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CPSS Success: 2,000-plus Certificants and Growing

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 9:00 AM

BSM News, BSM Products and Services

Written by: Elizabeth Monroe

Elizabeth Monroe
BSM senior consultant

Recently, the number of Certified Patient Service Specialist® (CPSS) certificants surpassed 2,000 — a major milestone for this BSM program. It’s so exciting to see CPSS grow and credential an ever increasing number of practice staff (like those of Greenville Health System Eye Institute, pictured above), especially given that I’ve been involved since its inception.

In July 2010, Bruce Maller and the BSM staff invited a group of ophthalmic administrators to discuss the challenges and needs of our practices. I was honored to be included in that group and attend the first BSM Advisory Board meeting at Lake Tahoe. BSM wanted us to provide feedback and recommendations on how it could improve its evolving Distance Learning Center.

During our exchange of ideas, we discussed the issue of front office staff training. My fellow administrators and I noted the growing importance of front desk positions in an ophthalmic practice and how they now require intense training. It is amazing how much an employee needs to know just to schedule an appointment with a doctor!

Candy Simerson of Minnesota Eye said, “BSM should develop a front office training program along with a certification exam.” Someone else added, “Yes! Front office employees should have a training curriculum and a way to demonstrate their knowledge!”

In response to its customers’ needs, BSM developed CPSS for ophthalmic practices. It included a 19-course study program and a 130-question, closed-book exam that would be proctored by a manager in the practice. Applicants could study the online courses at their own pace. Once they felt comfortable with the subject matter and had worked in an eye care practice for more than a year, they could sit for professional certification.

"I will never forget the smiles on my staff’s faces as each one of them successfully passed the exam. Their excitement and pride in successfully completing this professional growth challenge was obvious and inspiring." — Elizabeth Holloway

As a member of the advisory board, my practice was permitted to trial the CPSS program in 2011. Everyone on my staff (front office, scribes, counselors, billing, etc. — unless they were already COA certified) was requested to complete the exam. I will never forget the smiles on my staff’s faces as each one of them successfully passed the exam. Their excitement and pride in successfully completing this professional growth challenge was obvious and inspiring.

In June 2012, BSM officially launched the CPSS program. In 2014, the American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators (ASOA) recognized the value of this certification and now helps BSM co-promote CPSS. As of Nov. 2, BSM has 449 registered practices, 4,026 registered applicants, and 2,064 certificants in the CPSS program. 

HONORED: To date more than 2,000 practice staff have earned a CPSS certificate.

CLICK HERE to view the entire list of CPSS participating practices. Is your practice on the list? If not, contact BSM Consulting to learn how you can offer this professional growth opportunity to your practice staff.

Now that I am a senior consultant at BSM, I am thrilled to watch the CPSS program continually grow and develop up-close. Many of our early CPSS certificants have elected to recertify (by completing 15 continuing education credits over three years), thus demonstrating their commitment to further develop their professional careers. 

Last year, we launched an ambulatory surgery centers module for staff members who work in an ophthalmic ASC. Meanwhile, BSM continues to look for new ways to expand the CPSS offering and best meet the educational needs of ophthalmic practices.

Today, six years since its inception, I consistently receive messages and updates from practices about how the CPSS program has dramatically improved staff training, instilled confidence in their staff members, and improved overall patient care. I am proud to have been part of the creation of this program, and I am honored to continue to support it into the future.

Below are a few comments BSM has received on the program:

"Becoming a CPSS has helped me expand my knowledge of ophthalmology and optometry. I have gained the confidence I need to perform my job to its fullest potential. Because of the CPSS program, I have a better understanding of what patients are dealing with when they walk through the doors of our office and how to best serve their needs." -  Kendra Prest, financial counselor, Greenville Health System

" ... Being a CPSS has made me more confident in what I do. Some patients have asked what the initials stand for, and when we tell them, they seem to be impressed with our commitment, and therefore seem to have more faith and trust in our ability. I am proud to be a CPSS." - Christine Cobaugh, patient services coordinator, Laurel Eye Clinic

"Confidence, Knowledge, Professionalism: These are the words our staff chose when asked to share what they have gained by completing the CPSS program." - Jill Gellerman, administrator, Avi Pandey, M.D., P.C.

Your Turn: What's your opinion of the CPSS program? Do you find it helpful? Share your experience with the CPSS program in the comment section below.

Visit the CPSS website to learn more. If you have a specific question regarding the program, contact Elizabeth Monroe at

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