About Scribing

What is Scribing?

  • Scribing is the dynamic, real-time recording of verbal communication from the physician, and patient-provider interaction, at the point of service while under the constant supervision of the medical provider.
  • The method of documentation can include handwritten or electronic documentation using blank or structured data templates.

What are the categories related to Medical Scribes?

  • Based upon experience and completion of Medical Scribe Certification and Aptitude Test (MSCAT) Assessments, there are 4 categories related to Medical Scribes:
  • Certified Medical Scribe Specialist (CMSS)
  • Certified Medical Scribe Apprentice (CMSA)
  • Medical Scribe (MS)
  • Virtual Scribe (VS)

What is a Certified Medical Scribe Specialist (CMSS)?

  • A Certified Medical Scribe Specialist (CMSS) is a credential issued by the The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists (ACMSS). A CMSS serves as an assistant to the physician or mid-level provider ( i.e., Registered Nurse, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner)
  • Certified Medical Scribe Specialists are trained and continuously assessed. A person holding the CMSS credential has met 200 hours of unassisted clinical workload documentation or has completed a 50-hour clinical training program.
  • A CMSS is employed to maximize the efficiency and productivity of clinical care. Duties include real time transcribing of physician notes, organization of objective health care data, enhancement of the electronic health record, point-of-service collections, and patient tracking.
  • A CMSS meets both pre-clinical and clinical training requirements, has mastered MSCAT certification, and maintains certification with 3 hours of continuing education annually and payment of the annual certification renewal fee.
  • A CMSS is responsible for real-time transcribing of physician notes, organization of objective health care data, enhancement of the electronic health record, and point-of-service collections and patient tracking.
  • The minimum requirements for a CMSS includes a high school diploma (or GED) plus 200 hours of clinical experience.
  • If you have less than 200 hours of clinical employment experience, you will be recognized as a Certified Medical Scribe Apprentice (CMSA). When 200 hours are fulfilled, full award of the CMSS credential will be provided.
  • If you possess certification or licensure status as a Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, Paramedic, Certified Medical Assistant, Registered Medical Assistant or graduate from a clinical training, you will only need to successfully complete 50 hours of clinical experience and will have full recognition of CMSS.
  • The CMSS credential is focused on nurses, pre-med students, and other aspiring allied healthcare personnel who aspire to medical careers requiring higher education. Physician/CMSS teams are the future of 21st Century Healthcare. Medical workers or students who do not aspire to positions requiring higher education do not reflect the same caliber, depth, and professional trajectory of healthcare.
  • Note: for applicants with no knowledge or experience related to healthcare, additional training programs are available at additional cost.

What is Certified Medical Scribe Apprentice (CMSA)?

  • A Certified Medical Scribe Apprentice (CMSA) is an ancillary staff member that is an assistant to the physician or mid-level provider.
  • A CMSA is an individual that has successfully passed MSCAT certification, and either lacks the 200 hours of clinical experience or has not graduated from a medical scribe program with the 50-hour clinical training built in.
  • When the minimum hours of experience have been achieved and the CMSA submits the required hours of attestation, he or she is then credentialed as a Certified Medical Scribe Specialist (CMSS).
  • A CMSA meets pre-clinical training requirements, has successfully passed MSCAT certification, and maintains membership with 3 hours of continuing education annually.

What is a Medical Scribe?

  • A Medical Scribe is a non-accredited, non-clinical ancillary staff member who functions in a role like that of a Certified Medical Scribe Apprentice (CMSA). The central difference is that a scribe lacks the standardized training, certification, and continual education afforded to a Certified Medical Scribe Specialist (CMSS).
  • Currently scribes are unregulated by an official governing body. Accordingly, the function, skill level, and experience varies greatly between hospitals and scribe programs.
  • The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists sets minimal performance standards in collaboration with The Joint Commission, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Meaningful Use (MU) criteria.

What is a Virtual Medical Scribe?

  • A Virtual Medical Scribe is a non-accredited, non-clinical off-site assistant who documents remotely with the use of visual and audio technology.Given the remote access, a VMS may work from any location worldwide

What credential does ACMSS offer?

  • ACMSS offers the “Certified Medical Scribe Specialist” (CMSS) credential. A person holding the CMSS credential is certified to have the required education and training required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to serve as a “credentialed medical assistant” to meet requirements for electronic health record incentive payments under federal law.

How are persons holding the CMSS credential more valuable than assistants or scribes who lack the credential?

  • A medical provider who uses non-credentialed medical assistants or scribes will be unable to use those personnel in attesting compliance with the Medicare and Medicaid EHR (Electronic Health Records) Incentive Programs.  CMSS credential holders are qualified to perform the whole breadth and depth of all medical and EHR-related workflows.





About Certified Medical Scribe Training, Assessment, Certification and Renewals

What you should know about the ACMSS Training process

  • ACMSS provides training pertaining to prepare persons for CMSS and CMSA credentials via Certification & Compliance
  • The Training portion of Certification & Compliance is delivered as an online, self-paced learning environment.
  • Internet access is required.
  • The training is available for both PC and Apple computers.

What you should know about the ACMSS Assessments process

  • In order to take the Certification Assessment, an affidavit is processed on the ACMSS website to confirm that you are ready to take the Certification Assessment.
  • The MSCAT Certification & Compliance is the assessment tool that allows up to three (3) attempts to satisfactorily complete the Certification Assessment.
  • If required, additional Certification Assessment attempts are available at additional cost.

What you should know about the ACMSS Certification process

  • When the applicant successfully completes the Certification Assessment, the ACMSS Certification Team will be notified and all appropriate documentation, a Certification Number and Certification of Credentials will be created and sent, via email, to the applicant.

What you should know about the Annual Renewals

  • Recertification is a federal EHR regulatory requirement to maintain credentials and keep your certification credentials current.
  • The Recertification Fee is $85/year.
  • In addition to the $85 annual renewal fee, documentation of 3 hours of Continuing Scribe Education units are required annually as approved by ACMSS.
  • If the annual renewal fee is not received in a timely fashion, your credentials will lapse and will be shown as expired.
  • A notice of your renewal requirement and subsequent status will be sent to you and your employer of record for use in their CMS Attestation Report.





About Continuing Scribe Education

What you should know about ACMSS Continuing Scribe Education (CME)

  • Certified scribes need to complete 3 hours of CME each year from date of certification.
  • All CME units are taken through ACMSS to further professional development as a certified medical scribe, meet national goals, and improve clinical practice improvement activities and advancing care information initiatives together for Meaningful Use.
  • ACMSS offers new, current information products that satisfy national requirements.
  • ACMSS has new products that satisfy these hours. These may be found at https://theacmss.org/learning-modules/.
  • Certification compliance is the responsibility of the physician, healthcare or corporate administrators, or the individual managing audit and compliance processes. ACMSS assists them in meeting federal regulatory EHR requirements.
  • The first-year program through ACMSS includes all materials. Subsequent years require recertification compliance, enabled through the $85/individual professional licensure and certification cost, along with completion of 3 accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) hours annually.
  • Each individual and/or practice administrator or physician receives a 12-month issuance of CMS Compliance Certificate with valid Meaningful Use attestation personnel number.
  • ACMSS has begun partnering with CMS on continuing education and now accepts CME approved by CMS. This includes CMS calls, events, webinars, and web-based training courses as programs that may be used to meet the continuing education requirement for ACMSS credential holders. ACMSS will request copies of these if you are selected for verification of the CEUs listed on your renewal form.
  • Any certificate (including Certificate of Completion) for a CMS/MLN training will be accepted. You do not need a CEU certificate.
  • For more information on the CMS CME program, go to: https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNGenInfo/CE-Associations-List/ACMSS.html?DLPage=1&DLEntries=10&DLSort=0&DLSortDir=ascending
  • For the CMS CE association page go to: https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNGenInfo/Continuing-Education.html
  • Registering for a National Provider Call to Obtain Credit. You must register for a call through the Medicare Learning Network registration website if you plan to request credit from your professional association. Click on the following links to view the CMS list of recent and upcoming National Provider Calls & Events and other CMS Training for Credit at https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/NPC/National-Provider-Calls-and-Events.html
  • For more information about what you need to do to obtain credit from ACMSS, visit the ACMSS CMS Certification and Compliance Program page at https://theacmss.org/store/acmss-volume-packages/, or email info@theacmss.org





About Business and Legal Issues related to Certified Medical Scribes Specialists

What are the Scribe Credential Issues Regarding Medical Practices and Institutions?

  • ALL personnel entering electronic information must be certified according to the CEHRT Federal Personnel Measure.
  • A medical provider who uses non-credentialed medical assistants or scribes will be unable to use those personnel in attesting compliance with the Medicare and Medicaid EHR (Electronic Health Records) Incentive Programs.
  • Previously the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs did not specify the documentation requirements.
  • For additional information on electronic medical record documentation, please refer to other CMS requirements such as the Medicare physician fee schedule as well as FAQ 19061 (https://questions.cms.gov/faq.php?id=5005&faqId=19061).

May a provider, on their own, issue credentialing for compliance with the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Payment Program?

  • No – Providers cannot internally certify under the law.
  • The MACRA final rule issued in October 2015 provides that an assistant may be credentialed to perform the duties of a medical assistant only by a third-party credentialing body..
  • The nationally recognized CMSS credential from ACMSS meets that third-party certification requirement.

May medical providers delegate work in the EHR, including order entry, to a person without the required credential?

  • No – If the provider wants to receive incentive payments, the provider must attest to full compliance with the EHR requirements.  The final rule regarding the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Payment Program requires that providers seeking to qualify for EHR incentive payments can delegate entry of EHR only to credentialed persons. Compliance attestations are subject to audit and proof of compliance.

Why should a person holding a CMSS credential be considered more valuable than assistants or scribes who lack the credential?

  • CMSS credential holders are qualified to perform the whole breadth and depth of all medical and EHR-related workflows.

What certification records need to be maintained

  • ACMSS provides each licensed physician with secure account management and access to appropriate documentation compliance. CMS has asked Physicians and Practice Administrators to retain a copy of CMSS Compliance Certificate on file for Attestation, just as they would any other documents in case of compliance audits.

What does CMS request for EHR audit compliance:

  • A copy of your CMS/MLN certificate, or documentation of the contact hours spent in the training
  • CMS Meaningful Use Personnel Audit Compliance Document(s)
  • In meeting EHR compliance with CMS, ACMSS will request copies of those documents if you are selected for verification of the CEUs listed on your renewal form. Any certificate (including Certificate of Completion) for a CMS/MLN training will be accepted. You do not need a CEU certificate.

May providers delegate work in the EHR, including order entry, to a person without the required credential?

  • No – If the provider wants to receive incentive payments, the provider must attest to full compliance with the EHR requirements.  The final rule regarding the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Payment Program requires that providers seeking to qualify for EHR incentive payments cannot to delegate entry of EHR only to credentialed persons.

May a provider on its own issue credentialing for compliance with the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Payment Program?

  • No – The MACRA final rule issued in October 2015 provides that an assistant is credentialed to perform the duties of a medical assistant by a credentialing body other than the employing provider. Providers cannot internally certify under the law, and the CMSS credential from ACMSS meets that third-party certification requirement.





About the American College of Medical Scribe Specialist

Who is ACMSS?

  • ACMSS (The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists) is a 501(c)(6) Non-Profit Organization. Its website address is www.TheACMSS.org.
  • ACMSS is a recognized CMS Stakeholder that provides national accreditation services using criteria established by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for MACRA Measures, Objectives and Reporting Criteria. ACMSS has represented the medical scribe industry through certification, advocacy and employment.
  • ACMSS certifies medical scribes who meet its education, professional standing, and examination standards.
  • We are an accrediting and certification organization that offers both academic-to-certification and employment-to-certification programs.

What Professional Credential does ACMSS provide?

  • ACMSS offers the “Certified Medical Scribe Specialist” (CMSS) credential.
  • A person holding the CMSS credential is certified to have the required education and training required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to serve as a “credentialed medical assistant” to meet requirements for electronic health record incentive payments under federal law.

What other services does ACMSS offer?

  • Implementation and Compliance Consulting
  • Credential Training for MSCAT and Assessment (exam)
  • Administration of MSCAT National Credential Assessment (exam)
  • Provider of CMS National Credentials
  • Provider of required Continuing Medical Education (CME)
  • ACMSS enables certification via the Medical Scribe Certification & Aptitude Test (MSCAT). Scribes will certify as eligible, CMSS or CMSA, based upon an eligibility affidavit presented.

What you should know about the Pricing

  • Each MSCAT-PAC (including Training, Assessment and Certification) is sold individually for $285.00 US.
  • The first-year program through ACMSS includes all materials. Subsequent years require recertification compliance, enabled through the $85/individual professional licensure and certification cost, along with completing 3 accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) hours annually.
  • This package includes:
    • Current CMS/HIPAA/HITECH, QPP training information
    • MSCAT Assessment (allowing for 3 attempts) and
    • Certification/Credentials for the 1st Year
    • Volume Discount programs are available

What you should know about Special Programs

  • ACMSS offers special programs that may be of interest to you.
  • These programs include:
    1. Volume Discount Pricing,
    2. Initial Healthcare Training,
    3. Curriculum for in-house education
    4. Assistance in becoming an accredited training provider
  • If you would like information about our Special Programs, please email Certifications@TheACMSS.org or phone 800.987.3692 x 104
  • Certification compliance is the responsibility of either the physician, healthcare or corporate administrators, or the individual managing audit and compliance processes.
  • ACMSS assists them in meeting federal regulatory EHR requirements.
  • Each individual and/or practice administrator or physician receives a 12-month issuance of CMS Compliance Certificate with valid Meaningful Use attestation personnel number.
  • For all certification types, when submitting a CMS completed training to ACMSS as part of your recertification, CMS has requested the following:
    • A copy of your CMS/MLN certificate, or
    • Documentation of the contact hours spent in the training
    • CMS Meaningful Use Personnel Audit Compliance CMSS Certification Licensure Document(s)
    • Re-certification CMSS Certification Licensure Document(s)