look at that long list. First, print out the knowledge domains and subdomains so you have a hard copy in hand. You’ll find a handy version in our new Develop Others toolkit.

Next, take a highlighter and mark the subdomains where you have the most familiarity with the content. Then take a different colored highlighter and mark the areas where you have less experience or don’t use the information as often in your work.

Now you have a document to guide your study and focus. Although you’ll need to review information in all the knowledge domains and subdomains before taking the exam, the areas highlighted with the second color are the ones you’ll need to focus more time and effort to learn. (Hat-tip to Deanna Gillingham for the highlighter study idea!)

With your study topics prioritized, we recommend you set aside regular study periods at least three times a week (more often, depending on how much preparation you need) to review knowledge domain and subdomain content. The Commission’s new Pocket Prep study roadmap is a high-intensity guide for CCM exam prep based on an eight-week circuit. It moves you in a stepwise fashion through the knowledge domains, and also offers guidance for studying the required glossary terms (using the Commission’s official CCM Glossary App (1) is a smart study tip as well). Whether you complete the circuit once, twice, or even more, the Pocket Prep study roadmap is a handy way to ensure you’re systematically using the knowledge domains as the framework for your CCM exam preparation.

Getting certified is itself a journey that strengthens your skill set and adds to your professional knowledge. That’s a comment I often hear, too. Knowing that the knowledge framework on which the exam is based is relevant, validated and representative of case management practice across the care continuum only adds to the value of the CCM credential—for those who hold it and for the clients and employers who rely on what it represents.

Vivian Campagna, MSN, RN-BC, CCM is the chief industry relations officer (CIRO) for The Commission for Case Manager Certification. As CIRO, Vivian’s primary focus is to work with individuals and/or organizations that are interested in Certification (CCM®/CDMS®), related products and services through CCMC’s broader marketing and promotions efforts; foster strategic partnerships and alliances; and provide insight and guidance related to industry trends and developments.

1Purchase of the CCM Glossary App or any other CCM study materials is NOT required for certification and does not guarantee the applicant will pass the exam.

Didn’t Pass the CCM Exam, Now What?

Didn't pass the CCM Exam, Now What?

First of all, I want to let you know I am very sorry you did not pass. I know that you invested a lot of time and money into passing this exam. I hope you plan to take the exam again. Many people do not pass their first attempt and go on to pass later. This article should help you to do that.

CCMC will waive the application fee for your first retest during the next testing cycle only. For example, if you fail the test in April you can take the August exam without reapplying and paying the application fee again. You will have to pay the test center (Prometric) fee though. If you do not test during the next exam cycle, but wish to retest later or this is not your first retest, CCMC will require the entire application fee and test fee again. Also, if you rescheduled your first test and failed, you will have to reapply and pay the application and test center fees again. Basically, the application only covers 2 testing cycles, if for any reason you do not pass the test by the 2 test cycles after your application is accepted you must reapply.

Where to Start

The first thing you need to do is understand that you will go through the grieving process. Yes, you heard me right. You need to grieve the fact that something you put so much time, effort, and hope into did not end as you wanted it to. Allow yourself to go through all five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance where you will be able to put the past behind you and move forward with your new study plan.

As soon as you can, definitely within a day or two of taking the exam, brainstorm and write notes on every question you remember from the test, both those you knew the answer to and those you did not. Review your study resources for subjects that you recognize from the exam as this will help you remember questions from the test. Just mark or highlight everything you remember being on the test. Don’t study now. You will wait to begin studying again after you get the breakdown of your exam results from CCMC. Instead, once you have completed this take some time off and relax until after your results are listed on the exam dashboard.

How to Use Your Exam Results Breakdown

You should receive a notification from CCMC with a breakdown of your results. This will list each area of the exam with a proficient, marginal, or deficient rating. It may take a few weeks for you to get this. Once you receive this, call CCMC Customer Service to receive your numeric score for the exam.

You are going to want to spend the majority of your study time in the area(s) where you were deficient. Read over the chapter(s) in CCM Certification Made Easy, taking notes on the areas and subjects you are not proficient in. To be proficient you need to be able to relate the subject to best practice case management and understand how it would be used by a case manager. Use the links at the back of the chapter to further understand the concepts and subjects. You may even have to Google some of the terms if you are still having trouble.

As you learn something, stop and take the time to apply it. This can be done by thinking of a situation where you would use this new knowledge. You can make up a situation in your head. Just imagine DOING what you learned or TEACHING it to someone.

In the areas you are marginal you will do the same, but will not have as much to study as you already have a base.

For the areas you are proficient, be sure to review before the test to refresh your memory.

Additional Study Strategies

If you have not done so already, review my 10 page Study Strategies PDF. This free resource will help you to understand the test better, and give you links to additional free resources that are imperative to passing the CCM Exam. You can get it by clicking HERE and filling out the form on the right-hand side of the page. Then watch your inbox for a link to the PDF. (Use a personal email address as work email addresses do not allow emails with links to get through.) You will also get a series of additional emails from me with additional information you can use to help you pass the CCM Exam.

When I was preparing for the CCM Exam, I found that reading and studying small chunks at a time helped. I would read up on one subdomain and make sure I understood it well enough to explain it to someone else before moving on to the next. Sometimes the subdomain I was studying was easy and I would zoom through several in one session. Other times, I spent a long time on only one domain.

If you are an auditory learner who learns better when hearing information, or if you feel that you have reviewed and understand the facts but you need help knowing how to apply them to the questions, I have created a course with Anne Llewellyn that will help you. Anne has been in case management for decades and has tons of knowledge and expertise that she shares in the course. Where the book gives you the facts, the course is done in a conversational style and puts things into perspective. It also helps you discover areas where you might want to dig a little deeper.

Since you have access to the course until you pass the test, I recommend getting and completing it early in your studies. Then you can go back and relisten to the sections that you feel you need to hear again. I have had people tell me “I heard Anne’s voice talking to me during the test.”

Test Anxiety

Whether you have a history of test anxiety or it is a result of not passing the CCM Exam the first time, test anxiety can be debilitating. Taking a practice test like Datachem while using relaxation techniques and biofeedback may be helpful. If it is truly severe, you may need to seek counseling to help you resolve this issue.


Remember, many people do not pass their first attempt and go on to pass later. Use this as a learning experience to find your weak areas and master them. If, however, after using the information in this article you are still unsuccessful in passing the CCM Exam, you may want to consider another certification exam. Look for our upcoming article and resource Stepping Up To Certification to review your case management certification options.

How Does Your Case Management Salary Compare?

How does your case management salary compare?Wonder how your employer compares with others? How does your case management salary compare to the industry? Need a reference to show your employer standards for salary, benefits, caseload, education, certification and continuing education reimbursement?

We have you covered. The 2018 Salary and Trends Survey provides all this and more.

The survey was participated in by 1,000 case management professions. It collated valuable data on the case management industry that helps us understand who case managers are, the challenges they face, their salary potential, job satisfaction and the value they bring to consumers of healthcare and the organizations for which they work.

The industry is highly concentrated by women where ninety-seven percent (97%) are female. One-third of the case managers are forty-five (45) years of age and under, which means the majority of the workforce is over forty-five (45).

Although there is no education requirement for case management, almost half of the case managers surveyed have a bachelor’s degree, with just over a quarter holding an associate’s degree and just under a quarter holding a master’s.

More and more employers are requiring certification in case management from their staff. 70% of respondents stated that their employer requires certification in case management. If the case manager does not have this certification when hired most employers expect it within 4 years of hire.

As a benefit of their experience, responsibilities, and value, professional case managers report strong income levels and comprehensive benefits packages.

The 2018 Case Management Salary and Trends survey revealed over half (53%) of professional case managers surveyed make between $70,000 and $90,000 per year with nearly one-fifth (12%) earning over $100,000. Compensation has gone up since 2015 which was the last time the salary and trends survey was completed.

After salary, the next parameter to consider is required work hours and time off. Case managers also have flexibility in when they work with two-thirds of the case managers having three weeks or more of vacation, and only one-fourth of case managers surveyed work weekends and/or holidays. This is huge considering that most nurses are used to working 2-3 weekends a month and every other holiday, at a minimum!

Overall case managers are very satisfied with their career choice. The results showed that the majority (92%) of case managers surveyed are pleased with their case management career choice and see themselves staying in the industry for many years to come. This is very encouraging at a time when many nurses are reporting poor job satisfaction and leaving the workforce.

Fill out the fields below to get your Salary and Trends Special Report

Are you eligible to take the CCM exam? Know before you apply

Are you eligible for the CCM?CCM Exam Eligibility

Knowledge of case management terminology and current practice are among the essential elements you’ll need to pass the Certified Case Manager® (CCM®) exam. But earning the CCM is about more than book knowledge—after all, it’s an exam based on what case managers do in daily practice.

Becoming a board-certified case manager requires you to have both the core education (which may be represented by licensure) and experience to practice case management before you even apply to take the test.

Why require education and experience to apply? Because the CCM is a professional certification, validating you have what it takes to grasp the big picture as well as the boots-on-the-ground know-how needed to practice case management.

The Commission expanded CCM exam eligibility requirements in March 2013. With a growing demand for case managers, we recognized the need to increase the ranks. We also acknowledged that case managers with education from across the allied health spectrum can demonstrate they have what it takes to become board certified.

Educational Requirements

The Commission’s Certification Guide goes into detail about eligibility, but we’ll cover the basics here. Let’s tackle the education requirement first. Applicants must have one (not both, just one) of the following two options to apply:

  • License/certification option: A current, active and unrestricted licensure or certification in a health and human services discipline that allows you to conduct a client assessment independently. Some examples of licenses and certifications that meet this eligibility requirement are: RN, LCSW, LMSW, LPC, CRC and CDMS.
    • The LPN and LVN licenses do not meet the independent assessment criteria, so those licenses don’t qualify candidates to apply for the CCM.
    • If you aren’t sure that your license or certification allows you to practice independently, contact your state governing board to find out.
    • If your license doesn’t qualify you to take the CCM, think about using your degree to apply instead.
    • Just remember, your license needs to be active and current at the time you would take the exam.
  • Higher education option: A bachelor’s or graduate degree in social work, nursing, or another health or human services field that promotes the physical, psychosocial, and/or vocational well-being of those being served.
    • Your degree must be from an accredited institution.
    • The degree, as part of the curriculum, must include supervised field experience in case management, health, or behavioral health. A great example of this is a bachelor’s degree in social work.
    • Do you have a bachelor’s degree, but you’re unsure whether it’s among the many we accept for eligibility? Just call us at 856-380-6836 to find out.

If you have a qualified license AND a qualified degree, choose the option that will support your renewal in the future.

Experience Requirement

Second, comes the experience requirement. For all the options below, the Commission holds that only experience within the past five years should be considered, because health care changes so rapidly (and so does case management practice). Internships, preceptorships, practicum and volunteer experience are not accepted as employment experience.

Experience must be complete at the time you apply (not when you sit for the exam). The criteria are specific about the experience itself to ensure you’re doing comprehensive case management.

For all three options, your experience must include work in at least four of the five core components of case management. These align with the Knowledge Domains on the CCM exam:

  1. Care Delivery and Reimbursement Methods
  2. Psychosocial Concepts and Support Systems
  3. Quality and Outcomes Evaluation and Measurements
  4. Rehabilitation Concepts and Strategies
  5. Ethical, Legal, and Practice Standards.

Within each component, case managers must perform all eight essential activities with direct client contact (assess, plan, implement, coordinate, monitor, evaluate, outcomes, general tasks). Your experience must include providing services across the care continuum and interacting with others in the care system.

The Commission will ask you to provide the name and contact information for a supervisor in order to confirm your work experience. A current email—personal or professional—is required. This is simply the person that you report to (or have reported to) as a case manager, in contrast to the “supervision” required for some licenses, such as social work or licensed professional counselor.

How much qualified experience do you need? The Commission offers three ways for you to meet the requirement:

  • 12 months of acceptable full-time case management employment, supervised by a board-certified case manager (CCM). Your Supervisor must be certified for at least one year at the time of your application.
  • 24 months of acceptable full-time case management employment experience (no supervision by a CCM required under this option).
  • 12 months of acceptable full-time case management employment experience as a supervisor of individuals who provide case management services. This must also fall in the last five years.

What if you work a part-time schedule? The Commission has a formula for that: We’ll pro-rate your experience based on a 37-hour work week (this is automatically calculated when you apply). Check the Certification Guide for details.

If it seems that eligibility criteria are a bit complicated, it’s because we try to ensure there are as many avenues open to qualified case managers as possible to apply for certification, while still ensuring the certification represents case manager excellence. Our goal is to certify and professionally support a qualified, ready workforce. And remember, we want to help, so don’t hesitate to call us at 856-380-6836.

Debby Formica COO, Commission for Case Manager CertificationDebby Formica has been with the Commission since 2010. She served previously as director of administration and operations, assistant vice president, and director of business development. In her new role as COO, Formica is responsible for oversight of certification services, management of volunteers, and implementation of the strategic direction provided by the Board of Commissioners. Formica has extensive experience in financial analysis, project management, and certification services. She began her career by spending eight years in healthcare financial consulting with CBIZ KA Consulting Services before moving to Johnson & Johnson as a manager in contract management and analysis. She holds a bachelor of science in accounting from Lehigh University and is a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, the American Society of Association Executives and the Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives. Formica is also president and founder of Helpful Gifts from the Heart, a non-profit that benefits families dealing with pediatric cancer.

CCM Exam Practice Questions

CCM Exam PracticeOne of the most frequently asked questions we get is regarding CCM exam practice questions. We post a practice question each weekday in our FaceBook Group Case Managers Community, with the answer posted the following day. But many people are looking for more than this. So we began researching options.

I would like to first stress the fact that I do not feel practice questions/tests are necessary to successfully prepare for the CCM Exam. Many people, including myself, have passed without taking a practice test. That being said, I do understand that some people like to add practice questions to the tools that they use to study.

I would recommend that anyone who has test anxiety use a practice test that simulates the CCM exam as much as possible. They should use the practice test in conjunction with relaxation techniques and biofeedback to learn how to cope with and overcome their test anxiety.

Practice questions/tests are also useful to gauge where you need to focus your study time. A good practice test will have questions in each of the Domains that CCMC will test you on and break down your results according to those domains so that you know where your strengths and weaknesses are.

I do not recommend practice questions/tests be the only study tools used. You still have to learn the material. “Guessing” at answers and reviewing the rationale to the ones you miss is really not studying, it’s learning to pass the practice test. Remember, mastering the practice test is not the same as mastering the information you need to know to pass the actual test. The actual test will have different questions and answer choices.

So what should you look for in a good practice test?

There are 2 things that are crucial. First, you want to know who wrote it. The person who wrote it should have passed the exam! Be skeptical of any practice questions whether in a book or digital format that do not list the names and credentials of the authors. It is also important that the rational, and when appropriate references, are listed along with the correct answer.

We were able to find a practice test we are proud to recommend: DataChem. DataChem met our minimum criteria stated in the last paragraph and also had additional features we feel are important.

DataChem has a practice test mode that allows you to determine the amount of time, the number of questions and the domains to include in your practice test. You have an unlimited number of times to use the practice test mode and can adjust the time, number of questions, and included domains each time.

In addition to the practice test mode, DataChem also has a study mode where you can read and answer one question at a time. You can also mark questions you are having trouble with and review them again at a later time.

DataChem has a large number of questions in its question pool. This means that you will not get the same questions over and over.

You have unlimited use of DataChem for the amount of time you purchase it for. The minimum is 60 days and the longest is 270. This is great because it gives you enough time to really use it to its fullest and not try to cram in all of your learning. You can use it as one of your study tools at regular intervals through your studies.  

I have created a demo video to walk you through some of the features of The Datachem CCM Practice Test Software. Click the link below to view the video and get additional information.

DataChem Demo Video for CCM Exam Practice Questions

When taking a practice test you will find information that is new to you. Don’t freak out! Use this as an opportunity to use your critical thinking and reasoning skills. You will come across questions on the actual test that you do not know the answer to. You have to know how to use the information provided and your knowledge base to answer these questions.

Please see our Affiliate disclosure at the following link Affiliate Disclosure

Have You Ever Thought About Opening Your Own Case Management or Patient Advocacy Business?

starting your own case management business

Have you ever thought about starting your own Case Management or Patient Advocacy business?

Do you currently have a business you would like to grow?

Anne Llewellyn and I will be conducting a Pre-Conference Workshop on this subject at this year’s National Nurses in Business Association National Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada October 12-14. This nurse entrepreneurship and careers alternative conference is the #1 business conference for nurses!

In our pre-conference workshop, we will look at the emerging roles of case management and patient advocacy for nurse entrepreneurs. We will teach you how to break into independent practice and develop a business plan for success so that you can establish a profitable business. If this is something that would interest you we would love to see you there. You can get more information by clicking this link…

Case Management and Patient Advocacy: Career Paths for Nurses Who Want to Move Beyond the Bedside

During this pre-conference seminar, you will learn:

  • The similarities and differences between patient advocacy and case management
  • The skills and competencies needed to be successful
  • How to reach and maintain prospective clients

nurse entreprenuershipThe National Nurses In Business Association Conference is designed for nurses who are thinking about starting a business, those already in business, and those looking for career alternatives. Nationally acclaimed speakers and business experts will provide nurses with the information, tools and actionable take-a-ways you need to start your own nursing business—or to make your current business even more successful, as well as exposing you to a wealth of alternative career options. In addition, the seven pre-conference workshops will give you in depth, how–to information, resources, and dozens of tips whether you are a novice or a seasoned pro.

Now, more than ever, there are unlimited opportunities in nursing to achieve autonomy and take the lead in re-framing nurse’s role in the delivery of healthcare services and programs. Thousands of nurses nationwide have already accomplished this by starting their own business and are enjoying independence, professional respect, and increased financial rewards.

We would love to see you there! Click the button for more information…

National Nurses In Business Association Conference 2018