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Certification Intimidation

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This blog was written by Kaaren Corallo, President of the New Jersey Chapter of AAHAM and a National Member of the Professional Certification Committee.


As we approach the end of the year, I am also approaching the end of my 2nd and final term as president of the New Jersey chapter of AAHAM. During my four years as president I have served as a member of one of two National Certification Committees.   When I first learned that as President, serving on a national committee was part of the responsibility of being a chapter president, I was a little apprehensive. I didn't know many people in the organization outside of NJ and despite of my "Jersey Girl" reputation, I felt a little intimidated.

My journey into the world of AAHAM certification began as kind of a challenge. Another supervisor in the facility I worked at became certified and I decided that it was a path I needed to take also. Truthfully, I didn't want to be outdone! I began with the CPAT and the CCAT, now CRCS, and eventually went on to sit for the CPAM, now known as CRCE. I had to sit for this exam two times before I passed. The first time I was full of confidence and as many people do, I didn't devote enough time studying what I thought I already knew. The two areas that I had worked in during my career in healthcare were Billing and Credit & Collection. Come on, I do this every day so how much do I need to study? I asked myself. Well, when I received my grades, the two sections that I failed were, GUESS?? That's right, Billing and Credit and Collection. Although I only failed each section by one or two questions, it was a real disappointment that I let my ego get in the way of my success. Fortunately, I was able to pass on my second try.

The certification committees are responsible for developing, reviewing, and updating the study manuals for each exam and also developing and updating exam questions.

Developing a study manual and exam questions that are fair but also allow an examinee to fully demonstrate the knowledge required to pass the exam is not an easy task. The committees are also responsible for developing and producing a webinar series as another study aid. Study guides and exam questions are reviewed on a yearly basis to be sure that the information remains current and all information on regulatory changes are included.   These study guides also serve as great reference tools in revenue cycle departments.   Our webinars are also packed with great information to help you pass the exam.

At the time that I took my exam, I didn't sign up for any webinars and I'm not even sure that they were available. The most invaluable tool to me was the study guide. After failing my first time, that guide became an extension of my hand. After working on the committee, I can finally appreciate all the hard work that goes into making sure that the study guides are accurate and complete and I am sure that I could not have passed without it!   When you have made your decision to become certified, no matter which exam you sit for, remember that there are lots of people working behind the scenes to make sure that you have the tools and resources you need to make you a success!


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