Community Case Management celebrates 10 years of service to Massachusetts families

By Jennifer Rosinski

UMass Medical School Communications

October 02, 2013
(From left) Commonwealth Medicine’s Patti Onorato and Jessica Carpenter, and Director of MassHealth Long Term Services and Supports Kenneth Smith celebrate the 10th anniversary of Community Case Management.

Without Community Case Management (CCM), a service of UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division, more than a thousand children and young adults in Massachusetts with complex medical needs may have been forced to leave their families and live in institutions to get the care they need.

The service’s important work both managing the needs of its members and keeping families intact was honored at a 10th anniversary celebration hosted by Commonwealth Medicine on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

“What an impact this program has had, and continues to have, in helping one of the most vulnerable populations in Massachusetts,” said Patti Onorato, RN, MS, APN, deputy chief operating officer of Commonwealth Medicine and an instructor in the UMass Medical School Graduate School of Nursing. “Your outreach, how important it is to the families …They feel so supported by you.”

The Community Case Management Program, a partnership between Commonwealth Medicine and MassHealth, supports children with complex medical needs and their families. The program aims to help them manage the challenge of coordinating multiple care providers, services, and necessary supplies for chronic health problems.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the work that you do, and your leadership,” said Kenneth J. Smith, director of MassHealth Long Term Services and Supports. Smith knows the work of CCM well from his days as assistant commissioner of the state Department of Developmental Services, where he worked on behalf of individuals, some of whom benefited greatly from community services coordinated through CCM.

CCM should be proud of its work, in part because of the high member satisfaction, saidKaren Williams, MSW, who helps lead the program as senior director of disability and community services. In a recent survey, 90 percent of members indicated they were very satisfied with CCM’s service.“It’s been wonderfully successful,” Williams said of the program.

Numbers show the true impact of the CCM service, said Jessica Carpenter, MS, RD, LDN, director of disability and community services, and former CCM director. Since the program began in 2003, CCM has coordinated services for more than 1,600 members, said Carpenter. The program currently serves 655 Massachusetts residents.

During the anniversary celebration, Onorato shared feedback from a CCM family. They said their son would be in a nursing home without the support. “We have had so many difficult medical and equipment issues this year and have found the support of CCM to be lifesaving for our son and for our family,” Onorato said, reading the family’s comments aloud.

Onorato also took the opportunity to thank the various Commonwealth Medicine units that support CCM, including the Center for Health Care Financing, the Center for Health Policy and Research, the Office of Clinical Affairs, Disability Evaluation Services and Clinical Pharmacy Services.