Securing Management Support for Your Pursuit of CASC Certification
By Ann Geier, MS, RN, CNOR, CASC, Chief Nursing Officer, Surgical Information Systems
The experience of working toward and earning the CASC credential is one that not only benefits certificants but also their ASCs. That should serve as a compelling reason for ASC governing boards to support administrators who set out to obtain their CASC credential.
I feel such support should not just be verbal and/or written; rather, ASC governing boards should allocate time during working hours for candidates to prepare for the exam and funding to cover expenses associated with pursuing CASC (e.g., exam fee, practice test fee). If the credential is earned, management should continue to allot working hours and financial support for maintaining CASC through participation in continuing education activities, such as conferences and webinars, and covering expenses associated with their registration.
Here are five quick tips to help you earn financial support for CASC from your governing board.
1. Highlight value of the CASC exam. When educating boards on CASC and why they should support it, begin with an explanation of the purpose of CASC and how preparing for and taking the exam helps applicants fulfill their responsibilities as administrators. Summarize what’s covered in the exam (access the content) and explain how administrators who improve their skills in these areas/categories can better perform their financial, clinical and operational duties. As the CASC web site notes, the exam study process can lead to a broader knowledge base, help candidates brush up on familiar topics and provide an education on new aspects of the ASC industry.
If your board is more likely to respond positively to improvements in certain areas (e.g., financial, regulatory), consider spending more time focusing on them in your proposal.
2. Describe benefits of annual requirements. Once you pass the CASC exam and earn the credential, your work on CASC doesn’t stop. Rather, to maintain the credential, you are required to earn at least six administrator education units (AEUs) in each of the five major CASC exam content areas during a three-year recertification cycle. To earn a single AEU, the education (e.g., conference session, webinar, course) must be at least 60 minutes in length. That means CASC certificants must participate in at least 30 hours of education focused on core ASC administrator responsibilities every three years.
This requirement encourages certificants to stay current on and enhance their understanding of issues critical to the success of their ASC — which should resonate positively with governing boards.
3. Explain trickle-down effect. As leaders of ASCs, CASC certificants help train staff members. When governing boards support their administrators in pursuing and maintaining the CASC credential, they are also supporting enhanced staff education. And when staff members perform their responsibilities at a higher level, an ASC’s operations improve. One could argue that the financial return that comes from supporting a CASC applicant and certificant — and therefore supporting staff training and education — will more than likely cover the costs.
4. Note accreditation standards. Accreditation organizations typically require that their accredited ASCs demonstrate support for staff receiving continuing education. Backing the efforts of their administrators to pursue and maintain CASC will help meet requirements.
5. Share testimonials. Looking for some help in making the case for CASC? There are several testimonials from CASC certificants shared on the CASC web site. Send your board this link and let them hear and read for themselves why your peers greatly value their credential and how it has helped them succeed in their roles and the industry.
Note: While this column focuses on CASC, there are many other credentials an ASC’s governing board should be willing to support, such as the new Certified Ambulatory Infection Preventionist (CAIP) credential. I am a firm believer in the value of certification and have witnessed the tremendous benefits it can bring to individuals and the organizations they serve.