Legal & Regulatory Issues: Standards of Practice: The Essence of a Profession
Lynn S. Muller RN, BA-HCM, CCM, JD

Professional Case Management
June 2012 
Volume 17  Number 3
Pages 136 - 140
  PDF Version Available!

Every year case managers travel from far and wide to the Case Management Society of America's (CMSA's) annual conference-this year celebrating its 22nd incarnation in San Francisco, CA. Every year these educational events are bigger and better, but why do they come? In part, it is an opportunity to see old friends and put faces with familiar telephone voices and this year, more than ever, it is perhaps to identify the "real" colleague who has been helpful or challenging through a social media connection. Whatever the source, it is an opportunity to network and make connections that will remain through your career.Having attended nearly all of them, I find myself in a unique position to make observations on the changes in case management and case managers. Over the more than 20 years, the focus of case management, health care access and delivery, professional education, the transdisciplinary approach, and the impact of laws and regulations has greatly changed the face of case management. Attendees' hunger for information and finite answers to complex questions affecting their clients' lives, medical conditions, family dynamics, and vocational hopes and dreams.The reality of this journey is that many of the answers have been there all along. The difference between a case manager's underlying profession and today's case management practice is the precise difference between scientific methodology and legal education; the former is a system of absolutes, like laboratory and computed tomographic scan results as compared to the never-ending shades of gray that is the essence of legal analysis and debate. Case managers have the diversity in training, education, and life experience to see their clients with a more all-inclusive eye, taking medical facts into consideration and applying laws, rule, and regulations and striving for positive outcomes.The greatest changes to the face of American Civil Rights, since The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub. L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted

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