Because most CMAs (AAMA) work under the direct supervision of “eligible professionals” (as defined in the rules of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS]), this post focuses on some common questions surrounding the provisions of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program that are applicable to eligible professionals, not those provisions that are applicable to “eligible hospitals” and “critical access hospitals.”
Q: Who can enter orders into the EHR to contribute to the meeting of the Stage 1 and 2 measures for CPOE?
A: Stage 1 of the Incentive Program specified that only “licensed health care professionals” could enter orders into the CPOE system for meaningful use calculation purposes. At the urging of the American Association of Medical Assistants and other parties, on August 23, 2012, CMS issued a final rule allowing “credentialed medical assistants” to enter orders into the CPOE system for the purpose of calculating compliance with this Core Objective. The CMS Stage 2 Eligible Professional Meaningful Use Core Measures document, issued in October of 2012, includes the following statement: “Any licensed healthcare professionals and credentialed medical assistants can enter orders into the medical record for purposes of including the order in the numerator for the objective of CPOE…”
Q: How does CMS define “credentialed medical assistants”?
A: According to the 2012 CMS document cited immediately above, “Credentialing for a medical assistant must come from an organization other than the organization employing the medical assistant.”
Q: Does an associate degree, certificate, or diploma from an academic medical assisting program fall within the CMS definition of a credentialed medical assistant?
A: In my opinion, the context of the August 23, 2012 CMS final rule does not allow an associate degree, certificate, or diploma from a medical assisting program to be considered as a medical assisting credential. The medical assisting credential must be granted by a body that requires medical assistants to pass a standardized test.
Q: Would a “credential” based on experience and recommendations meet the CMS definition of a credentialed medical assistant?
A: No. The intent of CMS was that a medical assistant pass some sort of examination in order to fulfill the definition of a “credentialed medical assistant.”