The American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management is a professional organization that caters to those who work in healthcare patient financial services. The goal of the organization is to assist with education, training, networking and career advancement. Among the services the organization provides is certifications. Certifications are encouraged because of the benefits gained in professional development, industry recognition, personal achievement and career satisfaction, the AAHAM says. The organization offers several levels of certification according to work experience and depth of knowledge. You must pass exams to earn certification.
Choose Certification Level
The journey to AAHAM certification begins with selecting the level of certification you want to achieve. The technician level is for those who process patient accounts and focuses on procedural compliance. The specialist level is for those who have patient access and manage patient accounts from billing to collections. The professional level is for supervisors and managers who oversee functional areas in patient account management. The executive level, which is the highest level of certification, is for healthcare executives and focuses on strategic business management.
Eligibility requirements are attached to AAHAM certifications, so make sure you are eligible for the certification you want. Sitting for the technician level exam requires one year of experience in a compliance role. For the specialist level exam, you need one year of work experience in a job related to patient accounts. If you manage or supervise revenue cycle functions like admissions or accounting, two years of experience and AAHAM membership are required to sit for the professional level exam. Four years of healthcare work experience and AAHAM membership are required to take the executive level certification exam.
Check Exam Schedule and Submit Application
Certification exams are offered four times a year. Local AAHAM chapters can provide specific exam dates, times and locations. Select an exam date, prepare the application and submit it to the national AAHAM organization along with the fee. Be sure the application is submitted and received by the posted deadline, which is usually two months before the scheduled exam. You will receive confirmation before the test time.
Prepare to Pass
According to the AAHAM, certification exams "require comprehensive working knowledge of patient account management, financial operations, information systems, governmental regulations and policies that govern revenue cycle procedures.” Even with this knowledge, attempting to pass the exam without preparation is a mistake. The AAHAM recommends refresher training within a group study program or independently.
Take the Exam
Proctored, online exams are given to those who seek certification. The exams are timed and the time allowed depends on which certification exam you take. For example, the professional certification exam is given over a four-hour period, allowing one hour per exam section. Per AAHAM, section topics include patient access or front desk protocols, billing, credit and collections and revenue cycle management. A passing score is 70 percent for all certification exams. If you don’t make a passing score, you can take the exam again at a reduced fee.
There are certain requirements to maintain your certification. You must be an AAHAM member in good standing. Also, you must complete a certain amount of continuing education credits, half of which must come from attending AAHAM educational programs. Those who let their memberships lapse must repeat the entire process to regain certification.