Behind every well-run medical office sits a medical manager, in charge of keeping that workplace running like a well-oiled machine. Medical managers oversee entire hospitals or concentrate on a particular area of the medical center, such as the cancer center or maternity ward. A medical manager is in charge of employees, payroll and administrative duties. In the field of medical managers, women lead the way, making up almost 70 percent of all workers in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Though not required by every employer, certification looks great on a resume and gives the manager legitimacy in the field. A variety of providers offer certifications for medical managers, including industry associations such as the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management and the Physician Office Managers Association of America. Certification for medical managers comes from specialty schools that concentrate on providing training for medical professionals, such as the Practice Management Institute and the Med Certification.
Before pursuing certification, candidates must fulfill certain qualifications, which vary. In general, certifying agencies require a minimum number of years of professional experience combined with an education in health care management. PAHCOM, for example, asks for three years of experience in health care management, along with 12 hours of courses in health care or business management. Some providers also require a candidate to become a member of the organization, which usually means paying yearly dues. Some designations require the applicant to be a physician, such as the Certified Physician Executive certification from the Certifying Commission in Medical Management.
The biggest hurdle toward earning certification is passing the exam. Exam topics include billing, collections, coding, regulation compliance, management, health care law, risk management and patient education. Typically, a third-party testing center proctors the exams for the provider, and most exams consist of multiple-choice questions. Test-takers do not have to go it alone, however; most providers offer study guides, workbooks, practice tests and other resources to help prepare for the exam. The Practice Management Institute, for example, offers an online lecture course where students can gain extra know-how before taking the test.
Holding a certification as a medical manager requires work beyond the initial certification process. A manager must renew her certification every few years, typically every one to three years. For organizations that require membership to earn certification, recertification involves maintaining membership in that group. Other recertification requirements include paying a fee and earning a minimum number of continuing-education credits between each renewal period. CE credits come from online and in-person courses, workshops, conferences and industry-related activities.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical and Health Services Managers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: 2012 Household Data Annual Averages
- Professional Association of Health Care Office Management: Certified Medical Manager
- Practice Management Institute: Certified Medical Office Manager
- Physician Office Managers Association of America: Certified Practice Manager Certification
- Med Certification: Certified Medical Office Manager
- Certifying Commission in Medical Management: Certified Physician Executive
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