Lackawanna Certified Academic PartnerLackawanna College


ACMSS Certified Academic Partner Lackawanna College Offers Innovative Scribe Program

The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists (ACMSS) is proud to be working with its latest Certified Academic Partner—Lackawanna College of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Lackawanna College’s medical scribe curriculum has been approved by the ACMSS board.

“Our Certified Academic Partnership is evolving in order to simplify the process for academic institutions to get their scribes certified, and provide greater value for their students,” says Kristin Hagen, Executive Director of ACMSS.

Lackawanna College is a private, open enrollment college in Scranton, Pa., with satellite centers throughout northeastern Pennsylvania. Lackawanna College has traditionally offered associate degree programs and conducted intensive continuing education programs. The college recently expanded its offerings to the bachelor’s degree level, and is also expanding its professional courses. Lackawanna County has a population of about 200,000 and the workforce there is skewed heavily to the “silver tsunami” of over-55 workers. The area has three hospitals and a medical college, making it a healthcare hub of sorts.

“In continuing education we are always looking to expand into high-priority occupations, such as the medical scribe,” said Quinn. “The medical scribe suggestion came to us from the Wright Center, a local health center that uses a lot of medical scribes. They said, ‘We know there is a need and that you are a great college, so let’s see if we can partner and create a medical scribe program.'”

Lackawanna is partnering with ACMSS and is guided by the latest Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) standards for Certified Medical Scribe Specialists (CMSS). CAAHEP is the premiere “gold” standard for leading academic allied health education professions through third-party programmatic accreditation. ACMSS offers the Certified Academic Partnership to those institutions whose medical scribe curriculum content conforms to standards approved by the board of ACMSS. Through this CAAHEP-accredited pathway, prospective students can be trained, based on the accredited institution’s standards implementation, through a range of potential onsite or remote offerings, from certificate programs to hybrid degree innovations.

Lackawanna College is planning to offer the new program in January 2017 and will start its CAAHEP accreditation in March, according to Lackawanna College Director of Continuing Education Carolyn Quinn.

“We are the only medical scribe program in the local area,” said Quinn. There is another program about 50 miles from here that has taken a bunch of their credit courses and combined them together, and are calling it a medical scribe certificate program. Ours, however, is aligned with ACMSS and the CAAHEP standards. We are also unique in that we are in complete partnership with a medical facility, so we will have the benefit of having physicians and resident physicians teaching our courses. We also have a Certified Medical Scribe Specialist who is the program director and who will also be teaching courses.”

Initially, the program will be offered twice a year, in spring and fall, and will consist of 470 hours over 22 weeks. Students will be involved in the program for 20 to 25 hours per week, which includes clinical hours interspersed through the program. Clinical hours will be spread over six clinics and several medical specialties.

Most of the courses in the program are done onsite, but some parts of the courses will be available to be completed online through what Quinn calls a “hybrid model” for certain subjects. For example, not all of the Medical Terminology course necessarily has to be conducted in a face-to-face classroom experience, so portions of it will available for completion online.

Lackawanna College has chosen to present a Certified Medical Scribe Apprentice (CSMA) model course that provides a 100-hour clinical externship as part of the training for students. From there, the Wright Center has agreed to take the scribe students on for their 200 hours of documented clinical practice so they would be able to sit for the ACMSS Medical Scribe Certification & Aptitude Test (MSCAT). Quinn said the Lackawanna program and curriculum are designed with emphasis on wellness and prevention, as well as a professional and ethical direction.

“We have made sure that our program is not only unique to the area but is also high-quality,” Quinn said. “Because our program is so well-rounded, it is going to result in a well-rounded student who can go with their strengths.”

The externship will be a medical assistant model, according to Quinn, focusing on providing a variety of physician-assisting scribing. The Wright Center’s President and CEO, Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, leads in the spirit of ACMSS’ support of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) orientation toward patient-safe, patient-centric care, providing valuable experience there for scribe apprentices.

“Dr. Thomas has said to us that five years ago 10 percent of hospitals used medical scribes or even focused on electronic health records, and today about 70 percent do,” said Quinn. “Scribes are becoming an integral part of offering quality, safety and affordability, but also in going back to that patient-centered focus. Dr. Thomas is so intent on offering a MACRA-centered, quality-centered physician/patient model that everything we do together is always going to come back to ethics, integrity and quality. Our students are going to learn from a physician the right way to do things and the right way to model.”

ACMSS offers academic institutions opportunities to streamline the process for getting their medical scribes certified to meet national requirements toward meaningful use of computerized provider order entry (CPOE), and provides these institutions with opportunities to create new programs to attract more students. Scribe students can be rigorously educated with both clinical and non-clinical education and training, according to the CMSS credential “crosswalk” from ACMSS that expands the scope and value of certified scribes throughout the healthcare enterprise.

Many certified scribes today working under the CMSS credential and the physician’s license are doing much more that simply documenting care. Additional duties can include directing patients, looking up lab reports, setting up laceration or burn procedure trays for a provider and much more. CMSS scribes are able to become more valuable members of the healthcare team and provide many services once provided by medical assistants and other healthcare providers in the past.

“At Lackawana College we are always committed to offering training that leads to well-paying jobs but, more importantly, lead to jobs that actually have a meaningful purpose,” said Quinn. “In all the research I’ve done, and with ACMSS’ help as well, I truly believe that Certified Medical Scribe Specialists are going to offer high quality to patients and allow physicians to be much more accessible.”

The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists is the nation’s only nonprofit professional society representing more than 18,000 Medical Scribes in over 1,800 medical institutions. ACMSS partners with academic institutions, non-profit partners, and medical scribe corporations to offer both education-to-certification and employment-to-certification pathways. ACMSS advances the needs of the medical scribe industry through certification, public advocacy, secure innovative systems design, individualized and customized consulting, tailored webinars, and continuing scribe education for improved care coordination and patient-centric care toward wellness. ACMSS is available for public speaking engagements serving healthcare.

The ACMSS certification program meets current and proposed Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services certification requirements toward use of electronic health records. ACMSS works independently in compliance with CMS to meet national goals and initiatives of the Medicare Access and HIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and it Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Certified medical scribes also meet the qualified personnel measure in Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT).

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) acknowledges appropriately credentialed Certified Medical Scribe Specialists in any specialty discipline meeting its standards and regulations. If not the licensed clinicians themselves, personnel must attest for Meaningful Use (now under MACRA’s Advancing Care Information category) and be certified. Certification is available through the CMS-approved Certified Medical Scribe Specialist credential, successfully attesting for Meaningful Use, into MACRA, beginning January 1, 2017. ACMSS offers several pathways for this certification.

All personnel certifying with ACMSS need to purchase a minimum Standardized Volume Scribe Certification Package, preparing both the individual and the practice for real-time resource and assistance, ongoing and into the future.  Bundles include:  initial 1st-year membership, Annual Membership, MSCAT Training/Resource Manual, HIPAA for Scribes Training/Operational video/certificate, and Medical Scribe Certification & Aptitude Test (MSCAT) Certification, and CMS Compliance certificate.  Upon successful pass, each certified scribe is given a certificate and eligible credential, in which Practice Administrators/Clinicians retain for Meaningful Use attestations and customize and innovate clinical workflow.

For the complete story on “Standardizing Physician-CMSS Teams to Wellness,” click here (https://theacmss.org/physician-cmss-to-wellness/).

ACMSS advances the needs of the medical scribe industry through certification, public advocacy, secure innovative systems design, individualized and customized consulting, tailored webinars, and continuing scribe education for improved care coordination and patient-centric care toward wellness.

“Certified Medical Scribe Specialists not only help providers meet requirements for meaningful use of clinical documentation, but they also give clinicians more time with their patients and meeting their individual patient care needs, working to assist patients in prevention, wellness and disease reversal,” Hagen said. “Academic Institutions can benefit from this extended scope by expanding and innovating in their educational programs offered to potential scribes.”

Please contact ACMSS directly at info@theacmss.org or 657-888-2158 if you have any questions regarding the ACMSS program and/or materials.

About ACMSS

The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists (ACMSS) is the nation’s only nonprofit professional society representing more than 18,000 Medical Scribes in over 1,800 medical institutions. ACMSS partners with academic institutions, non-profit partners, and medical scribe corporations to offer both education-to-certification and employment-to-certification pathways. ACMSS advances the needs of the medical scribe industry through certification, public advocacy, secure innovative systems design, individualized and customized consulting, and continuing education for improved care coordination and patient-centric care toward wellness.  ACMSS is available for public speaking engagements serving healthcare.

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