CHES/MCHES & CPHs -Is it time you made more progress with your hard-earned certifications

Over the past 30 years, the role of CHES® and MCHES® has evolved alongside the ever-changing health care needs of vulnerable patient populations. In addition to facilitating healthy behaviors through effective program planning, implementation, and evaluation, today’s CHES® and MCHES® are taking on larger roles as health and wellness coaches, providers of reimbursable preventive care programs such as Annual Wellness Visits, and as care coordinators in a variety of settings. 

There are several reasons for these changes: 

  1. Healthcare is evolving into a value-based care (value of services) payment mode and focuses on the fee for service (based on volume) payment model. 
  2. Increased focus on patient-centered care, which encourages and motivates patients to actively participate in their own care. 
  3. Healthcare professionals involved in interdisciplinary teams are also obligated to use effective communication skills to provide optimal patient care, and address patient needs effectively. 
  4. Emphasis on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) providing high-quality care coordination to vulnerable populations. There are reimbursement opportunities for ACOs tied to the provision of programs that are of high-quality, safe, efficient, and demonstrate positive health outcomes for patient populations. 
  5. Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) are becoming increasingly popular because of the coordinated efforts of primary care physicians and providers to ensure patients receive the necessary care (when and where they need it), in a manner they can understand across the continuum of care in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. For additional information on PCMH please check out our infographic and eBook on the role of CHES®/MCHES® in PCMHs. 
  6. Medicare has expanded its reimbursable preventive care programs to include Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs), Chronic Care Management (CCM), and Transitional Care Management (TCM). Medicare recognizes CHES® as providers of AWVs under the supervision of physician providers. CHES® performing AWVs allows providers to focus on complex medical problems, add to improving practice-based efficiency, improve healthy behavior adherence through specialized training, and generate greater revenues. 
  7. Integration of wellness and health coaches within practices where reimbursement hinges on providing high-quality care. 
  8. Health and wellness coaching is becoming a central component in the care of patients, particularly, those in the ambulatory care settings where patients are predominantly affected by chronic and lifestyle diseases. Coaching is time-consuming and requires health behavior training, which makes CHES® and MCHES® suitable to fill guiding roles towards producing lasting healthy behavior change. Practices can also generate revenues through the provision of health and wellness coaching. 

CHES ® and MCHES® have also seen additional healthcare opportunities such as becoming certified as an Asthma Educator Certification (AE-C®) from the National Asthma Educator Certification Board (NAECB), and since 2014 MCHES® designees are recognized by NCBDE as eligible for the Certification Examination for Diabetes Educators. Please check out our eBook on the role of health education in diabetes management and care.

Possible novel roles on the horizon 

Below I’ve listed some potential evolving roles that CHES® and MCHES® could fulfill in the future and are worth noting. 

  • Genetic testing counselors 
  • Preventive care and lifestyle consultants 
  • Population health and care coordination directors (with emphasis on medical billing) 
  • Competency-based training and evaluators of community health workers (CHWs) programs 
  • Opioid abuse risk reduction educators 
  • Social Media Branding 
  • Digital health

The above roles will be covered in future blogs, including what skill sets should be updated, sharpened, or added for CHES® and MCHES® to be prepared. Also, be on the lookout for I.C.O.N’s exciting and innovative eLearning continuing education programs for CHES®, MCHES®, and CPHs® (webinars, podcasts, and peer-review journal articles) covering similar skill-building topics! 

The Only Constant is Change Whether we like it or not, health care is always changing, and there is always the demand to add new skills to meet those demands. CHES® and MCHES® are poised to meet those needs and also explore career-advancing opportunities. This will require being receptive to new trends and being prepared to move beyond our individual silos and to leap towards taking advantage of exciting new roles!

Dr. O’Neal Malcolm

Pharm.D., DrPH, PAHM, BCPS, BCGP, CHES CEO/Founder ICON Health Consultancy, LLC

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