CMSA'S Pulse eNewsletter


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By Donna Raye-Sullivan, BSN, RN, MBA, CCM, CMCN, CNML

March 6, 2024, was a stormy evening in Garden City, NY, with intermittent downpours. The CMSA Long Island Chapter's first meeting of the year was held at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. With weather like this, would people come? The restaurant's capacity in the room was 59, and registration closed approximately 10 days before the event. Some on the waiting list could move up to attend, and every seat was filled. As it approached 5:30 p.m., there was a line for registered attendees and walk-ins to sign-in. We provided registered members of CMSA with a ballot for our Board elections as that was the last day to be able to vote. Handouts of the PowerPoint presentation were provided to make it easier for those closer to the back of the room to follow along.

The meeting started promptly at 5:45 p.m. with a brief welcome. An introduction to the Board members followed. New members were welcomed and introduced to receive chapter pins, and there were many — 22 new members since January, including two Corporate accounts. Announcements included a review of membership benefits, the recent CCM Review course from March 2, the #CMSA2024 National Conference in Rhode Island in June, where to find more information on upcoming programming on our website, and instructions to please seek out a Board member if you have any questions about membership or sponsorship. There had been three sponsor organizations for the evening:

  • A certified home health agency
  • A private hire personal care agency
  • An organization that aids in Medicaid applications

We gave each sponsor a few minutes to educate on their services and provide literature and giveaways.

Our presenter for the evening, Terry Altilio, LCSW, APHSW-C, ACSW, is the author of multiple articles and books, presenting nationally and internationally on diverse topics within the specialty of palliative care. Her work came to our attention when some of our Board members attended an annual palliative care conference at a local University. A dynamic speaker who is empathetic and realistic, Ms. Altilio's educational presentation was entitled "The Power of Language: Linking Word Choice to Equity & Outcomes." She engaged the audience with experiential stories and PowerPoint reinforcement. During the presentation, our speaker had to pause as the meals arrived – they were sizzling so loudly that they overshadowed her speaking! Attendees had a full evening, networking before the presentation, enjoying an amazing meal, and receiving 2 CEUs in Ethics. Post-event survey responses confirmed that the night was a success!

Planning for this event began back in November when our Board met to discuss the upcoming year. Board member Karen Zinna, RN, kept us on track with our discussions and took detailed notes on who volunteered for which function. We began by picking dates for our meetings in March, April, June, September, October and December. Discussion then occurred about speakers and topics, followed by venues. Choosing our venue is sometimes a challenging task. Our area is the Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island, NY. Traffic is sometimes our most significant challenge; therefore, we prefer to rotate our venues to include members from all areas of the Island. Our Chapter has partnered with many of the assisted living and skilled nursing facilities in the area to sponsor events in their day rooms or dining areas. Each member of our Board is an active participant in making these events successful, and each has specific responsibilities to fulfill.

For this particular event, Director Melinda Walsh was responsible for securing the venue, the menu, and the sponsors to assist in covering the costs of the venue. Director Andrea Cowles, RN, CCM, facilitated the speaker. Elaine Halloran, RN, CCM, treasurer, monitored registrants and incoming payments and invoiced them as needed. Jennifer Devine, LMSW, is the subject matter expert on our social work membership, maintaining the CEUs and documents for NASW. Josh Herzig, our secretary, obtained the documents and submitted them for the CEUs through CCMC. Shelly Samuels, current Vice-President, and incoming President, effective April 2024, provided follow-up phone calls, organized the hotel stay and travel arrangements for our speaker, and assisted at the registration table to keep the flow moving. I ran membership rosters, confirmed active CMSA status, created the post-event survey by emailing the attendees, and followed up by sending out the CEUs when the survey was returned.

It's our love of case management that keeps us going. Communication and organization are the keys. It's not always easy, but it's very rewarding!


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