This month we provide an inside look at a healthcare case management manager, the choices she made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.
Linda Van Dillen, RN, BA, CCM, Executive VP/Partner of S&H Medical Management Services, Inc.
HIN: Tell us a little about yourself and your credentials.
Linda Van Dillen: I have a bachelor's degree in human resources, and a diploma in nursing (three year program), and am CCM certified. I have been a nurse for 34 years.
What was your first job out of college and how did you get into case management?
I started out in psychiatric nursing and then quickly moved into the emergency department. Within six months I was managing the second shift in the ED. I was working as an occupational nurse and the risk manager at the company I was working at told me about medical case management and said I should give it a try.
Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?
While working for my current company, I designed a case management software program and my late husband did all the programming and we obtained a patent for the software. This program allowed our staff to become paperless and made their jobs overall more efficient and easy.
In brief, describe your organization.
S&H Medical Management Services is an independent, regional, women’s owned medical and vocational case management firm. We are completely virtual! Because we are paperless even our admin team works from home. The quality of life at our organization as a result is phenomenal.
What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in case management?
What is the single most successful thing that your organization is doing now?
We have recently worked to update and upgrade our vocational program. Vocational consultants in each of our territories have become certified ergonomic assessment specialists (CEAS.) Our physical demand analyses are very highly regarded and as a result of this upgrade to our services, we have doubled our vocational team in the past couple years!
Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2012?
We have done research into the top cost trends in workers’ compensation and as a result have modified our services to assist the claims staff in making informed decisions as to reserving the claims and making recommendations to mitigate these costs.
What is the most satisfying thing about being a case manager?
Ensuring a win-win opportunity for all parties. When the injured worker obtains excellent, goal-directed care they return to work (RTW) in a more timely and effective manner. In this society we need to work, and facilitating a successful RTW ensures a good ongoing quality of life for the worker.
What is the greatest challenge of case management, and how are you working to overcome this challenge?
I think case management, especially in the workers’ compensation industry, are many times still viewed as a necessary evil or a drain on the bottom line. S&H is constantly striving to ensure goal-directed quality care, timely RTW and documentation of the cost savings achieved as a result of the case manager’s intervention.
What is the single most effective workflow, process, tool or form case managers are using today?
At S&H I believe our proprietary software for case management documentation has made our staff more effective. S&H has also adapted the CMSA adherence tools and we utilize these tools to assist with adherence assessments.
Where did you grow up?
I am a St. Louis native. If you are from St. Louis you ask what high school you attended. That would be Riverview Gardens in north county.
What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?
I started out in college to become a home economics teacher (glad I didn’t stick with that – are there home ec teachers anymore?) After nursing school, I attended Webster University to obtain a degree in human resources. When in nursing school I remember one of my teachers telling me I should go into an area of nursing without a fast pace as at first I struggled with starting IVs, etc. This just made me more determined and one of the reasons I applied to work in the ED. I was one of the first people certified in advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) in the St. Louis area and became an instructor.
Are you married? Do you have children?
Currently I am widowed, but just recently remarried on June 1st. I have two children, both girls. My oldest daughter is a nun in Alabama and my youngest daughter has a degree in computers but is currently enrolled in nursing school.l
What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?
Biking. After my husband passed away I decided to take control of my health so my girls didn’t lose both parents. I lost 120 pounds through diet and exercise. I ran a half marathon at age 56!
Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?
I recently read the Hunger Games trilogy and saw movie #1. It was very interesting on so many levels. It made me think of how you can use power for good or for evil, and even when you are supposedly the “good guy” your actions can be used to either truly help others or to just promote your viewpoint.
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