Serious Illness Training

Improving Conversations Regarding Patients With Life-Limiting Illnesses

Presented By

All four presenting organizations are proud to offer this virtual education program for FREE to 44 members of each CMSA chapter — so register today! Not a member of a chapter or MiCCSI? Register as a “waitlist” participant and any unused openings will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration links can be found below.

You must attend and complete all four sessions to obtain the CEUs (no partial credit will be given).


This training is focused on patients with serious, life-limiting illnesses and will:

  • Teach you the communication and conversational skills necessary to assess, elicit and express a patient’s and/or patient family’s desires and needs.
  • Reinforce how to respect and honor a patient’s rights and inherent dignity.
  • Improve your ability to align care plans to the patients’ goals, values and preferences.

This training series is comprised of four 75-minute sessions held over four consecutive weeks.

Target Audience

Care managers, case managers, nurses, RNs and Social Workers who understand the need for improved conversations about serious illness.

Serious Illness Training Session Details

1. Overview

This session will focus on conversations regarding serious illness. We will address questions including:

  • What is the role of case management?
  • How do we properly address the rights and dignity of the patient?
  • What are the differences between the medical model and the biopsychosocial model relating to serious illness conversations?

2. Communication Skills

This session will focus on communication skills regarding serious illness including:

  • How do social workers and nurses address the patient’s goals, values and desires?
  • How does this affect the patient’s care plan?
  • Which communication skills are applicable to these conversations?

3. Guides & Protocols

This session will introduce the Serious Illness Communication Guide.

  • What are the key components of this guide?
  • What are the benefits of using this guide in conversations about serious illness?

4. Implementation and Practice

This session will focus on conducting practice conversations including role playing, applied communication skills, utilizing the Serious Illness Communication Guide, and building confidence in initiating and conducting conversations.

Serious Illness Training & Resource Materials

Serious Illness Presentation Slides
Serious Illness Communication Resource Guide
Serious Illness Communication Resources
Week 3 Attachment Assessment tool SI conversation
Week 4 Attendee Case Studies Activity

Continuing Education Credits

Four (4) CEUs will be awarded at the completion of the four sessions. You must attend and complete all four sessions to obtain the CEUs (no partial credit will be given).



This course is approved by the Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative. 

Course approval #: 063020-00  Available Credits: 4


Chicago Chapter of Case Mgmt Society of America is an Approved CE Provider for Nursing & Social Work CE through the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation:  RN # 236000085 & SW # 159001255


Chicago Chapter of Case Mgmt Society of America is an Approved CE Provider for Nursing & Social Work CE through the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation:  RN # 236000085 & SW # 159001255


This program has been pre-approved by The Commission for Case Manager Certification to provide continuing education credit to CCM® board certified case managers. The course is approved for a total of 4 CE contact hour(s). Activity code: I00042674  Approval Number: 200137587
To claim these CEs, log into your CCMC Dashboard at


There are two different time slots offered for this training. The weekly sessions are offered:

  • Wednesdays: 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. CDT (12 – 1:15 p.m. EDT) — July 8, 15, 22 and 29
  • Thursdays: 6 – 7:15 p.m. CDT (7 – 8:15 p.m. EDT) — July 9, 16, 23 and 30

Registrants must sign up for one time slot and may not alternate between time slots. The sponsor organizations have reserved space for 22 members in each time slot. If you have any questions, please contact Sue Voss at

Register today!

There is also an optional Post-training Case Review on August 18th and 19th. You do not need to register for this — it will be a “drop in” event.

About The Trainer

Mary Beth Billie, DNP, RN-BC, CCM

Mary Beth Billie is a registered nurse with over 25 years of experience developing and managing utilization, case, disease and population health programs in provider and payer organizations.

Her most recent position was the Regional Executive Director of Population Heath at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Illinois. In that role she developed and implemented care coordination and quality management programs for Loyola’s Physician Partners Accountable Care Organization. 

Mary Beth previously held leadership positions at Blue Cross of Illinois and United Health Care where she was responsible for National Care Management and Population Health programs. 

Mary Beth is certified in Case Management from both the CCMC and the AACN. She received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Loyola University Niehoff School of Nursing. Her DNP capstone project was training case managers and social workers on how to engage patients with serious illness in conversations to elicit their goals and preferences for their care.

Mary Beth has developed and implemented care manager training programs using the chronic illness trajectory framework to provide care managers with a structured approach to identifying and mitigating clinical, financial and psychosocial risks for high risk patients.