A Practical Guide to Acute Care Case Management



The practice of case management and the organizations that support the work of CMs is enormously varied. To begin with, CMs come from and practice in every area within the healthcare continuum of care. They also are drawn from a wide range of professions, including nursing, social work, physical, occupational, speech, respiratory therapy, pharmacology and medicine. Healthcare CMs are licensed professionals in one of the fields of medical care, and may be members of a professional organization supporting that practice, such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) or the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). In addition, many practitioners come from specialties within their practice, which have their own professional organizations, such as the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN), the Oncology Nurses Society (ONS) or the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). But you have chosen a new area of specialization, case management, and now it is time to decide where you will find the professional support for your new professional home.

As you embark on your search, you will discover that there are a large number of professional organizations within case management. Below, you will find a table of the various organizations and the URLs for their websites. It is helpful to understand that some of the organizations are membership based professional organizations that provide their own case management certification or credentials, while others partner with standalone certification organizations.

The three largest organizations are (in alphabetical order): ACMA, CCMC and CMSA. ACMA is a professional organization with membership that also has its own certification subsidiary, which administers and manages the ACMA associated certifications. CCMC is a standalone certification organization without members, but which participates in some of the traditional activities of professional organizations, such as provided educational resources and an annual conference. CMSA is a professional organization that has a membership base who are certified and credentialed by other organizations. There are at least 12 different certificates aimed at case management professionals, and while not all of them have an associated professional organization, each of the certificates is aimed at practitioners focused on different aspects of the healthcare continuum. Your choice of professional organization to join could, in part, be guided by your choice of which certificate you wish to pursue, or which you have already earned. The following table is not a complete listing of every professional organization, which supports case management, but it does include most of the largest and well-known.

Table 7.2
professional organizations for case managers


  1. The information in Table 7.2 was compiled from a variety of sources, including the organizations’ websites, the 2021 Special Report: Stepping Up to Certification by Anne Llewellyn, and The Essential Guide to Interprofessional Ethics in Healthcare Case Management by Ellen Fink-Samnick.
  2. Professional Organization
  3. Certification Board
  4. (Llewellyn, 2021 Special Report: Stepping Up to Certification, 2021)
  5. For a detailed and broad explanation for the importance of certification and accreditation as well as thorough discussion of the many organizations providing oversight and certification for healthcare case management, please see Chapter 2 of Ellen Fink-Samnick’s The Essential Guide to interprofessional Ethics in Healthcare Case Management. See also Anne Llewellyn’s 2021 Special Report: Stepping Up to Certification for detailed information about many of the certificates listed below, including thorough explanations of the history, purpose and scope of each certificate.
  6. (American Board of Managed Care Nursing, 2021)
  7. ACMA is the second largest professional organization focused on the practice of case management.
  8. (Llewellyn, 2021 Special Report: Stepping Up to Certification, 2021)
  9. ANCC is the certification arm of the American Nurses Association (ANA). Together with ANA, and the ANA Foundation if forms ANA Enterprise. The organization is the largest and most active professional organization for nurses in the United States.
  10. (ANA Enterprise, 2021)
  11. (Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, 2021)
  12. CMSA is the oldest and largest professional organization focused on the practice of case management.
  13. (Llewellyn, 2021 Special Report: Stepping Up to Certification, 2021)
  14. (Llewellyn, 2021 Special Report: Stepping Up to Certification, 2021)
  15. (Fink-Samnick, 2019)
  16. (Patient Advocate Certification Board, 2021)
  17. (Patient Experience Institute, 2021)


Whether you are embarking on your career or have years of experience as one of those “helping professionals,” as case management thought leader Anne Llewellyn refers to us, you will need support and resources to grow your professional practice and network. “Our healthcare system is complex, fragmented, costly, and at times unsafe. Having professionals in place who can assist consumers navigate through the healthcare maze is important” (Llewellyn, 2021 Special Report: Stepping Up to Certification, 2021). Finding the right professional organization will enrich your professional life, improve your practice and likely change the trajectory of your career for the better.

Professional organizations offer the support and education necessary to excel in today’s complex and ever-changing health care world. In order to perform well as a CM, you must have extensive education and a wide variety of resources because your clients’ issues are complex. You will more fully meet their needs, if you are able to draw on the enormous resources you will gain through membership in a good professional organization.

dr. colleen morley

Dr. Colleen Morley, DNP, RN, CCM, CMAC, CMCN, ACM-RN, FCMis the associate chief clinical operations officer, care continuum for University of Illinois Health System and the current president of the Case Management Society of America National Board of Directors. She has held positions in acute care as director of case management at several acute care facilities and managed care entities in Illinois, overseeing utilization review, case management and social services for over 14 years as well as piloting quality improvement initiatives focused on readmission reduction, care coordination through better communication and population health management.

Her current passion is in the area of improving health literacy. She is the recipient of the CMSA Foundation Practice Improvement Award (2020) and ANA Illinois Practice Improvement Award (2020) for her work in this area. Dr. Morley also received the AAMCN Managed Care Nurse Leader of the Year in 2010 and the CMSA Fellow of Case Management designation in 2022. Her first book, A Practical Guide to Acute Care Case Management, published by Blue Bayou Press, was released in February 2022.

Dr. Morley has over 20 years of nursing experience. Her clinical specialties include med/surg, oncology and pediatric nursing. She received her ADN at South Suburban College in South Holland, Illinois, BSN at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida, MSN from Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont and her DNP at Chamberlain College of Nursing.


American Board of Managed Care Nursing. (2021, February 28). Home.

American Case Management Association. (2019). Transitions of Care Standards. ANA Enterprise. (2021, February 28). About Us.

ANA Enterprise. (2021, February 28). Nursing Case Management Certification (CMGT-BC).

Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. (2021, February 28). Home.

Canadian Mental Health Association. (2019, October 17). The Importance of Human Connection.

Case Management Society of America. (2010). Standards of Practice for Case Management. Little Rock, Arkansas: Case Management Society of America.

Cherry, K. (2021, January 7). Psychosocial Development Guide. Retrieved from VeryWellMind.comhttps://www.verywellmind.com/generativity-versus-stagnation-2795734

Commission for Case Management Credentialing. (2015, January). Code of Professional Conduct for Case Managers. Mount Laurel, New Jersey, United States of America.

Doyle, A. (2020, August 5). The Importance of Career Networking.

Fink-Samnick, E. (2019). The Essential Guide to Interprofessional Ethics in Healthcare Case Management. Brentwood, TN: HCPro.

Llewellyn, A. (2018). The 2018 Special Report: Stepping Up to Certification: A Case Manager’s Guide to Certification. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Blue Bayou Press, LLC.

Llewellyn, A. (2021). 2021 Special Report: Stepping Up to Certification. Fort Lauderdale, FL: National Academy of Certified Care Managers. (2021, February 28). Home Page.

Patient Advocate Certification Board. (2021, February 28). Home.

Seppälä, E. (2012, August 26). Connect to Thrive. Psychology Today.

The Beryl Institute. (2021, February 28). The Beryl Institute.

Thompson, B. D. (2017, October 19). The Upsides and Downsides of Telecommuting.


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