Barbara Arnold: Catastrophic Case Management

Barbara ArnoldBarbara Arnold is Product Manager for Broadspire’s Catastrophic Case Management and Life Care Planning. In addition to Barbara holding national CRC, CDMS, CCM, and CLCP certifications, injured workers and their families have been counting on her for assistance for more than 30 years.

After attending graduate school in upstate New York, Barbara began her career in South Florida. Fledgling professional experience and a weak economy led to a slow start in her career, but after stints including waiting tables and working as a drug counselor, Barbara was in full swing. She accepted work as a rehabilitation specialist for severely disabled adults and assisted in the development of Florida’s Spinal Cord Injury Network. Over time, she continued her work as a rehabilitation specialist for a national insurance company, focusing on workers compensation and educating adjusters on the process and implications of transitioning injured workers through recovery and back to work.

Barbara loves her work because she loves “coaching and training other case managers to be advocates.” This includes extolling the values of compassion and education, and encouraging the proper health care expenditures to maximize outcomes for injured workers, families, claims and customers alike.

Are there downsides to dedication? Being on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week for catastrophic case management and critical incident stress management referrals can take a toll. According to Barbara, “Taking a referral on a Saturday night and asking a Field Case Manager (FCM) to go to the trauma center doesn’t make me too popular some days.”

“Catastrophic case management differs from standard case management in urgency, complexity and duration of case management services–but the process is much the same,” explains Barbara. A Field Case Manager (FCM) must focus on the ultimate goal of ensuring an injured worker’s ability to attain their maximum potential; and whenever possible, return to work. FCMs must coordinate rehabilitation and recovery processes.

These processes include:
•    Inpatient rehabilitation
•    Home modifications
•    Home care services
•    Supplies and medications
•    Outpatient therapy and physician visits, as well as transportation when needed.

Between communicating with injured workers and their families, and coordinating care with medical and insurance stakeholders, “an FCM must never forget to keep all parties updated,” emphasizes Barbara.

When pressed for her top tips for FCMs, Barbara replied:

1.    Be sure your gas tank is always full. You may get stuck in traffic.
2.    At five o’clock on a Friday afternoon the Catastrophic Case Product Manager always seems to call.
3.    Plan to be an educator: many people have a lot to learn from you.
4.    Medicine is always evolving. You’ll never know everything there is to know, so be open to learning new information.

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