VILSECK, Germany -- Regional Health Command Europe hosted 26 Nurse Case Managers for its annual Nurse Case Management workshop Nov. 5 -- 7. The workshop is designed to provide newly arrived case managers the critical information they need to manage complicated cases in the European theater.

NCMs are registered nurses who coordinate all aspects of care for individual patients who would benefit from additional support. Patients can be assigned a NCM through a referral from their primary care manager or doctor. Additionally, NCMs work closely with clinic staff to ensure the needs of the patient are met.

NCMs can help a patient arrange for anything from an in-home oxygen tank, setting up specialty care, ensuring they get their medication, or providing them with community resources available to help with their specific condition.

"Case managers take care of the sickest, most vulnerable of our beneficiary population across a variety of healthcare settings from primary care to behavioral health and those in warrior transition care," said Marsha Graham, Regional Health Command Europe's nurse case manager. "These are beneficiaries with multiple medical issues and multiple doctors and appointments who need help navigating through the heath care maze."

"This workshop is important because turnover of staff is high every summer and they come to Europe from a variety of backgrounds," said Graham. "This consolidated training allows us to ensure they all have the knowledge to perform duties according to the standards and policies for case management and are aware of issues specific to providing care in Europe."

During the three-day course, presenters covered topics ranging from case management basics to information specific to working in Europe. Training also focused on information specific to utilizing host-nation facilities, interaction with the TRICARE contractor, legal considerations and updates on recently released policies and programs that impact case management.

"This workshop was beneficial in that it provided information regarding case management coding changes now that Army Medicine is consolidating under the Defense Health Agency," said Jessica Sutherland, a nurse case manager at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. "Our coding justifies our work and will have a huge impact on how case managers are utilized in the future."

"Mrs. Graham exceeded my expectations with this workshop," said Michael Gray, a remote nurse case manager. "I haven't had the benefit of working with her but her enthusiasm was infectious and made the training more engaging."

Case management across the U.S. European Command area of responsibility is complex and is often different from what is found in the states. RHCE nurse case managers deal with not only enrolled active duty service members, their families, retirees, civilians and contractors, but also regionally aligned forces deployed in Eastern European countries.

"The case management process is always the same but there are some additional barriers in Europe," added Graham. "Some specialized care is not available in our military treatment facilities thus we must use the TRICARE network and host-nation facilities and providers. This means ensuring that clinical information and the process of care is coordinated and is linked to all providers caring for a beneficiary and the case manager does that. Additionally, often the patient does not have extended family support so the case manager can assist in either getting additional family here, moving the patient closer to family or finding other resources such as additional child care or a church family or unit buddy to provide the needed support."