Patient Care Technician/Assistant in board room

Case Study: Meaningful Use

Northwest Primary Care needed to certify medical assistants to qualify for CMS incentive payments. Fast and flexible certification from National Healthcareer Association got them prepared and qualified.

Primary Care Practice Uses National Certification to Fulfill Meaningful Use Criteria

With 33 years of primary care practice experience and management behind her, Jill Svensen-Cox knows what it takes to deliver on the promise of high-quality healthcare: the best people and the best systems.

As a registered nurse and the human resources director at Northwest Primary Care Group in Portland, Oregon, Svensen-Cox is responsible for finding, keeping, and growing the capabilities of the nurses and medical assistants on staff. One of the duties for medical assistants is entering orders into electronic health records. CMS guidelines now require medical assistants that perform this duty be credentialed in order to receive CMS incentive payments.

“We invested in our EHR system for effective and efficient patient care so it was important for us to know it well and use it professionally,” said Svensen-Cox. “And we also wanted to benefit from the CMS incentive payments designed to help practices like ours recover some of our expenses.”

EHR implementation is good for patients and doctors, but meeting meaningful use standards is also essential for the bottom line of the practice. CMS provides payment incentives of up to $44,000 over five years for each physician when a practice meets electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use requirements. Northwest Primary Care invested in the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification from National Healthcareer Association (NHA) for all its medical assistants. NHA provides a nationally accredited NCCA certification which satisfies the CMS Meaningful Use criteria and allows the practice to receive incentive payments.

"We prefer the NHA certification program because it is more flexible for our staff. Whether they are a new graduate medical assistant or a seasoned staff member, it fits different career stages well, and the NHA CCMA exam is affordable and convenient for us." — Jill Svenson-Cox, RN Human Resources and Nursing Director, Northwest Primary Care

Choosing a Certification Program

Svensen-Cox investigated various allied health certification providers and made the decision to go with NHA for a few key reasons.

“We prefer the NHA certification program because it is more flexible for our staff,” says Svensen-Cox. “Whether they are a new graduate medical assistant or a seasoned staff member, it fits different career stages well, and the NHA CCMA exam is affordable and convenient for us.”

Svensen-Cox was also sufficiently prepared and equipped to administer the NHA certification exam on site for their employees. In addition to the flexible testing options, online certification prep materials, offered on the NHA store, are interactive and easy to access. The use of prep materials also increase the likelihood of certification success on the first try.

Northwest Primary Care is growing, with three new doctors just recently added. Nurses and medical assistants have been hired as well to support the new practitioners.

With people and systems at the core of Northwest Primary Care, certification from NHA supports the mission.

“NHA certification builds confidence for our staff,” said Svensen-Cox. “And helps us keep our promise of delivering great care for every stage in the lives of our patients.”

Meaningful Use: NHA Certification Helps Meet Criteria