Maintaining Your Credentials

Your annual HCS-D, HCS-O, HCS-H, or HCS-C recertification offers an ongoing value to your profession and employer, ensuring that you demonstrate ongoing competence in the content areas in which you were certified.

Recertification Process

Recertification of your credential requires that you earn twenty (20) CEUs between the anniversary date and expiration date of your current credential cycle. These dates are found above your CEU Tracker. If you are unable to log into your CEU Tracker, contact customer service at 1-855-225-5341.

To recertify you must:

  1. Earn ten (10) or more CEUs by participating in accepted and qualified CEU activities and document that activity in your CEU Tracker. Make sure to keep any documentation of CEUs for at least one year for auditing purposes. All AHCC members earn one CEU each month by taking a monthly quiz based on AHCC Insider content. AHCC Premium members can earn additional CEUs by taking a quarterly quiz based on AHCC Journal content. Visit the Publications page to find a link to your available CEU quizzes.
  2. Earn ten (10) of the required CEUs by completing your mandatory annual coding, OASIS, hospice, or compliance self-assessments. CEUs earned from self-assessments are loaded into your tracker by BMSC within three (3) business days. Please keep this in mind as you are responsible for starting your recertification process early enough to meet the required deadlines. Please keep the self-assessment CEU certificates for your records, in case you are audited.
  3. Pay your recertification fee by clicking the blue “Recertify Now” button on your CEU tracker after you have completed your twenty (20) CEUs.

Wondering how you can earn additional CEUs? Learn more by visiting Qualifying Continuing Education Activities page.

 

Accessing Your Self-Assessments

Recertification of your BMSC credential requires you to complete 20 continuing education units (CEUs) each year between the anniversary of your date of certification and the certification expiration date. Ten (10) are earned through educational activities; ten (10) are earned by completing two online self-assessments.

It is your responsibility to report your educational activity CEUs to BMSC by entering them in the CEU Tracker on the AHCC website. Self-assessment CEUs will be uploaded once you successfully pass the assessments and will appear in your CEU Tracker within three (3) business days. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ADD THE SELF-ASSESSMENTS TO YOUR CEU TRACKER YOURSELF.

Once the required 20 CEUs are in your tracker, you can complete the recertification process.

To access your self-assessments:

  1. Go to http://bmsc.coursewebs.com/cart/.
  2. Select the self-assessments for the appropriate certification by clicking "Add to cart."
  3. Click on "Checkout," located in the bar in the upper right corner.
  4. If prompted, select "I already have an account with BMSC"
  5. Enter your User ID and Password.
    • Your User ID is your six or seven digit candidate ID. You can find your candidate ID by clicking on "My Account" in the upper right corner of the AHCC website after you log in. (https://ahcc.decisionhealth.com/). You can also find your seven digit candidate ID in your CEU Tracker.
    • Your password is the first two letters of your last name in lowercase, plus your candidate ID. (For example: candidate with the last name “Smith” would be: sm123456.)
    • Note: If your User ID and Name do not match the information on the AHCC website, you will not receive credit for your self-assessments. Please verify that the information is correct before you proceed. 
    • Trouble logging in? Click “Recover password.” You will be prompted for your User ID and Email. Fill in these fields and your password will be resent.
  6. Review your selection and click on "Complete Enrollment." A confirmation page will display.
  7. Click on “Continue to view your courses” at the bottom on the page.
  8. Locate the self-assessment exam you wish to take and click on the "Launch" tab. You’ll see a list of current and expired self-assessments. Make sure to locate the appropriate exam. Choose from
    • HCS-C Self-Assessments
    • HCS-D ICD-10 Coding Self-Assessments
    • HCS-H Self-Assessments
    • HCS-O Self-Assessments
    This will launch the Self-Assessment exam window.
  9. Click on the "Exams" tab in the upper left corner of your screen to start your exam. If you don’t see the “Exams” tab, click on the double downward pointing arrows on the right hand side of the window to display the tab.
  10. Click “Start this exam” to begin a self-assessment. 

Note: If you take the self-assessments for a certification you currently do not hold, the self-assessments and CEUs associated to the certificate are invalid. You may not use those CEUs towards another certification/re-certification held through BMSC or any other organization. If you have any questions or concerns, call customer service at 1-855-225-5341.

 

Recertification Cycle

The recertification cycle for a HCS-D, HCS-O, HCS-H and/or HCS-C credential holder begins the day the credential is awarded.

The certification is active for one calendar year. The credential holder must fulfill his or her recertification requirements and submit the applicable fee before his or her credential expires in order to maintain certification. Any recertifications submitted within 90 days after the credential expires will be subject to a 15% late fee. Note that 90 days after a credential expires it will be revoked and cannot be recertified.

 

Certification Status

Status Types

Active: Meets the recertification requirements.
Inactive:

  • Failure to complete and pass the two (2) annual coding, OASIS, hospice and/or compliance self-review assessments between the anniversary date and expiration date of the current certification cycle. The two self-assessment reviews are worth 10 CEUs (5 CEUs per assessment).
  • Failure to complete 10 additional CEU educational activities between the anniversary date and expiration date of the current certification cycle.

Note: BMSC provides a three (3) month window for credential holders who have been placed on inactive status to meet recertification requirements and report CEUs. Therefore, any credential holder who has not met recertification requirements by 90 days past the expiration date/of his certification cycle will have his credential revoked. The credential may not be used during the period of inactive status. A late fee is imposed to re-activate a credential within the 90 day grace period.

Revoked:

  • Failure to complete and report recertification requirements within certification cycle.
  • BMSC Appeals Committee or AHCC Professional Ethics Committee decision regarding misconduct.

Note: Credential holders who do not report their CEUs will have their credential revoked. Individuals may not use the applicable credential once it has been revoked.

 

Reinstatement of Credentials

BMSC provides one way to reinstate a credential: Reactivation by exam. 

Retake the applicable certification exam. Register for the exam here.

After an inactive certification has lapsed beyond the 90 day grace period, without receipt by BMSC of the application to reinstate, the only way to be reinstated and returned to active status is to retake the applicable certification exam.

 

Audits

Each year a percentage of recertification report forms are randomly selected for audit. Individuals selected for audits will be notified in writing and required to submit verifiable documentation (for example, certificates of attendance or similar materials) for each activity listed on the CEU Report Form by the due date specified on the audit notification material.

Verifiable documentation can include certificates of attendance, program materials, or other information provided by the program sponsor that verify program date, length, and subject matter (that is, agenda, program outline, handout, meeting summary, or meeting transcript).

It is therefore recommended that CEU participants retain all records in their files for at least one year following the cycle end date. Individuals who fail to respond to the audit request by the specified due date or are found to have submitted false information on their recertification form may be denied recertification.

 

Waiver of CE Requirements

BMSC may for good cause waive or reduce the CEU requirement. Certificants may request a temporary or permanent waiver by submitting a written request using this form to BMSC for consideration within 90 days of the unforeseen event.

Temporary Waiver: Temporarily waive recertification requirements due to extenuating circumstances or hardships (for example, financial hardship, illness, unforeseen circumstances, and natural catastrophes)

Permanent Waiver: Permanently waive recertification requirements as a result of full-time retirement

 

Extensions

BMSC may grant an extension of time to complete the number of CEUs required for a CE cycle. An extension of time shall not relieve the applicant of the responsibility for completion of the CEU requirements for the CE cycle in which the extension period falls. Extensions will be subject to a 15% late fee. To request an extension, submit a written request using this form. 

BMSC may grant an extension of time for a certification exam or certification eligibility period, but only under the following special circumstances:

Natural Disaster: In the event of bad weather, a natural disaster, or another emergency (for example, a test center power outage)

Medical or Personal Emergency: A medical or personal emergency is an unplanned event that prevents you from taking the exam. A medical or personal emergency may apply to you or one of your immediate family members; spouse, child, or parent as defined by the Family Medical Leave Act. Documentation (i.e. doctor’s note, emergency room forms, obituary) showing why you could not take your exam will be required.

Please note: If the candidate has met one of the above special circumstances, requests an extension for an exam or certification eligibility period, and is approved the extension, the fees that apply are:

First Approved Request for an Extension: $75 (valid for 45 days)
Second and Final Approved Request for an Extension: $150 (valid for an additional 30 days). NO additional extension will be authorized.

 

Appeals

Individuals whose credential has been revoked or whose application for reinstatement has been denied may appeal to BMSC. Additional information on submitting an appeal to BMSC is available in the Candidate Handbook available on the BMSC website.

If you are submitting a request for an appeal, waiver of CE requirements, or an extension, please complete and submit the AHCC Request for Consideration form, along with any required documentation.