Expired Credentials and Meaningful Use

I have been receiving questions about whether a medical assistant who formerly held the CMA (AAMA) credential is considered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to be a “credentialed medical assistant,” and is permitted to enter medication, laboratory, and radiology orders into the computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system for “meaningful use” calculations under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs.

First of all, it is important to understand that the policy of the Certifying Board of the AAMA states that only a current CMA (AAMA) is permitted legally to use the initialisms “CMA” or “CMA (AAMA),” and the phrases “Certified Medical Assistant” or “certified medical assistant.” Anyone other than a current CMA (AAMA) who does so is violating the intellectual property rights of the American Association of Medical Assistants.

Because an individual whose CMA (AAMA) is not current cannot use the credential for any purpose, such an individual is not a “credentialed medical assistant” according to the CMS rule, and cannot enter orders into the CPOE system and have such entry count toward meeting the meaningful use requirements. The individual must recertify and make current the CMA (AAMA) credential in order to meet the CMS definition of a “credentialed medical assistant.”

 

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 Certification and the CMA (AAMA) Credential, On the Job and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Expired Credentials and Meaningful Use

  1. Since they must have graduated from an accreditated program, they can use their certificate from that program as a credential. Do you agree?

  2. Susan M. says:

    I have a question in reference to use of the CMA credential when retired. It has been my understanding for many years that it is allowed to use the credential as “CMA” (retired). Of course this would not be in active office duty etc, but is this acceptable? If it is, what is the required form of notification etc, to AAMA? I became disabled unfortunately, and kept hoping to improve, but that never happened, so eventually it expired and I never “officially” made notice.

    Thanks,
    Susan M

    • Anna Johnson says:

      Thank you very much for asking this important question. In 2012 the Certifying Board of the AAMA voted to limit use of the CMA (AAMA) credential to medical assistants who maintain current certification. The purpose for this decision is to better ensure current competency and knowledge, and thus better protect patients. Additionally, the AAMA Disciplinary Standards and Procedures for the CMA (AAMA) state that it “is unethical and a misrepresentation to publicly display the CMA (AAMA) certification title or to use the CMA (AAMA) initials after your name if your credential has expired.“ Thus, the CB also wants to ensure that confusion is not created by contradicting standards.

      The Certifying Board feels that this decision is in the best long term interest of the profession, the public and the reputation of CMA (AAMA) certified medical assistants. We hope you will be proud that the CMA (AAMA) credential is backed by professionally reliable, ethical policies.

      Please let us know if you have any further questions about recertification or use this link for FAQs that might help answer your questions: http://www.aama-ntl.org/continuing-education/faqs-recertification.

  3. Tina says:

    So if I have not be “certified” I am just a MA no matter what school I graduated from..

  4. Gina says:

    Not certified unless you take AAMA test then you can use CMA. Others are RMA from their testing outside of schools.

  5. Theresa Wolter says:

    Dear Donald A. Balasa,
    I am excited to announce I have become a New Member of AAMA.
    My first question is, will I receive a card or certificate in the mail to present to my employer?
    I also am a long standing member of AMT, and a Registered Medical Assistant. I have been a Medical Assistant for over 30 years and I am very proud of my work, and of my certification as a Medical Assistant. If it is necessary to take the AAMA exam to be viewed and respected by the AAMA, would it be possible that I take the test in short order to add ‘ CMA ‘ to my list of Certificates of Completion, and my Limited Permit in Radiology. I believed joining AAMA was a wise choice, but I must say a bit disappointed to read (after I’ve submitted my funds for membership) that I may be viewed as a Inferior Medical Assistant?
    I have many strengths in clinical and the administrative healthcare field. With with my long work history, I have seen the medical office change in many ways. ( I remember when there were no computers in the medical office, and now I carry a small laptop with me in every patient room )
    The one standard that I have held firm is to always to be my best, to stay current and strive to be prepared ahead of the need. I desire to keep my professional and personal image in check, so that I too can inspire new students and employees as I was many years ago . ( Mrs.Teddy Pena comes to mind ) Hence my reason to augment my wallet with a new AAMA membership card..

    Thank you,

    Theresa Wolter

    *Please feel free to email me or call me on the number listed when I filled out the application to become a member.

    • Congratulations on becoming an AAMA member! We know you will enjoy the many benefits of AAMA membership. You will receive a membership card.

      Please be assured that you will not be viewed as an inferior medical assistant.

      The only individuals who are eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination are those who have graduated from a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program.

      I hope this is helpful. Once again, welcome to the AAMA!

      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. Stephanie Hahn, MA says:

    Question…..I graduated from Medical assisting school in 1987 and have been working full time in the medical office since that time. My registration (RMA) expired about 7 years ago, when I became sick. It my understanding I need to get recertified again. Can I recertify through AAMA and be Certified as opposed to Registered?? I have still continued to work even after I became ill. And only missed a couple of months. So how do I go about getting Certified? Thank you in advance.

    • Thank you for your question. If the medical assisting program from which you graduated in 1987 was CAAHEP or ABHES accredited at that time, you are eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination. What is the name of the school from which you graduated?

      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

      • Stephanie Hahn, MA says:

        It was Bryan institute in Tulsa Oklahoma. They are not even around at least here anymore.

      • Thank you. We will see whether we can help you identify whether the medical assisting program at that institution was CAAHEP or ABHES accredited at that time.

        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

      • Stephanie Hahn, MA says:

        Thank you. What happens if in fact it was not??

      • You are welcome! If the program was not CAAHEP or ABHES accredited in 1987, you would not be eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination.

        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

      • Stephanie Hahn, MA says:

        So even thought I have 27 years of experience in the medical office, I would not be able to certify?? So in that instance would I need to just re-register?? Again thank you!

      • If you did not graduate from a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program, you would not be eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination, regardless of your years of experience. I assume you would be able to renew your RMA credential.

        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

      • Your program was accredited by ABHES in 1987. Therefore, you are eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination.

        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

      • Stephanie Hahn, MA says:

        thank you very very much!!!

      • My pleasure!

        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

  7. Susan M. says:

    What about a similar situation, where the CMA in question was certified before the Ad Hoc committees ruling, but was not a graduate, rather Trained by Physician. Can she renew an expired certificate? It’s been several years.

    Thanks,
    Susan M

    • Thank you for your question. An individual who took and passed the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination prior to the institution of the requirement of graduation from a programmatically accredited medical assisting program (which went into effect June of 1998) and was not a graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program is always eligible to recertify. The individual does not have to graduate from a CAAHEP or ABHES program to recertify. If the individual’s CMA (AAMA) has been not current for more than 60 months, the individual would have to retest in order to recertify.

      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

      • Stephanie says:

        I graduated in 2003 and never took a certification exam for AMA but have been working in the medicalmedical field and I got my associate degree in HIT in 2012. Can I get certified. The college I went to was Victoria community college in Victoria, Texas

  8. medicos99 says:

    I noticed in the latest issue of CMA Today that “MA” was used as a title in at least one article. Doesn’t that send a mixed message?

  9. Alicia Linse says:

    I have let my certification lapse and need to become a member and get CEU’s taken care of so I can apply for recert. I was told dues price and pricing for CEU material. Then online, it shows that eac CEU for members is $10 or so. Is that price ON TOP OF the price for materials? $600 for 60 units seems really pricey on top of what I have to pay to get materials. That’s why I didn’t stay caught up to begin with.

    • Anna Johnson says:

      Dear Ms. Linse,

      David Knight, Director of Continuing Education and Membership, will respond to your questions about recertifying your CMA (AAMA) credential by continuing education. In the meantime I also wanted to let you know that you can recertify by taking the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination. For information about that option, please visit the AAMA website at: http://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/faqs-certification to find answers about the exam.

  10. Anna Johnson says:

    Dear Ms. Linse,

    David Knight, Director of Continuing Education and Membership, will respond to your questions about recertifying your CMA (AAMA) credential by continuing education. In the meantime I also wanted to let you know that you can recertify by taking the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination. For information about that option, please visit the AAMA website at: http://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/faqs-certification to find answers about the exam.

  11. Heather Barber says:

    AAMA site is down. It says server error. When will it come back up? I need to find out about getting recertified.(CMA) My certification expired 12/31/2009. Can I just retake the state test or do I have to take classes again? When is the next testing? I also used to be a member of AAMA but that expired in 2006. How do I renew that? Please email soon with the answer. Thank you. Heather

    • Anna Johnson says:

      Thank you for your inquiry. Due to a change in policy there was a ONE TIME adjustment to the expiration dates of all current CMAs (AAMA). Your expiration date was extended to August 31, 2010. Thus, you are able to recertify by either continuing education or exam. Read more about these two options below To better ensure continuing competency, knowledge and better patient protection, CMAs (AAMA) are required to recertify every 60 months. Current status is required in order to use the credential.
      Recertification may be accomplished either by passing the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination or by acquiring 60 recertification points. The category breakdown of points must be as follows:
      • 10 Administrative
      • 10 Clinical
      • 10 General
      • 30 from any combination of the above three categories
      AAMA CEU credit minimum: At least 30 of the required 60 recertification points must be accumulated from AAMA approved continuing education units (CEUs). If desired, all 60 points may be AAMA CEUs.

      Non-AAMA credit maximum: A maximum of 30 recertification points may be accumulated from sources other than AAMA CEUs (e.g., college or university credit, physician CME credits and contact hours). A contact hour is defined as a typical 50-minute classroom instructional session, or its equivalent.

      For non-AAMA recertification points official documentation issued by the sponsor granting the credit must be attached to the application, and should include the following:

      1. Date credit was earned
      2. Name of sponsor issuing credit
      3. A course description or content outline for each educational activity
      4. Amount and type of credit awarded (e.g., CEU, CME, contact hour or college credit)
      5. A certificate of completion or attendance for each activity bearing the number of contact hours awarded

      Reactivation fee
      Any CMA (AAMA) not recertifying on or before the expiration date of their credential will be considered as having an expired credential and will be required to pay a $50 reactivation fee in addition to the recertification fee in order to recertify. This applies to recertification by continuing education or examination.

      Reactivation by exam
      If CMA (AAMA) credential has been expired 60 months or more
      If it has been longer than 60 months since a CMA (AAMA) has recertified, the credential has expired and cannot be reactivated by continuing education. However, recertification can be achieved by passing the CMA (AAMA) Exam. Payment of a $50 reactivation fee plus the recertification by examination fee will be required.

      For more information, here is a link to our Recertification by Continuing Education Application: http://www.aama-ntl.org/recertified/apply_recert.aspx. Questions about this recertification process are answered at this link: http://www.aama-ntl.org/recertified/faqs_recertification.aspx.

      I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

      Anna Johnson, CAE
      Director of Certification/AAMA Associate Executive Director

      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

  12. constance lyle says:

    Question. .my credentials expired this pass April 2015..I have no CEU accumulated. .can I start accumulating CEU now to work toward Recertification

  13. Amy says:

    My certification expired on 11/30/2015. I am in the process of being scheduled to take the test to recertify, but need to know where I can find information regarding what I can and cannot do while at work. I currently work as a medical assistant/scribe at a family practice. My supervisor feels that I should not be giving injections, but am able to do everything else.

    • Thank you for your question. Could you please tell me in what state you are located? The medical assisting laws vary somewhat from state to state.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

      • Amy says:

        I am in Kentucky. I have looked on the state of KY website but can’t seem to find anything.

      • Thank you. I will send my legal opinion letter for Kentucky and other pertinent documents to your e-mail.

        Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
        Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
        American Association of Medical Assistants
        Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
        The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

  14. Danielle Rodriguez says:

    What if you are certified through AMT?

    • Thank you for your question. An individual holding the RMA credential of AMT meets the CMS definition of “credentialed medical assistant” and is therefore permitted to enter orders into the CPOE system for meaningful use calculation purposes under the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

  15. Devonna Malesky says:

    I was certified in 1985 . I understand that it has expired. I am thinking once again about taking the exam to recertify. I paid to take it last year but my father became ill and I did not feel confident in my studies so I did not take the exam. It is very hard to find test material also. I purchased a few on line programs. It has been many years since I took the exam and I am not sure what to study. No one offers any type of refresher course and I was not sucessful in finding any local chapters. I have been working for 38 years. I recently had to resign from a job and am now applying for new jobs. My resume currently states that I was certified by the AAMA in 1985 and I am eligible for recertification. If a potential employer looks it up on your website there will be no records found using my name or certificate number since it has expired. Would the AAMA ever consider listing all persons that were certified and just listing their status as current or expired? It is a shame to not be able to use that acheivemnent on a resume if it cannot be verified. Most employers want a CMA or a least a RMA. Can you offer any help in preparing to recertify by taking the exam?

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