A question on MSA training

Medicare Set-Aside Blog on August 30, 2010
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This question recently came in and I thought a wider audience might benefit from the answer:

Question: I recently was hired by an MSA company and was let go after two short months of employment. They loved my legal nurse reviews but felt I did not have good enough MSA skills and insight in preparing MSAs and medical costs projection reports. I took the MSA course through Kelynco and did not feel prepared at all when it came to preparing MSA reports. I passed the certification but lacked the necessary tools to succeed. My question is where can I receive the tools I need to be successful at preparing MSAs? I am out of a job and down on my luck. Any suggestions?

Answer: In my opinion, the ONLY way to become proficient at preparing MSAs is to review many different types of cases under the supervision of someone more qualified and experienced. I believe it takes close to a year of experience before an MSA writer can become reasonably proficient. It takes three or more years to really become and expert. And once you are an “expert” you should be prepared to unlearn certain things as the industry continues to evolve (or devolve as the case may be).

One of the biggest challenges facing the MSA industry is hiring, training and retaining people that have the aptitude for the work. The MSCC program will leave just about anyone ill prepared to succeed as an MSA writer. I think that designation is good for someone who has a job dealing with MSAs but does not actually have to prepare them (e.g. a claims supervisior or MSA coordinator). It’s a nice overview but in no way will you be able to meet the challenges of operating in this field just by taking the course.

Unfortunately, in the interest of quick profits and claim volume growth, most of the industry will take someone that has a medical background and an MSCC and begin letting them release cases to clients with very little oversight or quality control. That is a disservice to you and a disservice to the clients. But ultimately, even with the right training and supervision some people are just better than others at MSA work. It is a special blend of technical skill, attention to detail and professional judgment that not everyone will possess.

If you decide to stick with MSAs, find a company that has good training and QA oversight. You will find it is a little bit of a chicken or the egg situation. Without some technical skills you will not be able to get the job but without the job there is really nowhere to turn to develop the skills. Just read as much as you can that is in the public domain and keep looking for work. Good luck to you.