The value of the ACMPE program: Strengthening your organization through board certification

Insight Article - January 10, 2020

Professional Development

Performance Management

Leadership Development

MGMA Staff Members
As the only board certification of its kind, the CMPE credential is recognized as the professional standard in medical practice management. In this ongoing series, we share the stories of healthcare professionals who found personal and organizational value in achieving ACMPE board certification.

Michael O’Connell, MHA, FACMPE, FACHE, serves as senior vice president of operations with Northern California’s Stanford Health Care. In a healthcare management career that stretches back to the 1980s, O’Connell has been intimately involved with both MGMA and ACMPE board certification and fellowship, serving as a board member and senior advisor.

O’Connell said the Certified Medical Practice Executive certification and ACMPE Fellowship signify an individual’s commitment to the profession and are opportunities to continue to learn and grow in medical practice management.

Unlike fields where someone simply obtains employment, O’Connell said: “This has become, for many individuals, a career, a profession, and for some, a ministry. [ACMPE] is also a personal invitation. In any organization, it’s not just about being a member where you can put that on your resume. It’s about how you are connected to that organization and how you are connected to people. Very rarely do people pursue professional certification without it being a personal invitation. It’s a journey of learning, a journey of discovery, and it ends up being something which becomes very personal for people.”

O’Connell also views ACMPE as an increasingly necessary tool in healthcare management.

“In our profession, all of our physicians are board certified, and we would not consider hiring a physician if they were not board certified,” he said “And while [that is not yet the case] for you to work in a medical practice, that’s what we’re moving toward — and that people recognize this is the gold standard, an important component in your professional development.”

To facilitate more and more of his staff receiving the benefits of credentialing, O’Connell said Stanford Health Care goes out of its way to make it an easier process. 

“In our organization right now, we have more than 30 people who have signed up to achieve board certification,” he said. “We’ve provided study groups and support for those individuals. Each individual is on a different path, so we provide financial support to help them sign up for this, as well as sit for the exams. We celebrate when someone does become board certified — both through our employee communications newsletter, as well as in various forms to acknowledge those individuals. They’ve come to the annual meeting to be connected and to learn so they can understand how this is all connected, plus the importance of them continuing to be involved at both the state and national level.

“For some people, it’s very easy to pursue board certification, and for others it’s hard. So many of us are in the sandwich generation, where we take care of our parents and we take care of our kids, and who takes care of us? The ROI of this credential is very much of an ROI in ourselves. This is an investment in your career. Anecdotally, those individuals that are board certified or have fellowship are in positions with tremendous responsibility, usually senior leadership roles, which ultimately results in someone being paid more. So, it’s really, in my mind, an investment in oneself.”

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