DOL Extends Preferred Healthcare Credential Initiative
The US Department of Labor (DOL) has extended a program to better identify industry-recognized credentials that businesses look for when recruiting, hiring, promoting, and retaining employees. AHIMA credentials are being considered for the list, which will be integrated into DOL’s CareerOneStop certification database.
Currently, only four job sectors are being evaluated in DOL’s “Credentials Forum”—advanced manufacturing, utilities, healthcare practitioners and healthcare support, and information technology. Since AHIMA first called on members to vote on the website in August, several more AHIMA credentials have been added. Members are encouraged to visit the site, even if they previously voted, to support AHIMA credentials since some aspects of the initiative have changed from when it launched in mid-2012.
The Credentials Forum Web site has been established to allow people to vote on the credentials they feel are the most in-demand and valued by today’s employers and employees. Credentials receiving a significant amount of votes will obtain “preferred” DOL status, which would likely strengthen the value of AHIMA certifications in the healthcare marketplace.
According to a DOL spokesperson, “learning about and disseminating information on credentials is part of the department’s mission to help prepare a skilled workforce” by helping workers enhance their expertise and advance their career paths.
To vote at the Credentials Forum Web site, choose “Click Here to Join,” and register with an email address and password. Then select the “Healthcare Practitioner” tab near the top of the page. From the Healthcare Practitioner list that appears, choose “Medical Records and Health Information Technicians” to see a list of credentials and sponsoring organizations. Click on a credential to read more about it, and choose “We Value This Credential” to vote for a credential.
Participants, including businesses, can cast votes for all listed credentials. AHIMA’s credentials include:
- Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
- Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
- Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P)
- Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
- Registered Heath Information Administrator (RHIA)
- Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA)
- Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner (CDIP)
- Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS) (This credential can be found by entering “Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security” in the search field.)
AHIMA has encouraged members to vote for AHIMA credentials. Public input and participation in the forum is expected to enhance the already robust CareerOneStop certification database, and provide jobseekers with detailed information about skills, education, and industry certification needs. Participants will also be able to provide blog feedback to DOL about why AHIMA’s professional certifications are valued in the health information management industry.
The Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is responsible for implementing the Workforce Investment Act, which provides employment services and training through American Job Centers and various online tools for job seekers and businesses. According to the DOL, “the ETA has made it a priority to promote and provide information on available credentials, including information on (the) quality and value of these credentials.”
One of these online tools, the Certification Finder Web site, allows users to search for specific credentials and more detailed information about training, credentialing programs, certificates, degrees, and occupational licenses. Personnel certifications, which are accredited by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA), are also designated with icons following each credential that indicate quality and value. For example, each of AHIMA’s credentials is followed by an “N” icon, indicating each is accredited by the NCCA.
These ETA programs and Web sites offer jobseekers in-depth information about educational programs at various institutions which, in turn, allows them to make informed career choices by considering what businesses regard as “preferred” credentials based on the final voting results and DOL analysis. By identifying specific business needs for skilled workers, the ETA can help job applicants identify credentials that may help them succeed.