For minority nurses who have ever considered operating their own business, opportunities have never been better for starting a case management firm. Based on projections from multiple sources, demand for case management has been increasing steadily. Persistence Market Research forecasted an annual growth rate of 3.04% for the period between 2017 and 2021. An IBIS World report noted that case management’s steady growth over the past five years has brought the number of case management firms in the United States to over 7,800 and industry revenues to $7 billion. Understanding these market conditions and how they are opening the door for new case management practices is something any entrepreneurial minority nurse with key case management credentials (i.e., Certified Case Manager), and/or interest in gaining those credentials in order to pursue new opportunities, should understand. Also important to know are those areas where minority nurse case managers may have some distinct advantages.

Ideal Market Conditions for Minority-Owned Case Management Firms

In its report, IBIS attributed case management’s growth to expanded primary medical care and workers’ compensation claims, the heightened focus on medical cost containment, and the increased use of nurse case managers in new models of care such as patient-centered medical homes and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). These factors, along with our nation’s new administration and Department of Health and Human Services leadership, were also cited in a URAC® Trend Watch titled, “Case Management Experts Foresee Big Opportunities.”

The uncertainty surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the graying of America, and higher incidences of chronic medical conditions (i.e., heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and obesity), are other contributing factors for the greater demand for case management services.

Minority nurse case managers also are in a good position to serve individuals of different ethnic groups as our nation’s multiculturalism increases. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that all racial and ethnic minorities were growing faster than whites from 2015 to 2016. According to its findings, Asian and individuals of mixed-races represent the two fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. population with each group growing by 3% from July 2015 to July 2016. It provided this breakdown reflecting the size of the various minority and ethnic groups in our country:

  • Non-Hispanic whites – 198 million.
  • Hispanic whites – 57.5 million.
  • Blacks/African-Americans – 46.8 million.
  • Asian – 21.4 million.
  • People who are of two or more races – 8.5 million.
  • Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders – 1.5 million.

Not reflected in this data are all of the other ethnic groups present in the U.S. population—an estimated 150 ethnic groups. Case managers of various ethnic backgrounds can be extremely valuable when serving patients of their ethnic group. The barriers to communicating with these patients and their family members can be eliminated. Further, a case manager with an understanding of how a specific ethnic group views illness, medical professionals, medical treatments, technologies, end-of-life care, and medical directives can be extremely important in helping patients understand their conditions and treatment plans. This is critical in the patients’ overall well-being, treatment, and adherence to the prescribed plan.

Starting Your Own Case Management Practice

Minority nurses who have thought about starting their own case management firm need to consider what it takes to achieve a successful practice. In addition to having extensive case management experience, it is essential that you gain the CCM credential provided by the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). This credential is becoming increasingly important to those hiring case managers and/or contracting for case management services. To earn the CCM credential, candidates must first meet the applicant eligibility requirements and then pass a rigorous exam. All of the details can be found on the CCMC website at www.ccmc.org. Click on the “Get Certified” link.

To prepare for the exam, there are many robust education and training programs available. We at Mullahy & Associates, for example, have a two-day CCMC-approved “CCM Certification Prep Workshop.” It offers excellent preparation for the exam and also earns nurses, social workers, and mental health professionals 14 Continuing Education credits. It also has been acclaimed as one of the most informative workshops available on best practices for case management. Among the materials provided to workshop participants is The Case Manager’s Handbook, Sixth Edition, which is used in hundreds of universities, hospitals, and other practice settings across the country and abroad.

There is also a self-assessment that must be conducted to make sure you have the personality and skills to lead your own firm. Here are some of the key traits needed to effectively establish and maintain a successful case management business:

  • An entrepreneurial disposition.
  • The ability to recruit, train, mentor, and motivate others to provide high quality case management services.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Strong communications skills.
  • Business management skills covering key operational areas (i.e., administrative, financial, marketing, and legal).
  • A commitment to stay abreast of the latest market developments and health care trends affecting case management and generating new opportunities.
  • An appreciation for the importance of continuing education for yourself and your staff.

At Mullahy & Associates, my partner, Vice President Jeanne Boling, RN, MSN, CRRN, CDMS, CCM, and I know what it takes to have a successful case management practice. In our current career stage, we are dedicated to helping case managers of all races and denominations succeed. We’ve developed continuing education workshops and seminars, as well as a suite of long distance and online learning tools to help case managers in their own firms or other practice settings. With the right education, training, and skills, we believe minority nurses can not only realize the professional fulfillment one achieves in their own business, but also will be helping to fill the growing need for high quality case management services.

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Catherine Mullahy, RN, BS, CRRN, CCM

Catherine Mullahy, RN, BS, CRRN, CCM, is the president of Mullahy & Associates, LLC, in Huntington, NY.
Catherine Mullahy, RN, BS, CRRN, CCM

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