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Read JCAHPO’s press release for more information about the new Ophthalmic Scribe Certification.


American Council on Education College Credits

The ACE College Credit recommendation service is applicable for certifications received between 12/1/2014 and 11/30/2017*. The College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®) evaluated and recommended college credit as follows:

  • COA - 12 semester hours in the lower-division baccalaureate/associate degree category
  • COT - 18 semester hours in the lower-division baccalaureate/associate degree category
  • COMT - 12 semester hours in the upper-division baccalaureate degree category

*The American Council on Education previously approved college credit recommendation for certifications received from 1/1/1997 through 1/31/2008. If you received your COA, COT, or COMT certification during that time period, you may submit a request for a transcript to the American Council on Education.

CMS Agrees that JCAHPO Certificants - COA, COT, COMT- Can Enter CPOE Orders for Meaningful Use 2

JCAHPO is aware that there have been some questions recently in some parts of the ophthalmic community regarding which staff members are allowed to enter medication or laboratory orders under the CMS EHR Incentive Program for Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) meaningful use. After considering all of the relevant regulations and CMS guidance, we believe that orders entered by credentialed ophthalmic assistants are included in the meaningful use criterion calculation as long as the applicable requirements are met. Significantly, recent CMS guidance confirms our interpretation of the requirements.

CMS guidance on the CPOE meaningful use criterion, including the Final Rule on EHR Incentive Programs - Stage 2 and an August 20, 2013 FAQ, permits inclusion of orders entered by staff members who perform similar functions to medical assistants but who have more specific titles due to their specialization, like ophthalmic assistants. These staff members must be appropriately credentialed by an organization other than the employing organization, such as JCAHPO. Further, each eligible provider participating in the EHR Incentive Program must determine that each included staff member is appropriately credentialed, performs similar assistive services as a medical assistant, and is in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local law and professional guidelines.

On May 13, 2014, Elisabeth Myers, the Policy and Outreach Lead at the CMS Office of eHealth Standards and Services, responded to questions about the EHR program. Specifically, Myers responded to a question regarding the certifications offered by JCAHPO:
QUESTION: Do the designations of Certified Ophthalmic Technologist, Certified Ophthalmic Assistant and Certified Ophthalmic Technician count as certified medical assistants able to enter orders into the EHR?
ANSWER: Yes they count if they are they [sic] equivalent of a CMA. We don't specify every single variation on Medical Assistant because if we made a list and left someone out it would cause a problem. Instead we specify that: 1) The job title doesn't have to be "Medical Assistant" and 2) They don't have to be certified by AAMA we just use the AAMA definition of what 'certified' means which is certified by an accredited credentialing body outside the organization employing the MA.

JCAHPO is an Accredited Credentialing body. For more than 30 years, JCAHPO's three core certifications have been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. Certified Ophthalmic Assistants (COA), Certified Ophthalmic Technicians (COT), and Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologists (COMT) have received credentials appropriate under the EHR Incentive Program requirements as confirmed by this response from CMS to JCAHPO and other organizations' questions. It is the duty of each individual provider, however, to determine whether his or her staff members are appropriately credentialed under the regulations. Before orders entered by a particular staff member are included in the Incentive Program calculation, a provider should first document that the staff member meets the required criteria.

JCAHPO's Commission and leadership congratulate all JCAHPO certificants for your accomplishments and commitment to excellence that is recognized by CMS. We hope that this information is helpful to you in determining your practice's compliance with these requirements.

Introducing "A Primer on Ophthalmic Medical Assisting: Education, Training, Certification, and Accreditation." This long-awaited publication is a critical brochure that is of great need and interest in the ophthalmic profession.

The publication was funded by a generous gift to JCAHPO's Foundation from Dr. and Mrs. Melvin I. Freeman. Dr. Freeman, a JCAHPO Past President and current JCAHPO Foundation Chair, has been a solid supporter of training programs with his active leadership in helping to start the Renton, Washington, Ophthalmic Assistant training program at Renton Technical College. Dr. and Mrs. Freeman are committed to the education, training and certification of ophthalmic medical personnel and worked with JCAHPO to bring this important information in a concise, easy to use brochure for the ophthalmology profession and academic community - Medical and Program Directors.

The Primer will be used to help organizations worldwide in starting an ophthalmic assisting training program, understanding the role and differences of certification, licensure and accreditation, and to provide a quick tool for reviewing curriculum and certification examination content.

Lynn Anderson, PhD, CEO of JCAHPO says "This Primer can be used as a 'workbook' for starting a training program with its checklist feature used as a 'resource tool'. It also acts as a swift resource for links to other important organizations in the USA and Canada."

Click here to access the publication.

Extremely popular web-based seminars (webinars) are offered each month as a quick and convenient way to earn your JCAHPO CE credits. These live courses and lectures offered online start at only $18 for 1 JCAHPO Group A Credit. Register for the next Webinar, and experience the new paradigm in online learning!

Phone: (651) 731-2944 / (800) 284-3937    FAX: (651) 731-0410    International: 00 1 651.731.2944

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