Functional Best Practices to Establish Goals and Encourage Collaboration

Tasha Patterson@Work


Functional Best Practices to Establish Goals and Encourage Collaboration

By Vivian Campagna, MSN, RN-BC, CCM

Chief Industry Relations Officer Commission for Case Manager Certification

By Ed Quick, MA, MBA,CDMS

Corporate Global Senior
Benefits Manager

The personal and professional impact of disability can be greatly reduced when two professionals — medical case managers and disability managers — collaborate early on to fully leverage their complementary skill sets. Rather than simply handing off the individual, as sometimes occurs, medical case managers and disability management specialists should work together through resolution.

Often, the ill or injured worker is served first by a medical case manager who is actively engaged in the day-to-day care management and coordination during inpatient or outpatient care. The case manager then hands the worker off to a disability case manager for return-to-work (RTW) assistance. In some employment settings, disability managers are in contact with these workers even before handing off for healthcare. Either way, these two professionals can pursue an active, interdisciplinary collaboration to improve health and cost outcomes for all stakeholders.

Together, these professionals advocate for the individual and help prepare for the transition to the next level of care by contributing to a comprehensive discharge plan and strategy. Ideally, this is occurring while the individual is still in active healthcare. Through such collaboration, RTW becomes part of the care plan to support recovery of the individual’s physical, mental, and cognitive capacities.

The three functional best practices detailed below support greater collaboration between case managers and disability managers when managing complex cases — both occupational and non-occupational.

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