What is a Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist?

A Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist (CRCS) is a health care finance professional who obtained exclusive credentials through the American Association of Health Care Administrative Management (AAHAM).

AAHAM Certifications

The AAHAM is a national organization that provides certification exams, membership services and networking opportunities for health care administrative professions. They offer a variety of certifications for health care revenue cycle specialists. For example, they offer a Certified Compliance Technician (CCT) certification for auditors and a Certified Revenue Integrity Professional (CRIP) for billing professionals. However, their Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist (CRCS) certification is the basic exam for entry-level health care revenue cycle professionals. The next level beyond this is the Certified Revenue Cycle Professional (CRCP), which is designed for supervisors.

The CRCS Exam Overview

The CRCS exam is meant for any health care staff who are involved with the revenue cycle. This includes people who work in patient access, accounts, billing and finance. It also includes cash, denial and customer service management. The exam concentrates on the skills and knowledge needed to work at a health care front desk or in a billing or collections office. The two hour online exam rigorously tests the candidates on their knowledge of revenue cycle regulations, acronyms and management principles. Candidates are encouraged to have at least one year of employment in health care patient accounts before taking the exam.

The CRCS Exam Content

The exam comes in two forms: one for professional settings, such as a clinic, and another for institutional settings, such as large hospitals. Both exams contain questions about billing, credit and collections. Candidates must know about Medicare Code Editors (MCEs), which are software programs that automatically review patient claims to detect incorrect billing information. Additionally, they must be familiar with Medicare billing for inpatient services, such as the 1- and 3-day rules. On the other hand, they must be familiar with the Consumer Credit Protection Act, which includes the applicable provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. However, the professional exam will cover front desk services and the institutional exam will cover patient access. For example, they must know how to calculate the average daily census (ADC), which refers to the average number of patients maintained in the hospital every day over a specific time period. Front desk questions will cover customer service procedures.

What are the Benefits of Passing the CRCS Exam?

Passing the CRCS exam is an excellent way for health care revenue cycle professionals to confirm their competency and commitment to superior revenue cycle management. CRCS credentialed health care professionals will enjoy improved earning potential through access to lucrative internal promotions and career advancement opportunities in other organizations. Membership with the AAHAM will provide unique networking opportunities that will pave the way for potential employment opportunities. Thus, the CRCS holder will gain a competitive advantage against other employees. This is especially important because the health care industry is highly competitive because it is saturated with skilled professionals. The CRCS holder will gradually gain a reputation for competency and professionalism through continued expansion of their skills and knowledge.

A CRCS is a health care professional who specializes in revenue cycle management. Gaining the coveted Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist credential will result in personal rewards and career opportunities.