Springfield, MO

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Case managers form new networking association

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

Case managers in the Springfield area are pooling their resources. A new case managers association has been formed so that case managers can get together and talk to each other about where to find what they need in the area.

Joyce Eiken is president of the new association; Lisa McKnight is vice-president; and Lesa Sturtevant is secretary. Ginny Ross also serves on the association's board of directors.

The four women are case managers at different local businesses: McKnight works for Oxford Home Care, Health Care Network; Ross for Springfield Public Schools; Sturtevant for Citizens Memorial Hospital; and Eiken for Alliance Blue Cross, Blue Shield.

Often, a case manager has no one to "bounce ideas off of" since he or she may be the only case manager in the office. That was true for Eiken, who first started working on the association when she met one of the founders of a similar association in St. Louis.

From there, she became acquainted with other case managers who wanted to form an association, and the project began. Now between 20 and 25 managers are interested, she said, and those case managers are from all different fields. Case management involves a variety of types of professions, Eiken said.

A case manager can be a social work, psychology or nursing professional, for example, Eiken said. A case manager takes on a case when certain special circumstances become apparent.

The patient could need medical services that his or her insurance benefits do not cover, for example, and it is the job of a case manager to show just cause for getting that person that care, Ross said.

"If we override the person's benefits, then we have to prove that the care we get for them would prevent a hospital stay later, for example," Ross said.

The need for continuing education is what brought the case managers together for this association, Ross said.

Where finding the right resources might have been hit-and-miss before, and involved a lot of phone calls and legwork, this association will make it easier, Sturtevant said.

The group had two initial meetings in 1997, one Oct. 27, and one Nov. 18. The group plans to have an educational speaker at every other meeting. It will apply to establish its membership with the Case Managers Society of America; the group will have to be at least 20 members strong for that certification to take place, Eiken said, but at least 20 case managers have already shown interest.

Future meeting topics include high-risk obstetrics cases, in January, and Americans with Disability Act requirements, in March, Mc-Knight said. The group has an education committee that is working to put together potential topics, she added.

The group is open to all types of case managers.

For more information on the association, call Sturtevant at 777-6000 or Eiken at 881-8510.

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