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    Andrew Hajde
    Andrew Hajde, CMPE

    The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat poll asked healthcare leaders, “Are you considering a professional development certificate/certification in 2021?”

    • 43% said yes.
    • 57% said no.

    The poll was conducted March 23, 2021, with 896 applicable responses.

    Are pandemic-related spending freezes thawing?

    The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the plans for virtually every healthcare business in the United States, and the effects rippled into the professional lives of clinical team members and administrators:

    • A May 19, 2020, MGMA Stat poll found that 82% of healthcare leaders reported that some or all of their providers’ compensation was impacted by COVID-19, with cuts to funding for continuing medical education (CME) one of the common ways to adjust spending.
    • A June 26, 2020, MGMA Stat poll revealed than 61% of healthcare leaders saw their compensation drop amid COVID-19, with 71% of them in senior management or the C-level of their organizations.

    Other MGMA surveys throughout the past year have shown that travel bans and formal expense reductions/freezes were some of the ways practices sought to survive the economic strain of lower visit and procedure volumes in 2020.

    Before all that upheaval, a January 21, 2020, MGMA Stat poll found that 42% of healthcare leaders were considering a professional development certification in 2020. Both polls help make it clear: The healthcare industry has leaders who are invested in continuing to learn and expand their skills to lead through new challenges.

    • Did you know? MGMA offers ACMPE Certificate opportunities through its certifying body, the American College of Medical Executives (ACMPE), including a Certificate Program in Financial Management. Learn more.

    The value of board certification

    Many healthcare leaders ponder how they can truly broaden their knowledge, gain an edge on others and show their expertise in healthcare administration. Many in the field assume that the combination of an advanced degree and on-the-job experience is sufficient for becoming a successful administrator. 

    For every healthcare leader, there are many variables that play a distinct role in the knowledge they develop, including their practice’s specialty, number of providers and locations, type of contracts they worked with, and whether their practice is private or part of an integrated health system. This also does not take into consideration the deep knowledge they need in human resources, payroll, taxation, risk and compliance, billing, credentialing, and enrollment. 

    The truth is that very few healthcare leaders have expertise in all these areas. If you worked for a large healthcare organization, there are likely others who specialize in a certain department, such as human resources. Although you may understand what they do, you haven’t had to carry out their job duties. W2s, I-9s and many other forms were completed by others. Whereas in a private practice there may be limited resources on policies and procedures, risk and compliance, legal advice, financial management or many other areas. 

    Leaders can run into the challenge of not knowing what they do not know. Knowledge is critical to becoming a top-performing, efficient and compliant organization. This is where a comprehensive body of knowledge comes in, which is a crucial aspect of why an administrator should pursue board certification. 

    The Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE) board certification through the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE) requires practice leaders to recognize and shrink the gaps in their knowledge while excelling and mastering other areas where they are already strong. The Body of Knowledge for Medical Practice Management teaches you what all top-performing managers should know, providing the foundation for the CMPE credential exam, built by industry-leading experts. Successful completion of CMPE certification requirements proves to others that you have what it takes to be a high-performing medical practice executive.

    Having worked in healthcare administration and leadership for most of my career, I had the opportunity to achieve the CMPE credential firsthand. I pursued this primarily due to my ongoing goals to always strive to learn new things and to better myself, as well as my desire to evaluate and create an additional level of legitimacy to my expertise. After passing the board certification tests, I quickly realized that the process helped me close any gaps in my knowledge and that it would help new and seasoned leaders thrive in their current and any future healthcare setting.

    MGMA’s data also demonstrates the great value of pursuing a CMPE credential well beyond the knowledge growth and educational aspects alone. Executive management positions with ACMPE or FACMPE certification report greater compensation figures than those who are not certified. Those with ACMPE certification earn $5,000 more in total annual compensation than their noncertified counterparts, and ACMPE Fellows report earning more than $30,000 compared to noncertified executive managers.

    Healthcare demands continuous improvement, lifelong learning and the ability to adapt to constant change, which is just as true for physicians and other clinicians as it is for administrative leadership. Now is a great time for all healthcare executives to demonstrate and prove their expertise by becoming board certified.

    Do you have any best practices or success stories to share on this topic? Please let us know by emailing us at


    Our ability at MGMA to provide great resources, education and advocacy depends on a strong feedback loop with healthcare leaders. To be part of this effort, sign up for MGMA Stat and make your voice heard in our weekly polls. Sign up by texting “STAT” to 33550 or visit Polls will be sent to your phone via text message.

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    Andrew Hajde

    Written By

    Andrew Hajde, CMPE

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