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This blog represents our new series on the different certification credentials the ICHCC offers the health care service provider community.  Today, we will share information on the Certified Life Care Planner and the Canadian Certified Life Care Planner credentials.  In subsequent weeks we will post videos explaining the other certification credentials available to the health care community, which include the Certified Medical Cost Projection Specialist (CMCPS), the Medicare Set-aside Certified Consultant (MSCC), and the Certified Geriatric Care Manager (CGCM) credentials.

There are two very important manuals that I strongly recommend that you download from our website at www.ichcc.org; the International Commission on Health Care Certification Practice Standards and Practice Guidelines and the Certified Life Care Planner Candidate Handbook and Application Form These manuals will be very beneficial if you choose to pursue the CLCP™ or the CCLCP™ credential.  The Certified Life Care Planner Candidate Handbook and Application Form provides the candidate with information about the examination content areas as well as providing information to assist with the application process.

The International Commission on Health Care Certification Practice Standards and Practice Guidelines has all the information about the International Commission on Health Care Certification, which includes a brief history of the ICHCC’s development, the qualification standards necessary for each of the 5 credentials that are offered, the organizational structure of the ICHCC, and the ethical principles to which the ICHCC expects all certificants to follow.  To access these documents, choose the “Training” tag on the horizontal menu bar at the top of the page.  Choose “Pre-approved Training Programs” and you will see the listings of all of the training programs that are pre-approved for the 120-hour CLCP/CCLCP training, the 30-hour MSCC training, the 45-hour CMCPS training, and the CGCM training program.

I want to re-emphasize the importance of going to our website and downloading a couple of those manuals, but also to explore the site.  There's a lot of information that we include regarding our pre-approved training programs.  We have a calendar that identifies what training/conferences we pre-approved and that are active;  so please check out our website. 

The preliminary qualification that the candidate must review and determine if their background, education, and experience will be accepted by the application reviewer is that of meeting the Qualified Health Care Professional Mandate (QHCPM).  The candidate must qualify within the QHCPM, that the candidate’s training, profession, or current work responsibilities and essential functions are specific to the care, treatment, and or rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.  The QHCPM applies specifically to the CLCPand the CCLCP credentials.  In essence, the candidate’s background, education, training, and practice experience should be specific to the candidate’s formal academic degree.  What that means is that as assimilated, the candidate will qualify if the four areas of background, education, training, and practice experience are within the levels that we have applied to the admission process.  Neither one of those independently will qualify the candidate to sit for the exam.

The general qualifications include nurse and non-nurse candidates.  The non-nurse candidates must have at the minimum a bachelor's degree. This rule may include but is not limited to people who are formally trained in rehabilitation counseling, vocational evaluation, vocational rehabilitation counseling, direct service providers, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists to name a few. Nurse candidates, on the other hand, are accepted as diploma nurses or associate degree nurses. Nurses do not have to have a Bachelor's degree (BSN) to qualify to sit for the CLCP examination.

The one common denominator of all candidates who go through the CLCP/CCLCP certification process under the ICHCC is their attendance/participation in the 120-hour training program.  The ICHCC has preapproved four 120-hour training programs that can be accessed through the ICHCC website.  The candidates who investigate the 120-hour training program must understand that regardless of the level of academic degree achievement (i.e., M.D., D.O., or D.C.), or whether their career has been involved in writing life care plans for a significant period, or their professional title may be as a Director of Life Care Planning within a company, they are still responsible for attending one of the ICHCC’s preapproved 120-hour training program.  

Once we receive the candidate’s application, the candidate must have worked in a health care setting for at least 3 years out of the past 5-year period.  What this means is that from the time we receive the candidate’s application, 5 years before the ICHCCreceives the application, the candidate must have at least 3 years of full-time work in the health care field. 

There are certain groups of health care providers who are excluded from qualifying to sit for the CLCP™/CCLCP™ examinations.  If an individual seeking certification has the term “technician” or “assistant” in their job title, the probability of not being accepted is very strong. It is noteworthy that the “Physician’s Assistant” title is designated as an approved occupation for sitting for the CLCP/CCLCP examinations.  Regarding those occupational categories that are excluded, these include physical therapy assistants, occupational therapy assistants, dental hygienists, emergency medical technicians, nursing assistants, or even certified nursing assistants or licensed practical nurses.  However, the exclusion could be waived if the candidate has a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a health-related field while working as a technician or an assistant.  The bachelor's degree in a health-related field plus the other data included in the application may qualify the candidate to sit for the examination.

The CLCP™/CCLCP™ examinations have 100 multiple choice scenarios. These are not just single-sentence stems but are scenarios dealing with the knowledge, domains, and the sub-factors of the essential functions under those knowledge domains that were identified in our 2020 research of role and function study that was published in the Journal of Life Care Planning. 

Test items are validated but not through the bell curve like they used to be in the 1950s and 1960s. We use the Angoff Methodology for Item Validation, and this requires us to form subject matter expert (SEM) committees to rate the items.  The SME members rate each item in the 100-item pool in 14 categories.  Each item receives 80 ratings from a 5-member SME committee, resulting in 8,000 ratings for a 100-item pool.  We assimilate all the data and run the statistical analysis that results in the determination of the test cut-score.  Additional information provided from the analysis tells us which items are weak, which items require rewrites, and which items should be removed.  The current CLCP™ and CCLCP™ examination cut score is 79. There is not any score revealed to the candidate at the time of their test. When the candidate completes the test and they submit that last item (100th), within seconds, they will know if they passed or did not meet the cut score.

We do have examination review webinars for the review of content areas. We review the specific content areas and do not address any items; just content areas.  We do not discuss specific item material.  These examination review webinars are approximately 6 hours in length and the feedback we have received from those candidates who participated in them indicates that these webinars have been most helpful and well-received.

We hope that you do choose to become a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP) or Canadian Certified Life Care Planner (CCLCP), or certified in any of the other 3 credential areas.  We look forward to having you as part of the ICHCC family.