Thursday, November 29, 2018

Six Professional Associations for Health Programs Students

As a compliment to their coursework at Peirce and their field of study, our Health Programs students are encouraged to join a professional association. This past fall, Health Programs faculty identified six professional associations that directly align with Peirce’s Health Programs while determining the benefits they offer to students. As part of the monthly Health Programs blog series, in this post, I will discuss each association and highlight the benefits.

American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)

AAPC is “the world’s largest training and credentialing organization for the business of healthcare, with more than 175,000 members worldwide who work in medical coding, medical billing, clinical documentation improvement, medical auditing, healthcare compliance, revenue cycle management, and practice management.”

While the benefits of AAPC membership may serve all Health Programs students, faculty believe students enrolled in Peirce’s Certificate of Proficiency in Medical Coding (CMC) will benefit most from AAPC membership through networking opportunities, access to resources, education and job postings. AAPC administers certification exams for Medical Coding, Medical Billing, Auditing, Medical Documentation, Compliance and Practice Management.

American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)

The American College of Healthcare Executives is “an international professional society of 48,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations. ACHE's mission is to advance its members and healthcare management excellence.”

Faculty strongly encourage membership for students enrolled in Peirce’s Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration (HCA) program. ACHE offers credentialing in FACHE® while offering financial assistance through generous scholarships to Student Associates. Interested students should explore ACHE’s resources for Students and Early Careerists and the Competency Assessment Tool.

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

The American Health Information Management Association was “founded in 1928 and served to improve health record quality by taking a leadership role in the effective management of health data and medical records and delivering quality healthcare to the public.” Today, “AHIMA is the premier association of health information management (HIM) professionals worldwide. Serving 52 affiliated component state associations and more than 103,000 health information professionals, it is recognized as the leading source of HIM knowledge, a respected authority for rigorous professional education and training.”

AHIMA membership is recommended for all Health Programs students and especially those enrolled in Peirce’s HIM track which includes the Certificate of Proficiency in Medical Coding (CMC), Associate in Science in Health Information Technology (HIT) and Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration (HIA).

AHIMA offers specialty credentials in coding as well as the RHIT and RHIA credential for which graduates of the HIT and HIA programs are eligible, respectively. Students should check out their Student and Career Center online for valuable resources such as the Career Map and Salary Snapshot.

Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)

HFMA is “a membership organization that brings together executives and financial managers from provider organizations, physician practices and health plan markets to collaborate and address the many financial challenges the US healthcare system faces today. An indispensable source for networking, practical tools and industry news and perspectives, HFMA creates and delivers education, analyses, and tactical guidance to its members through a variety of programs and channels.”

Student membership of HFMA may be most beneficial to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration (HIA) and Healthcare Administration (HCA) programs. Student e-Membership is FREE and available for students currently enrolled full-time in an accredited undergraduate or graduate program and are not presently employed in the healthcare finance profession or one of its specialties.

Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

HIMSS is “a global advisor and thought leader supporting the transformation of health through the application of information and technology. As a mission driven non-profit, HIMSS provides thought leadership, community building, public policy, professional/workforce development and engaging events to bring forward the voice of our members. HIMSS encompasses more than 70,000 global individual members, 630 corporate members, and over 450 non-profit organizations. Thousands of volunteers work through HIMSS to leverage the innovation of digital health to improve both the health of individuals and populations, as well as the quality, cost-effectiveness and access of healthcare.”

HIMSS offers two certifications; CAHIMS which is an entry-level certification and CPHIMS.

Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)

As their name implies, MGMA is a professional membership for medical group management. They “empower practices, providers and patients to create meaningful change in healthcare.”

Members can access Resources and their Career Pathways page to learn more and to get started. MGMA administers the Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE) credential; the industry standard to reflect competency and knowledge in medical practice management.

To learn more about these associations and their benefits, please contact me, Dr. Stephanie Donovan, at 215.670.9327 or

Check back in next month to see what the Health Programs division has to share next!