Wallace State’s Gift to Area Medical Assistants

Attn: October 2014

A 100% Online Medical Assisting Review Course (Just in time for Christmas!) Beginning in October of 2014, Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Alabama will begin offering an online Medical Assisting Review course. The new program, offered through Wallace State’s Continuing Education Department, will include the information all Certified Medical Assistants must have in order to be able to use the Computerized Provider Order Entry system in accordance with the January 1st, 2013 ruling by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The course also provides 20 continuing education units CMAs must obtain each year to keep their credentials current and continue working in the healthcare field as Certified Medical Assistants. The 2013 ruling by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services allows credentialed Medical Assistants to enter doctors’ orders into the Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) system. Previously, only licensed healthcare professionals were allowed to do this.

This ruling is intended to help Physicians who employ Medical Assistants instead of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Registered Nurses (RNs) to be in compliance with the requirements of Stage 2 of the Incentive Programs offered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Eligible Physicians can receive incentive payments if they meet the standards of the Core Objectives as authorized by Congress and established by CMS. One such Core Objective is that physicians must “make meaningful use of” the Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology, which includes the CPOE system.

Until the January 2013 ruling, Physicians who employ CMAs had to enter every single one of their patient orders into the CPOE system themselves via a computer or mobile device, or hire an LPN or an RN to do so. The ruling enables Physicians to continue employing CMAs instead of forcing them to choose between entering their orders into the CPOE system themselves or replacing their CMAs with licensed staff to do this task for them, a dilemma that could have resulted in many Physicians dropping out of the EHR Incentive Programs.

However, in order for Certified Medical Assistants to be eligible to enter Physician orders into the CPOE system, they MUST be considered properly credentialed to do so by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In addition to helping CMAs prepare to use the CPOE system, the course offered by Wallace State Community College will also be useful to medical offices that may need assistance with helping employees to be adequately prepared for their Medical Assistant Credentialing Exams.

The course offers a mix of new information as well as a comprehensive review of the various clinical and administrative duties performed by CMAs in the medical office setting, and covers the entire list of subjects found on the Certified Medical Assisting -CMA (AAMA)®, National Certified Medical Assistant -NCMA, and the Registered Medical Assistant -RMA examination outlines.

To be considered for course registration, potential participants must meet the qualifications for recertification by continuing education for their CMA (AAMA) credential or be ready to complete their medical assisting credentialing exams. A review of the current guidelines for CMA (AAMA)®, NCMA, CCMA, and RMA credentialing and continuing education requirements should clear up any uncertainty regarding eligibility for registration.

Employer documentation of participants’ eligibility to take the course is required for registration. It can be difficult for medical professionals, Certified Medical Assistants or otherwise, to find the time to get the Continuing Education Units they need in order to keep their credentials current.

Wallace State Community College is pleased to finally be able to offer hard working CMA’s an AMAA-approved online continuing education option that will keep them up-to-date on the constantly evolving duties CMAs are expected to perform as well as making it easier for them to get the required amount of continuing education to ensure that their credentials are kept current. All healthcare workers, from Neurosurgeons to Nursing Assistants, must obtain a certain amount of continuing education units (CEUs) each year in order to keep their licenses, certifications, or credentials current.

If any healthcare worker, whether a Certified Medical Assistant, an RN or even a Physician, should fail to obtain the number of CEUs required to keep their credentials current, they would be unable to work at the profession because without the required continuing education their licenses or credentials are invalid. It is illegal to work as a licensed or credentialed health care professional without a valid license or current credentials anywhere in the United States, so getting those Continuing Education Units is an extremely high priority for CMA’s as well as for all other healthcare professionals.

Wallace State Community College understands the utmost importance of continuing education for the CMAs in this community, and making an online Medical Assisting review course available is just one more thing Wallace State is doing to help ensure the success of the graduates of their CMA program. However, it is not necessary to be a graduate of Wallace State to register for this new online review course, any CMAs who meet the qualifications for recertification of their CMA (AMAA) credential by continuing education are invited to register.

To register for Wallace State Community College’s new online Medical Assistant Review Course, contact the office of the Dean of Outreach at 256-352-7826.