After last week's post regarding the Credentialed Medical Assistant requirement under Meaningful Use, we were asked the following question:
If we are not attesting to Stage 2 until next year, when should credentialing for our medical assistants occur?
Meaningful Use allows for some interpretation and flexibility; however, interpretation may understandably cause some confusion. One common misconception is the requirement for medical assistants to be credentialed, including when the credentialing should take place. Most of us understand that medical assistants should be credentialed as part of Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements. While this is true, did you know that the concept of a "credentialed medical assistant" is really not just a Stage 2 requirement but also a Stage 1 requirement?
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) FAQ 7693 addresses this requirement best:
"Does the inclusion of certified Medical Assistant in the list of professionals who can enter orders into the EHR using CPOE and have them count in the numerator?"
"We have revised the description of who can enter orders into the EHR and have it count as CPOE and have it count for purposes of the CPOE measure. This revision is available for EHR reporting periods in 2013 and beyond regardless of what stage of meaningful use the provider is attesting to." (FAQ7693)
According to Robert Anthony, deputy director of the Health Information Technology Initiatives Group of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), there are some electronic health records that keep track of who makes each entry. Auditors could ask for a log of entries and "could determine whether medication, laboratory, and radiology orders were entered by either licensed health care professionals or credentialed medical assistants."
So what does this mean?
The rule about credentialed medical assistants went into effect as of January 1, 2013. Whether you are attesting to Stage 1 or Stage 2 Meaningful Use, we encourage all eligible professionals to make sure your medical assistants are credentialed before entering orders into the computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system. There is a good chance if some entries of orders entered in the CPOE do not meet CMS requirements that eligible professionals may not meet Meaningful use core requirements and may not receive incentive payments under the EHR Incentive Programs.
How we can help:
We have analyzed many of the options that are available for eligible professionals. In doing so, it became clear to us we had an obligation to provide a quality credentialing option at an affordable cost for all of our clients who need the credentialing module. Not only is the module affordable, it is set up in a way that ensures understanding and retention by medical assistants and other healthcare professionals who want to take the module.
You can easily add this course to your account this month and train all necessary medical assistants before year-end with very minimal disruption to your workforce. If you are interested in learning more about the Medical Assistant Credentialing module, please do not hesitate to contact us! We are eager to help you get your medical assistants credentialed as soon as possible.