Posts Tagged ‘workers’ compensation’

Meet Case Manager Susan Headley: Ensuring Employees Healthy Enough to Return to Work

January 2nd, 2014 by Cheryl Miller

This month we provide an inside look at a healthcare case manager, the choices she made on the road to success and the challenges ahead.

Susan Headley, BA, MBA, CWCP, Case Manager at Macon Occupational Medicine

HIN: Tell us a little about yourself and your credentials:

(Susan Headley) I recently graduated in June 2013 from American Sentinel University with my masters in Business Administration and Healthcare. Before that, in 2011, I graduated from the local college — Macon State College — with my bachelor’s degree in management and information technology. I have a Certified Worker’s Comp professional license (CWCP). I also hold a Georgia adjuster’s license.

What was your first job out of college and how did you get into case management?

While an undergraduate at Macon State College I worked in the bookstore doing their accounting. When I was getting ready to graduate a friend of mine who worked at Macon Occupational Medicine, where I’m employed now, said, “I know it’s an entry level job, and you’re about to graduate, but we have a position and there’s room for advancement.” I knew that I wanted to be in healthcare strictly because changes are always going to happen, but it’s always going to be needed. I applied and got hired and have slowly worked my way up to where I am now.

Has there been a defining moment in your career perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

I would have to say taking the job at Macon Occupational Medicine. I had worked in healthcare as a young teen doing volunteer work in hospitals just for the fun of it. I had one of those mothers that wouldn’t let us stay home during the summer without having activity. And I really enjoyed it. When I got introduced to the case management side — it being a new model for the business — it really caught my eye and I think that is what has defined where I am now.

In brief, describe your organization.

Macon Occupational Medicine, LLC is an occupational health facility, which means we do anything from pre-employment physicals to return to work, drug screening, anything that a company might need for their business, or for their employees. Regarding the work comp side, if someone gets injured on the job we treat them and follow their care until they’re well enough to get back to work.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in case management?

Our case management is a little bit different than how nurses do it. It’s strictly work comp-related. Three things that stand out to me are:

  • Everything has to be work related. If it’s a non work-related case of course there’s no need for me to manage it. It goes back and they have to deal with their personal physicians for care.
  • Another key thing in case management is making sure that the employee has returned back to work as a whole person to the best of their ability. We don’t want them to go back into the workforce and hurt themselves further because we missed something.
  • Because we are a work comp facility, our customers are actually the employers. So we try to make them happy. And if they see a concern in the workplace, for instance, if we send an employee back and they’re not wearing their knee brace like they’re supposed to, then the employer will call us up as case management and say, “We have some really big concerns about this. I think they’re further going to hurt themselves. What can we do to fix that?” That’s when we meet with the patient and make sure that they understand the end result of what we want them to do and the big picture.

What is the single most successful thing your organization is doing right now?

The case management model has been in place about two years. We were finding that employers wanted one person they could deal with for their people. We have two case managers on staff. And we manage all of the cases from start to finish. You get hurt. We take care of you. If we can’t we send you to a specialist and we still manage your care until we release you to go back to work. So that employer knows they can pick up the phone and call me and I’ll know anything there is to know about their employees as to why they’re not at work, when they’ll be back at work. And it’s grown into an amazing thing. To my knowledge and my boss’ knowledge, we’re the only healthcare or occupational facility in the state of Georgia that offers a case management program for worker’s comp.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

Because we work for the employer, it’s making sure that employer is happy while also maintaining the goal and making sure the employee is better, which can be a challenge sometimes. It’s a complicated field in that the employee may feel one thing and the employer feel something else.

But it’s very gratifying when you see these people come in with cut off limbs or what have you and you watch them evolve from an injured employee to a well person and knowing you had a hand in that. It’s very rewarding.

Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2013 and beyond 2014?

There’s always going to be people getting hurt on the job. I don’t think that that’s ever going to change. The trend now is that people are starting to learn more about it, and where the loopholes are. So, staying informed and keeping ourselves a step ahead is key. And sometimes that can be a huge challenge, especially if the employee knows how to work the system. And we want to try our hardest to prevent that.

What is the greatest challenge you’re facing right now?

As I said before, staying informed and one step ahead.

Where did you grow up?

I am a military brat. I grew up originally in Arkansas and spent most of my childhood there. We dabbled a little bit overseas and ultimately ended up here, in Georgia. I’ve been back here since 2001.

What colleges did you attend?

For my undergrad I went to Macon State College, which is now called Middle Georgia State College, receiving my bachelor’s degree in business and information technology. I received my master’s degree in Business Administration and Healthcare online at American Sentinel University. I found out about them from a friend who was in another business program and on active duty, so it worked well for his schedule. I also wanted something I could work into my schedule. I applied to this program and found it very interesting. It didn’t require a nursing background, but I was able to gain a lot of knowledge about the nursing side of things. I really enjoyed the program. I had some wonderful teachers who taught me a lot. It took me a year and a half to finish the program. I’m happy to say I’m a graduate there. And if they offered a doctorate program for me I would be there too.

Are you married?

No, and no children either. I think that’s probably the only reason I made it through my master’s in a year and a half.

What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

I’d have to say right now it’s scrapbooking, and it happened because my friends started having children and wanted to create memory books, but not something we had when we were kids. So we started scrapbooking every weekend. Of course as life gets busy and the kids get older you find less time for it. But we have tried to stick with it; every quarter or so we set aside a weekend together and scrapbook if possible. It’s getting harder and harder the older we get. But it’s definitely something I enjoy doing, even on my own, if I have spare time. I’ll put a page together. It’s fun. There’s no thinking required.

Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

No. I wish I had time for things like that. I just finished a class back in September so I haven’t had a real chance to sit and read or even go to the movies. I can’t remember the last time I went. I am now working on my doctorate in education in organizational leadership with an emphasis on healthcare administration at Grand Canyon University.

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Meet Healthcare Case Manager Kerry Stutzman: It’s All About the Relationship

July 13th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller

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.

Kerry Stutzman, RN, MS, CCM, Care/Case Manager

HIN: Tell us a little about yourself and your credentials.

Kerry Stutzman: I have my CCM; I was among the very first group to take the first CCM exam and obtain the title. I am a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society of nursing. I have an A.S. degree in nursing, a B.S. in applied social work, a BSN and a master’s degree in nursing.

I am a fourth generation Arizonian. My folks were both teachers; my Dad was an English professor at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and my Mom taught in the public schools. I have a brother and sister. I grew up in a beautiful small town, Flagstaff, AZ. It’s not so small anymore but back in the 1960’s it was. I was admitted to the NAU nursing program right out of high school, which was a huge honor; there were only two or three of us in this situation. I was so fortunate to have had such great teachers there who influenced me so much. I had similar experiences at the University of Phoenix and at Arizona State University (ASU). I met my husband in Flagstaff; I bought his roommate’s car. We moved to Phoenix in 1979 and were married in 1981. I have worked a variety of jobs: Visiting Nurse Service, as a home care nurse, I was director of nursing for Olsten Home Health Care, I was a patient care coordinator, a discharge planning coordinator, a discharge program developer. I worked as a floor nurse in a variety of areas: recovery room, orthopedics, spinal cord/head injury/stroke, arthritis/rheumatology, mental health (pediatrics and adult), trauma, surgical, pre-op, renal, neurology, oncology, general surgical, and gynecology/obstetrics. I have worked in field case management for the last 21 years.

What was your first job out of college and how did you get into case management?

I first went to work at Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, AZ. At that time, back in 1979, it was one of the largest hospitals in the Phoenix metro area. I went to work on R5, a head injury and stroke rehab floor.

My first job in case management was as an in-patient care coordinator with CIGNA. My next job was starting a new discharge planning program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. This job honed my discharge planning, home care and case management skills further. From this job, I went to work for Intracorp, which, at the time, was a major player in the case management arena. We primarily handled workers’ compensation cases smattered with some auto liability, catastrophic cases and other case management cases. Since leaving Intracorp, I worked for two other case management companies before starting Health Care Consultants of Arizona in 2009.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

There wasn’t really one particular moment. Prior to working at Intracorp, I moved around from job to job every few years because I would get bored and need more of a challenge. I stayed at Intracorp for 13 years before moving on to another case management job. So, it was obvious that I enjoyed working in case management as it provided me with a variety of cases to work on that kept me challenged. I also loved working independently.

In brief, describe your organization.

I started Health Care Consultants of Arizona (HCCAZ) because the opportunity presented itself and I had wanted to start my own company for several years. I have a social work degree as well as a master’s in nursing with a specialty in mental health and I wanted an opportunity to more fully utilize all my skills. HCCAZ provides case management services in Phoenix and some of the surrounding cities such as Tucson, Prescott, Casa Grande, Florence and Apache Junction. We are an Arizona company, we are not national. We provide personal service and treat our clients and their families as we ourselves would want to be treated. If we can’t directly meet a client’s need, we will assist with locating a person or service that can. Everything is about the relationship. As the saying goes “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel” – Dr. Thomas L. Garthwaite, Under Secretary for Health. We strive to make our clients feel well cared for.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in case management?

  • Treat others as you would like to be treated; the Golden Rule.
  • Always have the patient’s best interest at heart.
  • Take the time to really listen, you’d be surprised what you hear.

What is the single most successful thing that your organization is doing now?

Meeting the needs of the clients served.

Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2012?

Do more with less. Be creative. Be flexible.

What is the most satisfying thing about being a case manager?

Working independently and all that that entails. In my case, working for myself means being able to spend more time with patients, working pro bono if needed, being selective on referral clientele, and having control over my work product.

Where did you grow up?

I moved around quite a bit but always within Arizona. I spent most of my childhood in Flagstaff, AZ.

What college did you attend?

I initially attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff for my associate in nursing degree and my B.S. in applied Social Work; I went to the University of Phoenix for my BSN; and ASU for my master’s degree.

Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

Graduations!

Are you married? Do you have children?

Yes, I am married and I have a 24-year-old son.

What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

Working in the yard is my de-stressor. As far back as I can recall, I have always loved planting things and watching them grow. In sixth grade I converted the aquarium we used to house lizards and such into a mini garden to grow corn plants. My classmates and I were fascinated by watching the plants grow.

Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. At the Lemberg Concentration Camp in 1943, Simon Wiesenthal (author) is summoned to the bedside of the dying Nazi soldier Karl Seidl. The soldier tells him he is seeking “a Jew’s” (Wiesenthal’s) forgiveness for a crime that has haunted him (Seidl) his entire life. The man confesses to having destroyed, by fire and armaments, a house full of 300 Jews. He states that as the Jews tried to leap out of windows to escape the burning building, he gunned them down. After Seidl finishes his story, he asks Wiesenthal to forgive him. Weisenthal records his and other’s responses and poses the dilemma to the reader.

Any additional comments?

You have to be a bit of a loner in this work area because you do work alone, independently, so much of the time, especially if you work from your home as I have done for the last 20 plus years doing this. I referred a friend of mine while I was working at Intracorp. She and I had worked on an orthopedic floor several years prior. She quit after about a year because she did not like working alone most of the time, she preferred the camaraderie of working on a floor in a hospital. It is very important for this reason, that as a case manager you keep yourself involved by attending groups, networking, attending educational workshops and having friends in the business to meet for lunch and to talk care issues over with. Keep yourself immersed.

Click here to learn how you can be featured in one of our Case Manager Profiles.

Meet Case Management Manager Helen Schreiber: Dispelling the Notion of “Nurse Police”

June 29th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller

Helen Schreiber RN, BS, CCM, Executive Vice President of S&H Medical Management Services, Inc.

HIN: Tell us a little about yourself and your credentials.

Helen Schreiber: I attended nursing school after getting married and having two kids. I took all of my science classes at the junior college level while I was working part-time at a deli. I knew I was going to attend a diploma program because I couldn’t afford to go to a four-year university. Unfortunately, at that time, hospital programs would only accept you if you were single. I had faith and sure enough, after being told in 1979 and 1980 that I could not be married and attend, in 1981 I was told that I could attend if I lived in the dorm, and then Ravenswood Hospital School of Nursing finally accepted me in 1982 and allowed me to commute. There were 88 students in my class and more than half of them were married with kids. I graduated from there in 1985. I then received my bachelor of science in health arts (BSHA) from St. Francis in 1991. I am currently a certified case manager (CCM). Prior to that I was a Mobile Intensive Care Nurse (MICN), a Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) and a Trauma Nurse Specialist (TNS).

What was your first job out of college and how did you get into case management?

I worked nights on an ortho unit (22 patients on my team) and then moved on to my dream job in the ER. I loved working nights there. When my kids got older I knew I needed to work days and I found an ad for a case manager.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

I was truly in my element in the ER. I loved the fact that you could never predict how your shift would end. I love the chaos…and case management fills the same needs for me. Plan but be prepared for any eventuality.

In brief, describe your organization.

S&H Medical Management Services, Inc. is an independent, regional, women’s owned medical and vocational case management firm. We are completely virtual! I am most proud of the fact that we have 12 S&H babies. By that I mean, kids that were not in child care because of our at home positions with flex hours.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in case management?

  • First and foremost, be honest.
  • The second most important thing is realizing that the availability of healthcare is a gift. It is there for the patient to accept. You can wrap it up and make it as attractive as you can but you cannot make a person open the gift. That is very difficult for some people to accept.

    What is the single most successful thing that your organization is doing now?

    We have the best vocational department in Illinois. At a time when jobs are being lost, our vocational staff continues to produce a product that rocks. We have doubled the size of our vocational department during the past two years and it is due to great outcomes and special people.

    Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2012?

    The economy continues to impact this industry. I believe creative marketing is key at this time.

    What is the most satisfying thing about being a case manager?

    I truly feel humbled to have people allow us into their lives and share the details with us at such a stressful time. That is the best thing about being a nurse.

    What is the greatest challenge of case management, and how are you working to overcome this challenge?

    Involving the injured worker into the process and making certain that the case manager is honest with him is what is most beneficial to the process. Many times the case manager is perceived as the ‘nurse police’. Those words were spoken to me by an injured worker…..

    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 was born in Austria. My family immigrated to the United States when I was 18 months old. I grew up in Chicago and became a U.S. citizen in the early 60’s. I attended Good Counsel high achool.

    What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

    I am a child of the 70’s when not everyone went to college – at least not right away. I will never forget how overwhelmed I was when I first went to register at Wright Junior College in Chicago for my very first college course. The hardest thing to do is to go back to school. I remember telling my boss that I would be 33 by the time I finished school. He said you will be 33 in five years anyway.

    Are you married? Do you have children?

    I have been married to Roland Schreiber for 35 years. It is a second marriage for both of us. We have two kids: Erik is 38 and a cop in Chicago. Monika is a teacher, married to Pat and they are the parents of my two terrific grandchildren, Elizabeth and Olivia, who all live in Texas. We spend winters there in order to spend more time with the girls. While my daughter is certified as a teacher she now works for S&H and has since college. This has allowed her to work from home.

    What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

    Sewing when I have the time. My current project is new drapes. And I am absolutely crazy about dogs. We currently have three, Gretchen the golden retriever, Schatzi, the rescue (a German Shepherd mix) and Tinker, another rescue (a Shitzu).

    Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

    The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey is a great book. It helps people learn to live debt-free and have more control of their lives.

    Click here to learn how you can be featured in one of our Case Manager Profiles.