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Certified versus Non-certified Medical Assistants: The Impact on Illinois Physicians and Their Practices

    • ISSUE-brief-5-Certified-vs-Non-CertBy now, most Illinois physicians and practice administrators are aware of the Stage 2, Meaningful Use, Core Measure 1 stipulation that all computerized patient order entries be entered by licensed healthcare personnel or certified (credentialed) medical assistants. While to the average person this appears to be a reasonable guideline issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), most physicians are all too aware that many of our office staff and medical assistants are on-the-job trained, and that this government stipulation imposes a hardship on our practices.

      Physicians should be aware that the Stage 2 stipulations only apply to eligible providers attesting for Meaningful Use, and that the guidelines do not affect oral or written orders.

      What can we do to address this workforce requirement?

      The Illinois State Medical Society and the American Medical Association continue to work on the certified medical assistant stipulation. The American Medical Association recently forwarded a comment letter to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) stating that the licensed healthcare medical professionals and credentialed medical assistants stipulation for the entry of computerized patient orders is burdensome and creating workforce issues within practice. Both the AMA and ISMS understand that the Stage 2 stipulation impedes physicians' abilities to delegate authority to office personnel, causes patient and work flow issues for your practices, and could potentially lead to staffing turnover. 


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