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Kerrie West, CHAA, CHAM, AA, BBA

Manager, Patient Access Services
Winter Haven Hospital & Winter Haven Women's Hospital 
Winter Haven, Florida
CHAA since 2013

What drew you to the NAHAM Certification program?
I have had a passion for Patient Access since before I entered the field 11 years ago. I was searching for something that would enhance my chosen profession and sought my CHAM certification in 2012. Registration is not just a starting place anymore, it’s a career path. NAHAM’s Certification is relevant to my field of choice and I wanted to seek certification that meant something to my career path.

What is the most rewarding aspect of having the CHAA?
The CHAA certification not only allows me to demonstrate that I have earned the knowledge in Patient Access but it has given me additional tools to expand my personal tool belt as well. In addition to that, my Certification is great ‘conversation piece’. When asked what the CHAA/CHAM behind my signature is for, it gives me the perfect
opportunity to highlight NAHAM and all it has to offer. I have a great network of people I can reach out to if I need assistance or advice on a Patient Access related topic thanks to my certification.

Would you recommend the NAHAM credentialing program to others?
Definitely! Patient Access used to be viewed as a ‘starting place’ now it’s viewed more as a career. It seems there are so many more opportunities for growth than when I first entered the field. The fact that NAHAM is now an accredited organization just adds to the fact that Patient Access is a career. A year after obtaining my CHAA, I encouraged my ER Supervisor to go for her CHAA and my OP Supervisor to try for her CHAM. As I encouraged them, I decided it would be great to obtain my CHAA as well. I am at a new facility now and have started encouraging this team to seek the CHAA Certification.

What were your reasons for seeking certification?
I am firm believer in continued education. I strive to be my best personally and professionally and encourage others to do the same. Seeking certification in my field of choice shows I am vested in the field long term.
How does certification distinguish you from other patient access healthcare professionals?
NAHAM and the CHAA and CHAM certifications are nationally recognized. Many organizations are now encouraging their Patient Access teams to seek certification. In many cases it allows a career ladder growth opportunity to team members.

What have been the rewards of earning your credential?
It has expanded my professional network and enhanced my credibility in a Healthcare Access Management position. By having both my CHAA and CHAM certifications I am able to show I have the required knowledge base in my profession. Another rewarding aspect is my certification has allowed me access to training and webinars that I might not have otherwise known about.

What advice would you give those seeking to earn their credentials?
Do it! Take every opportunity to broaden your knowledge base, not only in Patient Access but the entire Revenue Cycle. Knowing how one piece impacts the other is a recipe for financial success in your facility

What does your hospital’s executive management think of earning of CHAA credential?
I had earned my certifications prior to becoming employed with BayCare; however my leadership team is very supportive of my involvement with NAHAM. The knowledge earned and the value offered through NAHAM Certification is extremely valuable.

Join Kerrie, and become a CHAA today!

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