Did You Miss the Annual Conference? Catch the "Extended Conference"!

Friday, August 1, 2014
Pat Stricker, RN, MEd
Senior Vice President
TCS Healthcare Technologies

It’s that time of year again. CMSA’s "Extended Conference" packages are almost ready to be released. So those of you who were not able to attend the conference, or those of you who attended but missed some of the sessions, will now be able to go online and view them at your convenience. The concurrent sessions were recorded and will be available online by mid-August in the Educational Library Knowledge Center. You will be getting emails soon letting you know when you can purchase these packages.

For those of you who missed the conference, let me give you an overview. The 24th Annual Conference & Expo, held in Cleveland, Ohio, was a terrific success! Nearly 2,000 case managers from a variety of case management settings attended the four-day conference entitled: Embracing the Changing Rhythms of Healthcare. I don’t think any of us would disagree that we have a lot of change going on right now in healthcare!

The opening session with Dr. Michio Kaku fit the theme perfectly. Dr. Kaku is an internationally recognized authority in two areas: his work on Einstein’s unified field theory, which he is attempting to complete, and his predictions, which he bases on the latest science research. His futuristic presentation about how healthcare will be propelled into nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology was very thought-provoking. Talk about change!

That evening, the fun began with the Opening Night Event held at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where attendees dressed as their favorite rock stars and were treated to live music, summer eats, and a night of exploring rock music's greatest museum.

The following day, Captain Jerry Linenger shared his amazing story of life aboard the Russian space station "Mir" in his presentation: My 132 Days Off the Planet. His description of the mission with its joys and challenges was riveting. He explained the great odds he had to overcome to achieve his success, and challenged the audience to embrace the change we are experiencing and confront the challenges head-on.

The final keynote was Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer, who saved the lives of 13 American and 23 Afghan troops in five successive missions. Sgt. Meyer’s inspirational, positive presentation focused on his view that you have to take advantage of the opportunities life gives you and strive for the best possible outcome.

Of course, in addition to these fantastic keynote speakers, the conference also contained four days packed with educational symposiums, concurrent sessions, and poster presentations focusing on a wide range of quality content. The sessions included practical, operational information about healthcare reform, new healthcare programs and models of care, specific clinical conditions, best practices, transition of care, readmissions, and the latest innovations in technology (my favorite). There was certainly "something for everyone," regardless of the business model, practice setting, or clinical practice area each attendee represented.

CMSA also launched its new, revolutionary educational program: Career and Knowledge Pathways™. The debut program, based on CMSA’s Standards of Practice for Case Management, features printed content, audio/slide presentations, video vignettes, and avatar movies that place the participant into case management scenarios and allow them to make decisions and choose a course of action. Organizations who piloted this program gave their feedback. Congratulations to CMSA for raising the bar in case management education by launching this unique, ground-breaking educational program!

The 24th Annual Meeting of our professional association also occurred, along with the Awards Event that recognized excellence for a chapter, case manager, service organization, CM research, and CM practice improvement. Margaret "Peggy" Leonard was the recipient of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award for the commitment she has made over the years to advance the case management profession. She is only the sixth case manager to receive this honor. Congratulations, Peggy! Congratulations are also in order for Mary Beth Newman, recipient of the Case Manager of the Year Award, and Deborah Gutteridge, recipient of the Award of Service Excellence!

And last, but not least, the opportunities for networking were superb. Lunch was hosted each day in the exhibit hall, giving everyone a chance to not only talk with more than 200 vendors – who help support the conference and the case managers on a daily basis – but also to review the poster presentations and network with other attendees. The attendees were also treated to prizes from the exhibitors: numerous raffle drawings, $500 cash giveaways, and an Alaskan cruise.

How do they do it? CMSA puts on the best professional conference year after year. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend a CMSA conference, I would highly recommend it. It is truly something every case manager should experience. I hope to see you next year at the 25th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. I can’t wait to see how they are going to improve on this year!

Remember, if you weren’t able to attend this year’s conference, or if you did attend but missed some of the concurrent sessions you wanted to attend, you get another chance. The sessions were recorded and will be available online by mid-August in the "Extended Conference" section of the online Educational Library in the Knowledge Center. You’ll be able to "attend" the sessions online at your convenience. It’s not quite like being there, but it’s the next best thing.

To contact Pat Stricker, email her at pstricker@tcshealthcare.comor call her at (530) 886-1700 ext. 215.