Social Initiative

2019-2021  CMSNE Social Initiative
The Opioid Crisis

The Opioid Crisis is an epidemic that will define this period in Case Management and I have chosen this as the Social Initiative for the next two years. None of us are untouched by this crisis, either professionally or personally. The statistics are staggering and the task of overcoming this crisis seems insurmountable. We have all made adjustments to our practice to minimize risk and harm to our patient's and communities and will continue to alter our practice as this crisis continues to evolve. Over the next few months you will see increased educational programming at the chapter and extension levels as well as resources to help you stay abreast of the current issues as they pertain to our practice. Currently, CMSA offers the Opioid Use Disorder Case Management Guide as a means of educating yourselves on best practices for Case Managers. It is available for free for CMSNE members on the website.

As part of the Social Initiative, the CMSNE President is given the option to increase awareness and raise funds to designate to an organization. I have chosen the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program as the organization to receive those funds. When researching a worthy recipient my eyes were opened to the hundreds of groups and organizations that are dedicated to combatting this crisis. Many of the are national or regional. So, why did I pick an organization that is specific to Boston, you may ask? My search started by looking back on my life, my practice and my causes. I was a pediatric nurse for many years and most of my Case Management practice has been in pediatrics. I have worked managed Medicaid and underserved populations in Florida and Massachusetts. I have Case Managed pediatric HIV/AIDS populations and ran an HIV clinic in Florida. My husband and I volunteer for an organization based in Florida to provide support to people and families who are infected or affected by HIV in Florida and in Africa. And finally, as a member of the LGBTQ community, I am concerned about the inequalities in healthcare faced by LGBTQ people and all minorities in the current and everchanging healthcare environment. Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program check all of my boxes. Their "singular and powerful mission", for the past 34 years has been " provide or assure access to the highest quality health care for all homeless individuals and families in the greater Boston area..."

As their website states:

Thousands of individuals find themselves homeless in greater Boston every year. Among them are chronically ill adults, veterans, families, youth, and the elderly. They are the people who stay in emergency shelters or motel rooms, eat in soup kitchens, or visit drop-in centers. They are also the men and women who find themselves on the streets, trying to survive in makeshift shelters under bridges, down alleyways, and behind city buildings. Over 11,000 homeless individuals are cared for by Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program each year. We are committed to ensuring that every one of these individuals has access to comprehensive health care, from preventative dental care to cancer treatment. Our clinicians, case managers, and behavioral health professionals work in more than 45 locations to deliver the highest quality health care to some of our community's most vulnerable-and most resilient-citizens. BHCHP provides care without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, military service, national origin, immigration status, genetic information or marital status.

I have invited representatives from their organization to be present at all of our chapter events as well as CMSA Annual Conference in June. BHCHP has submitted a proposal to CMSA to present at the annual conference and they are truly excited and grateful that we are working to raise money for them over the next two years. We will be selling lanyards, pashminas and t-shirts at CMSA Annual conference as well as all of our events. I encourage you to go to their website to get more information on the amazing work that they do every day.

Douglas Cushman, RN, CCM
CMSNE President, 2019-2021