Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon. It's an honour to speak with you today about the National Case Management Network of Canada in relation to the work of this Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs.
I've reviewed the evidence presented at the first session, on May 8, as you studied transformation initiatives at Veterans Affairs Canada. I commend VAC on its commitment to improving service for Canada's veterans and their families by building on its greatest strength as a department: employees who care about their work and the people they serve.
I will begin with a brief overview of NCMN. Then I will speak to how a partnership with NCMN can assist Veterans Affairs Canada to have the right people with the right skills in the right places to meet the needs of veterans of all ages; to equip front-line VAC case managers with real-time access to the clinically relevant, evidence-based resources needed to do their jobs; and to connect front-line VAC case managers with case managers across the country who work with clients and families from similar and complementary target populations.
NCMN leads today for tomorrow. In a few short years, NCMN has emerged as a leading national organization that connects, supports, and sustains all providers of case management. The mandate of NCMN is to foster case management providers for the benefit of individual Canadians, their families, supporters, and the Canadian health care system. The mission and vision of NCMN is to promote excellence and professionalism for case management in Canada.
Established in November 2006, NCMN is federally incorporated as a non-profit professional organization that is membership based. Our membership embraces individuals and organizations in every province and territory. It represents diverse health and social service sectors that include academic and educational providers; acute care; community support agencies; the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces; disability management; first nations and Inuit health; home and community care; long-term care; mental health; private insurance; regional health authorities; rehabilitation; research; therapy services; Veterans Affairs Canada; and workplace safety and insurance boards.
In 2010, support from Health Canada's health care policy contribution program allowed NCMN to distribute Canadian standards of practice for case management, provide learning resources, and develop a professional association. This established the foundation on which to identify, attract, and prepare highly skilled interdisciplinary health and social service providers of case management. Health Canada's support also allowed for the initiation of the development of a national competency profile and the selection of a competency framework.
NCMN recently signed a second contribution agreement with Health Canada for the project called “Promoting Excellence and Professionalism for Case Management in Canada. Phase II: Core Competencies, Credentialing, and Sustainability”. This funding allows for the development and validation of national core competencies and the selection of a credentialing process to indicate competence in case management. The project also aligns with Health Canada's health human-resource policy framework to optimize Canada's health workforce for the increasingly demanding and complex health care needs of Canadians.
Leading today for tomorrow, NCMN seeks to identify case management best practices to steward these discoveries into meaningful standards of knowledge and to disseminate that knowledge nationwide. VAC members have served on the NCMN board, have contributed to the Canadian standards of practice, and have shared their experience at NCMN's national conferences.
What does NCMN offer to Veterans Affairs Canada? VAC case managers, like case management providers across the country, practise a collaborative, client-driven process for the provision of quality health and support services through the effective and efficient use of resources. They support the client's achievement of safe, realistic, and reasonable goals within a complex health, social, and fiscal environment.
VAC case managers, like case management providers across the country, are experts in care coordination and integrated care as communicators, collaborators, navigators, advocates, managers, and professionals.
The work of NCMN aligns with the intent of Veterans Affairs Canada to tighten the focus on case management and ensure that our employees will be supported so they are well equipped to do their jobs. In many ways NCMN addresses Keith Hillier's statement that “we have the right people with the right skills in the right places to meet the needs of veterans of all ages”.
First and foremost, NCMN is building a Canadian case management body of knowledge with its development of both national standards of practice and core competencies. Together the standards and core competencies form a distinct body of knowledge and provide a standard of care. A standard of care communicates the practice, knowledge, skills, and attitudes of case management providers to the many Canadian constituencies, including the health care system, government, commerce, the military, and the general public.
This body of knowledge establishes a foundation for case management providers to acquire the right skills, for educational institutions to develop curriculum, and for workers and employers to create job descriptions and performance appraisals. Secondly, given that practising front-line VAC case managers, like case management providers across the country, have limited time for engagement with educational materials, seminars, conferences, and other events that help to maintain their professional currency, NCMN is able to equip VAC case managers with real-time access to the clinically relevant evidence-based resources needed to do their jobs.
OvidMD is an online tool that allows NCMN members to perform a Google-type search of anything in the medical world. Ovid is an advanced search tool known to university librarians around the world, and access is generally a privilege of large academic and research institutions. OvidMD is a tool recently designed specifically for busy front-line health care providers. NCMN members have commented on its ease of use, functionality, and applicability to self, work colleagues, and clients. A mobile app is about to be released.
Professional Case Management journal is the official journal of NCMN, Case Management Society of America, and the Case Management Society of Australia. PCM is an international, evidence-based, peer reviewed journal with a readership of 13,000. NCMN members receive a hard copy of the journal and online access to journal archives. Each bimonthly publication includes “News from NCMN”. The July-Aug 2011 issue “News from NCMN” reported on the work of a Canadian case manager from the Interior Health Authority in B.C. and was the most read article around the world.
The third benefit NCMN offers to Veterans Affairs Canada is to connect front-line VAC case managers with case managers across the country who work with clients and families from similar and complementary target populations. NCMN members from other sectors are working with individuals and populations that VAC case managers are also working with, including: disability, return-to-work, seniors, child services, chronic illness, and mental health. As VAC clients and families transition from military to civilian life, there is strength in numbers and the benefits of case management increase exponentially when case managers integrate their knowledge, skill, and practice across these spectrums.
NCMN provides an opportunity for case managers to collaborate more closely with their peers in applying evidence and best practice to case management. A membership directory provides them with easy access to colleagues across the country and across sectors, and our national conference gives them the opportunity to meet with colleagues face to face to strengthen bonds and share their work.
NCMN encourages VAC case managers to continue to bring their voice and experience to affect the crucial national conversation on the future of Canadian case management.
With that, Mr. Chair, I would like to thank you and your committee for this time. I've provided an overview of the National Case Management Network of Canada and spoken to how a partnership with NCMN can assist Veterans Affairs Canada to tighten that focus on case management and show VAC case managers, who provide service to your most complex veterans, that they are well supported to make decisions that improve the care of veterans today for tomorrow.