New “Professional” designation

Medicare Set-Aside Blog on June 28, 2010
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Those of you that are regular readers of this blog know how much I dislike form over substance. So you can imagine how unimpressed I am with the new Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance (called the CMSP) designation being offered by The Association of Medicare Set-Aside Professionals. See brochure here.

For only $1,000, 16 hours of your time, and the passing of an exam and practicum, you too can be “certified” to advise clients on MSP issues. No need to have any prior employment, educational background or industry experience. A willingness to travel to New Orleans in the dead of summer and $1,000 is all it takes.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for people improving their professional knowledge and learning about all phases of the MSP before hanging their shingle. It takes AT LEAST six months to a year of training for people within our organization to be up to speed on the issues (and they start with a minimum of a BSN or JD and usually have both). It probably takes another full year to really be able to credibly advise clients.

You know the saying; the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, so 16 hours of education is better than nothing. But the idea that this organization possesses any authority to credential someone is just ridiculous.  It takes more than a website (which this organization does not currently have) and an 800 number. Furthermore, the “instructors” look more like industry participants looking to develop a new source of referrals for their structured settlement or post settlement custodial business than true MSP experts.

Hopefully, very few will spend $1,000 on this credential with the misguided hope of breaking into the MSP industry. An MSCC would be a better choice given there is a more robust curriculum, faculty and certification process. More importantly, the MSCC door is not open to all comers unless you have some demonstrable medical, legal or claims experience. See MSCC requirements here .

If you are a client (or MSP provider) looking to hire someone for your MSP compliance program consider people with a combination of the following academic experience.

Bachelor of Science Degree with Science major – 5,400 classroom hours plus

MD-4,500 hours classroom +4,000 hours OJT + Board Certification

PharmD – 4,000 hours classroom + 1,350 OJT + NAPLEX and/or MPJE exam

PA-C – 2,250 hours + NCCPA exam.

BSN/RN – 1,500 hours + NCLEX exam (add another 1,500 hours for Nurse Practitioner)

Bachelor of Arts or Science – 5,400 classroom hours plus

JD – 3,375 hours + 2-3 day Bar Exam

And while academic credentials are a nice pre-requisite, they should also have 5-10 years of experience in the insurance industry.

Offering a 16 hour certification without any industry experts, pre-requisites, experience requirement or support from the major industry players really make you wonder what value there is in obtaining such a certification. Keeping it as an MSP 101 seminar or CLE course would be more appropriate. They actually offer it both ways so spend the $700 if you are inclined to add to your base of MSP knowledge.

The guy that cuts my hair in Maryland has to have at least 1,200 hours of classroom training as well as another 2,500 hours OJT. The person handling the MSA or other MSP issues on a workers’ compensation or liability insurance claim should at least be held to an equal or greater standard.