Wednesday, December 18, 2019

ACHCA Discontinues CNHA & CALA Exams and Revises Criteria for its Fellow Program

The American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) released the following announcement this week about the discontinuation of the ACHCA certification exams (Note: not mandated state licensure exams) for nursing home and assisted living administrators:

“Recently the ACHCA Board of Directors on the recommendation of the Professional Advancement Committee determined that the CNHA and CALA exams shall be discontinued.  ACHCA will no longer offer the Certified Nursing Home Administrator (CNHA) and the Certified Assisted Living Administrator (CALA) exams.

Individuals who have previously earned these credentials will be able to keep them and renew them. Those who have earned the CNHA and CALA credential, whether singly or as a component of multiple credentials, may maintain their status by renewing it every five years as they do now, with the only change being that these credentials can no longer be renewed by taking the exams. The Executive Portfolio or Executive Level Course may be utilized for renewing credentials.

Several factors contributed to the discontinuation of the certification exams. A critical decline in interest in these credentials, trends in post-acute health care delivery, negligible candidates for test taking (only one person has taken and passed the CNHA exam in 2019), and a lack of methodology to demonstrate the value of these credentials contributed to the decision. Our current practice analysis, the blueprint upon which the exams are based, is extremely outdated.  Added to these factors is the hard reality that the maintenance of the credentials places a significant financial burden on the entire certification program. The financial estimate to do a new practice analysis and reinvigorate the program is far in excess of our organization’s ability to manage.

Changes reflecting the discontinuation of the CNHA and CALA credentials will appear on the ACHCA website and in the Certification Candidate Handbook.”

ACHCA’s Fellow program continues to operate as before but with changes to the criteria for earning points toward the Fellow (FAHCA) designation.  The designation of Fellow represents the highest level of ACHCA membership.  Obtaining and maintaining the FACHCA distinction demonstrates the administrator’s commitment to professionalism and dedication to leadership and service excellence.  FACHCA is also considered a mark of distinction that sets the administrator apart from his/her peers. 

Two noteworthy changes to the Fellow criteria are the ability to earn points for receiving a AHCA/NCAL Bronze, Silver or Gold National Quality Award, and points can be earned for earning NAB’s Health Services Executive™ (HSE) credential. 

For questions or more information regarding the exam announcement or ACHCA’s Fellow program, please feel free to contact ACHCA President/CEO Bill McGinley at

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