Introducing the Online CCM Review Course

Online CCM Review CourseWhen I started studying for the CCM Exam, I noticed the information I needed was not easy for me to find and understand.

I needed to organize my notes by knowledge domain and thought this information could help others who were studying for the exam.

I read the study guides, researched the web, spoke to a bunch of people, joined a study group, organized my notes and put the information online so I could easily access my notes from anywhere.

Thus, was created.

Growth of a Community  

Since the launch in December of 2013, I passed the CCM exam in April of 2014 and have had thousands of visitors use the study guide, and the numbers keep growing.

We have an active Facebook group with over 1600 members. It has become a place for people to connect, share information and help each other.

I smile each time I hear someone passed because of my resources.

Along the Way, I Met Anne

Anne is a healthcare leader with over 40 years of experience as a critical care nurse, case  manager, professional patient advocate, educator and digital journalist. She has expertise as an independent case manager, specializing in catastrophic case management, workers’ compensation, and long – term care.   (more…)

5 Benefits of Obtaining the Certified Case Manager Certification

5 Benefits of Obtaining the Certified Case Manager CertificationHave you decided to take your nursing career to a new level by becoming a case manager, but you’re still wondering if obtaining certification is really needed?

It’s a valid question to ask yourself.

There are so many factors to consider.

When will I study? How will I pay for the exam? How will I make sure I complete the continuing education requirements?

Answers to these questions will require a solid plan.

When you consider the expanding need for certified case managers including the growing elderly population and the growing number of chronically ill patients, finding a way to get that certification is a good step in your new nursing adventure.

Here are a few reasons to become certified.

Sense of Personal Accomplishment

From that first successful IV stick to walking the line at graduation, every time you master a new nursing skill you feel great.

Obtaining certification is a mark of distinction that proves to you, your patients and the healthcare system you have acquired the knowledge to provide experienced case management to those you serve.

Increased Professional Opportunities

As healthcare continues to advance, the need for certified case managers who have the knowledge and skill to manage complex cases while saving time and money will increase.

From the increasing elderly population to more cases of chronically ill patients needing help navigating the healthcare system, the demand for certified case managers will continue to rise.  

In a survey of nurse managers, 86 % indicated they would hire a certified nurse if everything else was equal.

The need for certified case managers will continue to grow, why not get certified now? (more…)

Case Management Foundation Supports Professional Case Managers

case management foundation logoWhile attending the CMSA convention in Long Beach California this summer I was introduced to many new resources for case managers. By far my favorite was the Case Management Foundation. Prior to attending the convention I was unaware of the foundation and their work, so I wanted to help spread the word about this organization and the great work they are doing.

The Case Management Foundation (CMF) is a charitable organization created to support education, research, and professional development for case management professionals. They support projects and programs that help case managers in need, honor case managers who make significant contributions to the industry, contribute to case management research, and encourage collaborative and inclusive dialogue in our community.

CMF Certification Scholarships

CMF’s scholarship program awards several $500 grants to case managers who are currently experiencing an economic hardship that makes case management certification, preparation materials, or exam fee’s related to certification impossible at this time. To be eligible for the grant, applicants must have a college degree in healthcare, be working toward their case management certification, and experiencing an economic hardship. The 2016 application window is open now, and will close at 5:00 p.m. EST on October 1st. (more…)

Forget the Resolutions, Make Goals!

Forget the Resolutions, Make Goals!This is the time of year when everyone is talking about their New Year’s Resolutions. I decided a few years back not to make resolutions. To me, resolutions seem too close to rules; “I will go to the gym every day. I won’t eat sugar.” I don’t do well with people, even myself, telling me what I can and cannot do. I get this urge to rebel which sabotages my good intentions. But I still have a thing I want to accomplish. So I have decided to forgo the resolutions for goal setting.

Goals to me, are more of destinations that I am going to. Just like a map on a long journey shows you all the places you need to go through before reaching your destination; long term goals, short term goals and actions steps direct us to get where we want to be and mark our progress along the way. We may need to take a detour or stop for a rest, but by focusing on our end destination we will eventually get there.

Harvard did a study back in 1979 where it asked their MBA students about their goals, specifically if they had them and if they were written. They found that only 3% had written goals, 13% had goals that were not written down, and the remaining 84% had no goals. 10 years later they interviewed those students and found that the 13% who had goals were earning on average, twice as much as the 84% without goals. Even more amazing, the 3% with clearly written goals were earning on average 10x more than the other 97%. This inspires me to find time to make written goals! (more…)

Successful Study Strategies for the CCM

Successful Study Strategies for the CCMWhen I initially found out I would have to become certified in case management for my job I did not think it was a big deal. I had done well in school, passed a certification exam previously and completed plenty of continuing education units. But as the time approached for me to obtain my certification I became anxious. I needed to find successful study strategies for the CCM Exam.

It had been a long time since I had studied. I wasn’t sure I even remembered how. In school the teacher taught us and then we were tested on the material. This time there was no teacher. What was I supposed to study? When I was in school, it was my job to study. Now I had a full time job and a family to take care of. Where was I going to find the time? It all seemed overwhelming, but I got through it and so will you. Here are some things I learned along the way to help me pass my CCM Certification and I believe they will help you too.

Where to Begin?

Start off by determining what you need to know. Luckily CCMC gives us a list of the examination content, which tells us exactly what we will be tested on and the number of questions in each of these areas. Look over the exam content and determine what areas are your strong points and what areas you need to learn more about. Once you do this you can make a list of resources you will need to study from. This can include books, workbook and the internet.

Schedule It

What gets scheduled gets done. What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.  — Michael Hyatt

Determine when you will study. “When I get time” is not good enough. You need to schedule in your study time like you would an appointment. After looking at my schedule I determined I did not have time to study! I tried squeezing it in after the kids went to bed, but found myself falling asleep. I decided if I was serious about this I had to make it a priority and schedule it first thing in the morning, before my 4 kids woke up. This was a huge deal for me. I am not, nor have I ever been a morning person. Getting up at 5 am to study was torture, but I did it. And the longer I did it the easier it became. (more…)

Do You Educate Your Clients About NP’s?

Do You Educate Your Clients About NP's?During my phone call to Mr. Steele he informed me once again, “I’m changing doctors”. This client had been referred to Case Management for his new diagnosis of prostate cancer, for which watchful waiting had been recommended. But he also had uncontrolled Type II Diabetes, hypertension and numerous other problems as well as a history of noncompliance. In the four months since I had opened him to Case Management, he had changed primary care doctors twice, and now he was changing again.

Mr. Steele and I had developed a good rapport and he wanted me to recommend a new Primary Care Physician. Knowing his track record, I was more than a little uneasy making a recommendation.

His noncompliance was due to not understanding “why” he was told to do something. Once he was educated on the “why” and “how” he was happy to comply. He was very proud of the progress he was making with his lifestyle changes. I was afraid if he did not like the PCP I recommended it could damage the trust we had built and the progress he had made.

I began asking him why he decided to stop seeing his previous 3 doctors. He spent the next 10 minutes telling me all of the reasons he was not satisfied. They all seemed to stem from the same issues, he did not feel that he was heard, respected or educated. In his opinion, each visit was a waste of his time.

I then asked him what he was looking for in a doctor. He wanted someone who would listen to him, spend more than 3 minutes with him, educate him, and take the time to make sure he understood the plan of care before he left the office. I told him he was not looking for a doctor, he was looking for a Nurse Practitioner. (more…)

What is a Case Manager?

What is a Case Manager?I heard that question a lot after accepting my new position as a nurse case manager for a large insurance company. To be truthful, I did not know how to answer the question. I had applied for the job at the suggestion of a friend, even though I did not know what a case manager did.

Even after I was hired I still did not know what a case manager did. My new boss told me not to worry, that I had the qualities needed to be a great case manager, and that she could train me on the rest. Wow, talk about pressure. Then she handed me a book about case management and told me to read it. I was getting paid to read a book, so I didn’t complain.

I had been a case manager for about a year when I finally came up with an answer to the often asked question, “so what do you do?” My reply was, “I educate and support patients with complex medical issues and helped them to navigate the healthcare system.” Sounds good, but what exactly does that mean?

First things first, who needs a Case Manager?

Case management clients are not healthy people trying to prevent disease. They are people with either a chronic illness or injury or a complex acute illness or injury. They can range from a newborn infant born with a congenital heart condition, to a 26 year old with a spinal cord injury following an MVA, to a newly diagnosed Hepatitis C patient in liver failure requiring a liver transplant. (more…)

Passing the CCM Certification Exam

Last minute tips for passing the CCM exam and becoming a certified case manager

Passing the CCM Certification ExamAre you having anxiety about taking the CCM exam? In my article 8 Tips for Passing the CCM Exam I told you how to best study for the exam. Now in this article I will give you last minute tips to help you to pass the CCM exam.

Obtaining your CCM certification is an important step in advancing your career as a Case Manager.

You have spent countless hours studying for the CCM exam, and you want it to show on your test score right?

These steps will help ensure you are at your peak performance!

Tip 1: Read over the instructions you received from the CCMC and testing center.

It may sound silly, but make sure you read over the instructions. They will provide you with valuable information you will need for exam day. You will need to bring specific forms of ID, make sure you have them and that they are in acceptable condition. Your photo ID must be in excellent condition. I know one case manager who was turned away because the corner of her drivers license was coming apart. The testing center stated it could have been tampered with. (more…)

Career Goal | Pass CCM Exam

This is the time of the year when we decide what we want to accomplish in the new year. As I sat down to write my goals for 2015, I started by reviewing the ones I had for 2014 and reflecting on the year that had just past. I had one huge goal related to my career, to become a certified case manager by passing the CCM Exam. This goal was important, because as a condition of my employment I needed to pass it within the next year. Sure I could change jobs, but I loved being a case manager.

But taking a certification exam was not something I wanted to do. You see, years earlier I had obtained my certification in oncology nursing. I found it to be an extremely stressful and time consuming process. And to make matters worse, after I obtained my certification I found out my employer, who encouraged the certification, did not pay any extra to their certified nurses. I stated I would never put myself through that again, yet I found myself 15 years later eating those words.

I decided to make the best of it and do things differently this time. After years of homeschooling my children, I had picked up a thing or two about learning. One thing I knew about myself was that I learned better when I was teaching. At the time I did not know anyone else taking the exam, so I decided to create a website where I could “teach” others as I was studying for the exam.

I began studying by reading case management exam prep books. When I felt I was ready to take the exam I went online to apply. After applying I received the “exam blueprint” from The Commission for Case Management Certification. I realized that I had no idea what some of the topics covered on the exam even were, let alone feeling prepared to be tested on them. I got more exam prep books, but could not find all the information I was looking for.

I started doing my own research on the topics covered on the exam. I spent countless hours searching the
internet and other resources trying to find all the information I felt I needed to pass the exam. I also searched online for other case managers preparing for the CCM exam and started a virtual study group. We were all working in different areas of case management and were able to help each other understand the different areas covered on the exam.

After 10 months of studying and preparing I finally sat for my certification in April. I felt prepared but nervous, it had been 15 years since I had taken a test like this. After completing all the questions I truly felt I had not passed. Then I went back and looked at the flagged questions. There were not as many as I initially thought. I reviewed these and it seemed my initial answers
were correct for most of them. I was feeling more confident that I would indeed pass. I sat there with my hand over the submit button knowing once I clicked on it there was no turning back. I finally pushed the submit button. It seemed like it took forever before I saw my results…preliminary pass. It felt as if the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

Even though I had passed the exam, I could not give up working on my website and coaching others who were taking the exam. I knew how stressful and time consuming it had been for me, and wanted to help others as much as I could. I also began writing the exam prep book I wish I had when studying for the exam.

While writing CCM Certification Made Easy, I requested a raise based on my new certification. It appeared history was repeating itself. I was told that case management certification was a condition of my employment, and that no matter what I did, I was locked into my current salary. But this time I didn’t give up, and a few short months later I landed a new job, working out of my home, with a 15% pay increase.

In December I achieved my childhood dream of writing a book. My goal to pass the exam turned into a huge accomplishment. I never realized how obtaining certification could change my life.

If passing the CCM exam is on your list of goals for 2016 I hope you will check out my book, on my website

Are You Prepared to Pass the CCM Exam?

Earlier this week I was helping a friend study for the CCM Exam and she requested I ask her some open questions to check on her preparedness for the exam. I am happy to say she did great, and is now more confident about taking the exam later this month. I thought I would share these questions with you so you could check on your readiness.

1. Discuss goals; short term, long term and SMART.
2. What are some of the factors used to determine a CM’s caseload?
3. Differentiate between hard cost savings and soft cost savings.
4. Define beneficence, advocacy, and autonomy
5. Discuss ethics.
6. When can confidentiality be broken?
7. Discuss “negligent referral”, and steps a CM can take to prevent making one.
8. Differentiate between a Living Will and a Healthcare Power of Attorney.
9. Discuss the Americans with Disability Act.
10. Discuss FMLA.
11. Discuss the Mental Health Parity Act.
12. Discuss culture related to healthcare.
13. What is a maladaptive family?
14. Discuss dual diagnosis.
15. Discuss the Medicare Hospice Benefit.
16. Discuss the Medical Home Model.
17. Discuss evidence based practice.
18. Discuss medication reconciliation.
19. Discuss and differentiate Medicare, Medicaid, SSI, SSDI.
20. Compare workers comp, STD, LTD, SSDI.
21. What is the difference between work adjustment, work hardening and transitional work duty.
22. Discuss medical necessity.
23. Discuss coordination of benefits.
24. Discuss managed care.
25. What is the prospective payment system.

I hope you too, now feel more confident about taking the exam. If you are not sure about how you would answer some of these questions, review the website and/or my new book CCM CERTIFICATION MADE EASY: YOUR GUIDE TO PASSING THE CERTIFIED CASE MANAGER EXAM.