Published: Mar 03, 2023
Revenue Cycle Management

CRCR Certification: What RCM Specialists Need to Know

Rex H.
Rex H.
8 minute read
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Would you like to demonstrate internally or externally the deep expertise you've built in revenue cycle management? If so, CRCR certification is a great way to highlight your proficiency in the field.

This certification is crucial in today's patient-centric healthcare environment as it validates your ability to handle the financial journey of healthcare consumers. This includes from the time they request an appointment until the last payment.

This article digs deeper into CRCR certification to help you understand who it suits, how to become one, and its benefits.


What Is the CRCR Certification?

The Certified Revenue Cycle Representative (CRCR) certification is a national-level certification offered by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA). The CRCR program sets the performance standards for revenue cycle staff.

It verifies that you and your team have achieved a specific level of expertise necessary to navigate the complexities of healthcare revenue cycle management. By becoming certified in the CRCR program, you can demonstrate your expertise in areas such as patient access, billing and reimbursement, compliance, denials management, and more.

Once you acquire CRCR certification, you have what it takes to identify techniques and processes that can enhance the patient experience while improving financial performance. You will also be able to create effective techniques for simplifying collections.

Who This Certification Is For

The CRCR certification is for individuals and organizations looking to improve their performance in revenue cycle management. Your healthcare organization can obtain the license to purchase the certification programs and get unlimited access to a self-study course and examination. As an organization, your license for the course will be valid for one year.

You can also purchase the CRCR certification program as an individual. You will have online access to the course and examination for one year.

You can also benefit from the certification if you’re in the hospital revenue cycle management department. This means the CRCR certification suits you if you work in patient accounts, case management, finance, compliance, managed care operations, health information management, and patient access.

Should Someone Get This Certification if They’re Interested in Medical Coding?

CRCR certification is not the right choice for you if you're interested in a career in medical coding. It suits people wanting a career in healthcare finance or revenue cycle management, which is very different from medical coding.

If you're looking for medical coding certification, you can consider options like the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders.

How Much Does the CRCR Certification Cost?

According to HFMA, it costs $399 to enroll in the CRCR certification program, an amount that covers study materials and the examination. However, you'll get a discount if your organization has more than 10 CRCR candidates.

If you are not an HFMA member, you’ll pay a certification maintenance fee of $100 every two years.

How To Become a Certified Revenue Cycle Representative

To become a CRCR, you should complete an online self-study course and pass an online examination.

CRCR Exam Structure

The CRCR exam consists of 75 multiple-choice questions, which you must complete in one sitting within 90 minutes. The passing score for the exam is 70%. If you fail on your first attempt, you must wait for a mandatory 30 days before retaking the exam.

The best thing is that during the waiting period, you will get access to the course and the exam summary to prepare for your next attempt. The exam summary shows how you performed on different units to help you determine where to improve.

Topics Covered in the Exam

The HFMA organizes the exam into four units as follows:

Unit 1: Revenue Cycle in Health Care: This unit covers everything about the revenue cycle, including the applicable laws and regulations. You can expect topics like ethical practices in revenue cycle management, patient-centric revenue cycle practices, and key performance measures.

Unit 2: Pre-Service — Financial Care: This is where you learn the duties of a pre-service representative, such as insurance verification and eligibility, cost estimation, and data verification for the scheduled and registered patients. You can expect questions on areas like price transparency or Good Faith Estimates.

Unit 3: Time of Service — Financial Care: This unit focuses on the services offered during the time of service. It might include areas such as collecting and recording patient payments, filing insurance claims, copayment collection, and entering patient data into the system.

Unit 4: Post-Service — Financial Care: The last unit deals with services offered after the patient leaves the hospital. It covers account follow-up and reconciliation, financial counseling, denial resolution techniques, patient satisfaction management, and writing off bad debts. Regarding this unit, the exam might test whether you have mastered the best practices for patient financial communications to ensure a higher collection rate.

Before the HFMA updated the CRCR certification program in 2021, the exam was organized into different topics rather than units. The key topics included compliance, patient access, claims processing, account resolution, cash, financial management, and other revenue cycle departments.

How Long Does it Typically Take to Get a CRCR?

There's no stipulated period of time for getting a CRCR certification because everyone learns at their own pace. However, HFMA states that enrolling in the CRCR certification program requires one year of experience in revenue cycle-related activities. Once you start taking the online course, completing it will take 10 to 14 hours.

After that, you must prepare and register for the online examination. So, obtaining a CRCR certification will largely depend on how much time you dedicate to studying for the exam.

But since you only have access to the study course for one year, it is recommended that you take the exam within that period. Overall, it will probably take you several months to complete the process and obtain a CRCR certification.

How Often Do You Need to Be Recertified?

Once you obtain a CRCR certification, your certification is valid for two years. After that, you need to get recertified to maintain the validity of your credentials. The process for recertification involves completing an online assessment consisting of 50 questions.

To best prepare for your recertification exam, you should take advantage of the CRCR recertification eLearning course. This course will help you review and practice the current revenue cycle principles and best practices. HFMA will email you in advance when your recertification is due.

CRCR Average Salary

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary of a CRCR in the U.S. is $54,537 per year. That's about $4,544 per week. This figure can vary depending on the size and location of your organization, as well as your skills level and years of experience.

ZipRecruiter reports that some CRCRs earn as much as $128,500 per year. The high earnings suggest opportunities to earn more in this career field. For instance, people with more experience and expertise in the healthcare revenue cycle management industry can command higher salaries.

Is the CRCR Certification Worth It?

Whether you're asking the question from an individual or organizational perspective, the answer is a resounding yes. There’s no denying that healthcare rules today have become complex. Consumers have more demands and expectations from their providers. The impact is that the staff is held more accountable for customer experiences.

In this regard, your revenue cycle staff should comprehensively understand the revenue cycle process and its impacts on your organization’s financial outcomes. A CRCR certification program will equip your team with the knowledge they need to meet the demands of today’s healthcare.

Value at the Individual Level

The CRCR certification is worth it if you want to pursue a career in revenue cycle management or healthcare finance. It sets you apart from other job candidates since you will have a certification recognized by a leading professional association in healthcare finance. The certification will verify your competency and currency in the revenue cycle field.

Plus, it will demonstrate your commitment to professional development, which is a great way to stand out and make yourself desirable in the job market.  However, the certification can be costly, so it’s ideal if your employer can sponsor or pay for your certification or HFMA membership.

Value at the Organizational Level

At the organizational level, the CRCR certification will equip your revenue cycle staff with the necessary knowledge and expertise to navigate today's complex regulations and reimbursement models. This will result in:

  • Better overall financial performance
  • Decreased liability
  • Decreased turnover
  • Improved interdepartmental collaboration
  • Better standards for measuring the proficiency of the revenue cycle staff

The better your staff understands the revenue cycle process, the better your organization will satisfy customers and meet financial goals.

Practice Questions for the Exam

These sample questions can help you prepare for the CRCR exam:

  1. What is the alternative rule to the gender rule for self-funded benefit plans when coordinating benefits?
  2. What type of account consequence arises from a patient's failure to pay for a self-pay balance?
  3. What strategies could enhance customer service in the patient accounts department?
  4. What is the purpose of an ABN (Advance Beneficiary Notice of Non-coverage)?
  5. How can providers resolve a late charge credit posted after billing an account?
  6. What payment system involves negotiating a lump sum or package payment between the payer and some or all providers?

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