BY, MS, BHSA, RN, BC, CCM, CRRN
Each month in the Legacy Leaders column, we meet a case management leader recommended by one of the past presidents of CMSA. The goal is to share information on up-and-coming leaders in case management who have contributed to the practice of case management and have inspired others to become leaders in their practice. In this issue, Past President Anne Llewellyn recommended Tara N. Adams, LCSW, CCM. Here are a few questions that will allow you to get to know Tara.
Q. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE AS A CASE MANAGER?
I am currently not working as an active case manager. I am assisting specialty pharmacies with accreditations such as URAC, ACHC and NABP. Specialty pharmacists have a unique role providing counseling and services to patients completing initial assessments, reassessments and care plans. I have enjoyed helping numerous clients to develop or strengthen their clinical programs and help their patients.
I am also currently serving as the president of CMSA for Northeast Florida since September of 2020. Previous to that, I was the communications chair and president elect. I have enjoyed getting to know the case managers in the organization and coordinating educational opportunities for our members and guests.
I worked as a case manager in managed behavioral health care organizations (MBHO)/insurance companies for over 13 years. Behavioral health case managers complete assessments on patients and link them with the most appropriate type and level of care. They work with facility staff members to ensure appropriate step-down and/or after care. Much of the time it involves linking complex patients with local providers who specialized in their diagnosis or issue. Behavioral health case managers are typically telephonic but get to know the patient and work closely with the patient to develop a care plan to meet their individualized needs. We often work collaboratively with medical case managers at the health plan on co-morbid patients.
Q. WHAT VALUE AS A CASE MANAGER DO YOU BRING TO YOUR PATIENTS/ORGANIZATION?
Case managers are the problem solvers and advocates for patients. They are often the go-between for the hospital, the patient/family and the UM staff, communicating with everyone involved. I see case managers as the string that binds an organization together. They work closely with customer service, provider relations, quality, clinical and every department at any organization I have worked for.
Q. WHERE DO YOU SEE THE PRACTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT GOING IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
I see the future of case management involving true integrated behavioral health and medical care. It is an easy concept to say but has been hard to put in practice. I am encouraged by some recent trends in integrated care and see this as the wave of the future, particularly in breaking down stigma associated with seeking behavioral health or substance use disorder treatment. I think the increased focus by all aspects of case management on social determinants of health will lead to better care and quality of life for our clients and communities.
Q. WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE IN YOUR PRACTICE? HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THEM?
When I first became an MBHO case manager, I faced criticism for going over to the “dark side” of managed care from being a practicing clinician. However, I have found that no matter which side of treatment I am on, I can make a positive difference in the lives of my clients. There are numerous challenges as a behavioral health case manager. Another challenge is also finding appropriate providers for patients. The lack of psychiatrists in this country (particularly adolescent and child psychiatrists) is well known and presents a challenge for everyone. I applaud all efforts to make psychiatric care more accessible and available to everyone.
Q. HOW HAS BELONGING TO THE CASE MANAGEMENT SOCIETY OF AMERICA ENHANCED YOUR CAREER?
I initially received CMSA membership through my employer to meet the URAC requirement for ongoing training in our field. However, I have continued my membership due to the relationships, knowledge and networking opportunities that CMSA has given me. I have a world of resources available to me anytime I need it. Participating in CMSA national conferences, local conferences, webinars and in-person meetings has taught me about diseases and treatments that I was not exposed to as a social worker. I have also gotten to know many amazing case managers that have become colleagues and friends that I would not have met if it were not for CMSA.
I am honored to be representing Northeast Florida now as chapter president and look forward to the next step of an All-Florida CMSA Chapter. I am optimistic for the future of CMSA in Florida with the combined greatest of CMs in this state. Though there are many challenges ahead, I look forward to working collaboratively to meet them and represent Florida proudly.
I am also excited to see the new direction of CMSA National with the new management company. I think the best is yet to come!