CCHP-A Reaches Quarter-Century Mark

Posted Sep 3, 2019

1994 was a year to remember. The North American Free Trade Agreement was adopted; the “Chunnel” opened connecting England and France by train; Major League Baseball went on strike for 232 days, effectively canceling the 1994 season; and the world population reached 5.6 billion people. Of those 5.6 billion people, seven were in the first group to earn CCHP–Advanced certification.

When the flagship CCHP program began in April 1990, the board of trustees announced that it would have an advanced component, to begin in 1993. The board decided to offer two separate exams: the basic CCHP exam and a more advanced exam for those who had held the CCHP credential for three years.

In March 1992 at their semiannual meeting in Chicago, the trustees discussed how to implement advanced certification, soon to be known as CCHP-A. Those present were Jaye Anno, PhD, Carmelita Walton, AN, Bernard Harrison, JD, Kenneth Moritsugu, MD, Scott Chavez, MPA, PA-C, Robert Burmeister, PhD (ex officio), and the staff liaison, LeAnn Schmidt. They agreed to gather information and develop proposals to review in the fall.

The Framework of the Program

At the September board meeting, Chavez presented a proposal establishing the program’s core elements. Advanced certification would be an elective process, and the CCHP must decide to apply for it. Unlike the basic CCHP process, applications for CCHP-A would be reviewed by the CCHP board of trustees. Similar to the approach used by organizations such as the American Society of Association Executives and the American College of Healthcare Executives, the proposal set criteria for approval of applicants. These included personal achievements, commitment, accomplishments and contributions to correctional health, as well as education and scholarly activity.

Accepted applicants would be informed that they are approved to take a proctored exam. It would be a closed-book, essay-based examination administered over a four-hour period. The exam would be crafted to measure and interpret the candidate’s knowledge necessary for professional practice in correctional health care. It would not seek to measure clinical competency. The CCHP board would grade the exams on a pass/fail basis, and each essay question would be evaluated by at least two readers. For the candidate to achieve CCHP-A status, six of the eight essay questions needed a passing score.

In 1993, invitations to apply for the CCHP-A exam were sent to eligible CCHPs who had been certified for at least three years. After careful deliberation, the trustees chose 11 candidates for the first exam, which was administered at the 1993 National Conference on Correctional Health Care in Orlando, Florida. Two of the 11 examinees were CCHP board members, John Clark and Jaye Anno.

* Special recognition goes to the three CCHP-As who have maintained their Advanced status for 25 years, continuing their commitment and passion to correctional health care: Janice Hill, Jeff Metzner and Jim Voisard.

“This was an opportunity to join a select group, to reach a pinnacle in the profession,” Voisard said. “I am honored to be associated with the huge names in correctional health that are also CCHP-As. Becoming a CCHP-A, I was challenged to broaden my understanding of topics that affect our work on a daily basis.”

Seven of the 11 candidates passed the exam and became CCHP-A in January 1994: Jaye Anno, PhD, Thomas Bellavia, MD, John Clark, MD, MPH, Katherine Heinen, RN, Janice Hill, RN*, Jeffrey Metzner, MD*, and James Voisard, EMT-P* (credentials are shown as they were in 1994).

Confirmation of Your Accomplishments

Within two years, the CCHP-A program had grown to 25, and interest in holding this credential continued to climb. “Adding the ‘advanced’ to CCHP status means not only well-deserved recognition by your peers,” said Betty Hron, RN, CCHP-A, who was a CCHP board member during this time. “It is also a personal confirmation of the accomplishments, accumulated knowledge and contributions made to the advancement of correctional health care.”

In 2010 the flagship CCHP program celebrated its 20th anniversary and was flourishing, and the number of CCHP-As had risen to 41. Today the CCHP-A program continues to attract individuals who demonstrate excellence, commitment and contribution to the field. And that probably means you!

CCHPs are eligible to apply for Advanced Certification after being certified for three years. CCHP-A exams are offered three times a year, at NCCHC’s spring, summer and fall conferences. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, and must be submitted at least three months before the desired exam date. See the CCHP-A brochure and application to learn what is involved.

By Erin Kabot, certification assistant for NCCHC. This article first appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of CorrectCare, Vol. 33, Issue 3.