The Assessment-Based Recognition and CMA (AAMA) Certification

Effective at the beginning of 2014, the AAMA has established an Assessment-Based Recognition (ABR) in order entry program for electronic health records (EHRs). Individuals who are granted this ABR in order entry meet the “credentialed medical assistant” requirement under the September 5, 2012, rule of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

I wrote a question-and-answer piece on this matter in the January/February 2014 issue of CMA Today, and would like to highlight a few points from that article.

First and foremost, the creation of the ABR in order entry in no way undermines the AAMA’s commitment to the CMA (AAMA) credential. The association maintains the position that the CMA (AAMA) is an unmatched way of demonstrating the knowledge and competency required by the medical assisting profession.

When the CMS ruling took effect on January 1, 2013, many working medical assistants had not graduated from a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program, and were thus not eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination. In effect, they had no way of meeting the CMS requirement through the AAMA. The Board of Trustees, as leaders of not only the association but also the profession, realized the necessity of providing these medical assistants with a way to demonstrate the knowledge sufficient to meet the CMS requirement. The ABR in order entry program provides that pathway.

The full text of my article can be found on the AAMA website.

About Donald A. Balasa

Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA, chief executive officer and legal counsel for the American Association of Medical Assistants, keeps his eye on what is happening in the profession.
This entry was posted in Accreditation, Certification and the CMA (AAMA) Credential, On the Job, Professional Identity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The Assessment-Based Recognition and CMA (AAMA) Certification

  1. Christine says:

    Please explain the difference between a California Certified Medical Assistant, recognized by the American Medical Association and an AAMA. They both require passing a 200 question exam and education / experience so what distinguishes one from the other as it pertains to applying for a job.

    • Thank you for your question. I am happy to explain some of the differences between the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination and the California Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA) Examination.

      The only individuals eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination are those who have graduated from a postsecondary medical assisting academic program accredited by either CAAHEP or ABHES. The CCMA Examination has five eligibility pathways. One of them is current employment as a medical assistant by a licensed physician (MD/DO) or podiatrist (DPM) in the United States. Another pathway is at least two years employment within the last five years as a medical assistant in the United States.

      The CMA (AAMA) Certification Program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The CCMA is not accredited by the NCCA.

      The AAMA does not recognize the CCMA Examination. The AAMA only recognizes the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination.

      Could you please elaborate on your statement that the CCMA Examination is recognized by the American Medical Association?

      I hope this is helpful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262  |  Fax: 312/899-1259  |  http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook  

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

    • Thank you. I am aware of the references to the California Certified Medical Assistant in the California medical assisting regulations, and as posted on the website of the Medical Board of California.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262  |  Fax: 312/899-1259  |  http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook  

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  2. Carol Faulkenberry says:

    I was wondering if I need to take on this creditial. I told the CMA test under the grandfather clause in 1998. Have a degree in health information management. Currently work as Health Information Cordinator. I do all coding according to disease and meds but we do not have EHR records here yet. Would I qualify and should I try for this ceditial? Thanks! Carol

    • Thank you for your credential. Because you once held the CMA credential, you are not eligible for the ABR in order entry.

      If you do not enter orders into the EHR, the CMS rule requiring “credentialed medical assistants” does not apply to you.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262  |  Fax: 312/899-1259  |  http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook  

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  3. susan mayer says:

    I feel, as a CMA (AAMA) that it is only right that it is now going to be more of a standard requirement in the workplace. For years now, many of us as CMA’s have worked to keep up the CMA credential, worked to keep our CEU’s current, while so many have not. It is required of other healthcare professionals to be licensed, certified, keep their continuing education current–why not medical assistants too?

  4. Rosa Isela Sanchez,CMA says:

    I was wondering if I need to take on this credential, I do pre-op, and place orders in EHR records, I’m a CMA (AAMA) for more than 15 years. Would I qualify and should I try for this credential?

    • Thank you for your question. Those who hold a current CMA (AAMA) meet the CMS requirement of being a “credentialed medical assistant” for purposes of entering orders in the CPOE system and having such entry count toward meeting the meaningful use requirement of Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. A current CMA (AAMA) does not need the ABR in order entry in order to meet with CMS requirement.

      In fact, anyone who is a current CMA (AAMA), or ever was a CMA (AAMA) or a CMA, is not eligible for the ABR in order entry.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  5. Carol Hill says:

    I am a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant and a Certified Phlebotomist Technician, and a Certified EKG Technician, through NHA do I qualify?

    • Note the following from CMS:
      Q: In order to meet the objective for computerized order entry (CPOE) for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, do medical assistants need a specific kind of credential from a specific organization to be considered credentialed and therefore able to enter orders using CPOE that can count in the numerator of the measure?

      A: A credentialed medical assistant is a medical assistant who has received credentials or otherwise been certified by an organization other than the employing organization to perform duties as a medical assistant. CMS does not specify credentialing organizations that would qualify medical assistants under this definition. Medical assistants who are credentialed, certified, licensed, or otherwise affirmed as medical assistants by an organization other than the one which employees them can enter orders for the purpose of this objective.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  6. Charlotte Trammell says:

    Need advice on re certification on medical assistant course exp. In 2000. Need a refresher crash course

  7. Carolyn Wright says:

    Can you tell me what the deadline is for medical assistants to get certified for this to count toward the CPOE measure?

    • The CMS requirement that only “credentialed medical assistants” (or licensed health care professionals) enter orders into the CPOE and have such entry count toward meeting the meaningful use thresholds under the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs went into effect January 1, 2013.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

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