Celebrating Volunteer Week with CCMC
Celebrating Volunteer Week with CCMC
By Meredith Little, CDMS, CCM, CMS, FHIAS, FAHM, DHP, DIF, MHP, Integrated Personal Health Team Short Term Disability Claim Analyst at New York Life Insurance Company.
While organizations like the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC®) exist to support professionals and the communities they serve, their work would not be possible without the volunteer efforts of those who donate their skills to ensure those organizations can carry out their missions. Volunteering for any organization does require an investment of time, but the effort is well worth it. As volunteers find time and time again, you can get more out of an organization through giving back to it.
Getting Started with CCMC
Healthcare professionals from a variety of backgrounds and positions can benefit from certification, whether they seek to become a Certified Case Manager (CCM®) or a Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS®). This was certainly the case with Meredith Little, CDMS, CCM, CMS, FHIAS, FAHM, DHP, DIF, MHP, Integrated Personal Health Team Short Term Disability Claim Analyst at New York Life Insurance Company.
Little spent many years in a disability management role at Cigna Disability Insurance, where in addition to processing insurance claims for short-term disability, she worked on the integration of health care and disability, which entailed facilitating communication among medical experts with different specialties.
“I wanted an opportunity to formalize my role and get more experience,” Little said. “So I started looking for professional organizations in my field and came across both the CDMS and CCM.”
Becoming a Volunteer
Knowing yourself and presenting an organization with your strengths and interests can help you find a place that’s a good fit for you and enables you to both give back to groups that you have benefited from and experience your own personal and professional growth.
For Little, that potential combination inspired her to answer the call when she received an email from CCMC seeking volunteers. “They were also calling for board members at that time,” she said. “I knew I didn’t have the time capacity for being on the Board. But I did want to get involved somehow.”
After filling out CCMC’s volunteer application with her interests and experience level, Little was invited to interview to become a CDMS item writer, which would involve writing questions for the CDMS certification exam. She was also selected to participate on the CDMS Code of Professional Conduct Subcommittee, which was tasked with ensuring the Code of Professional Conduct meets the needs of the CDMS certificants. The subcommittee was a short-term commitment, but Little participated in the item writing for five years, forming connections with other item writers as they gathered together several times throughout the year to develop new questions.
“I loved it,” she said. “It was a fantastic opportunity.”
The Personal Benefits of Volunteering
A particular benefit of volunteering — and one that is often decidedly not available when you are working in a paid position — is the ability to explore different interests and opportunities within a single organization. Little has taken full advantage of that, having also put in stints on both the Ethics Committee and the Core Knowledge Curriculum (CKC) Task Force, which is currently updating the curriculum.
Another benefit that sets volunteering apart from paid work is the ability to use skills that might not be pertinent to your job. “I actually have an education degree by trade, so item writing was right up my alley,” Little said. “I like being able to utilize pedagogy by writing curriculum and tests, and that’s something that I haven’t been able to utilize fully in my current job.”
And, of course, as with any volunteer opportunity, working behind the scenes at CCMC gives certificants the chance to work closely with like-minded individuals.
“Working with really wonderful people who are fully engaging has been an enormous benefit,” Little said. “I’ve been able to interact with other people who work in the disability world, but I’ve also gotten to interact with people with other specialties, like nurse case managers and social workers.”
These social bonds offer a glimpse into the viewpoints of people with similar but not identical roles in healthcare. They also create nationwide networks and shape volunteers’ perspectives on the profession by giving them the chance to learn what’s happening throughout the country, from Florida to California to Little’s own state of Pennsylvania. And they even allow certificants to see the ways CDMS works in a variety of areas, from vocational coaching to insurance companies to HR departments.
“Volunteering is such a good opportunity to step away from my daily role,” Little said. “It’s engaging, and it refreshes my motivation to continue in my position.”
The Value of Volunteering with CCMC
CCMC’s work toward standardizing the profession helps other healthcare professionals understand the value of the skill sets CDMS and CCM certificants have to offer. CCMC’s mission of advocating for professional case management excellence, ultimately improves the lives of countless individuals. Volunteering with the organization bolsters that mission.
If you’re considering volunteering, Little suggests jumping right in.
“Get your feet wet,” she said. “Because sharing what you can offer helps CCMC select you for the right task. Then be sure to ask a lot of questions, because you don’t know what’s available until you ask.”
Are you interested in volunteering with the Commission? Click here to learn more: https://ccmcertification.org/about-ccmc/volunteer