Headshot of Lauren Bristow, who wears a black blazer. Her blonde hair falls just below her shoulder.
Lauren Bristow

The clinic operations administrator for Citizen Potawatomi Nation Health Services has earned a significant achievement in her field, one that will help CPNHS continue to meet the growing demand for quality and innovative Health care.

Lauren Bristow was named a fellow in the American College of Medical Practice Executives. Fellows are recognized for their mastery and expertise in medical practice management.

Bristow said it is unique for a tribal clinic administrator to receive this designation, and she is honored to be among the few who have.

“Seeking advanced certification strengthens my skillset and equips me with the knowledge base necessary to successfully expand our clinical operations, ensure that we have a seat at the table and access to health innovation, while maintaining high standards of care,” she said. “It’s important for me because I am Potawatomi. I am seen here; my family is seen here. By seeking continuing education and training, I am actively improving the quality of and access to care within our facilities.”

The entire process to earn the ACMPE designation took two years to complete, all while Bristow was still performing her full-time duties at CPNHS.

Bristow, a Toupin family descendant, first earned the Certified Medical Practice Executive designation by passing rigorous examinations that assess knowledge of the broad scope of medical practice management. The examinations are drawn from the Body of Knowledge for Medical Practice Management, which covers business operations, financial management, human resources management, information management, organizational governance, transformative healthcare delivery, quality management and risk management.

Bristow also completed a minimum of 50 continuing education credit hours to achieve CMPE status. To earn Fellowship, Bristow demonstrated leadership, innovation, and professional engagement in the healthcare industry supporting the advancement of the medical group management profession.

“It took me a year to prepare and test for the initial (CMPE) designation. Two comprehensive exams are required, which cover all aspects of clinical management: operational management, financial management, quality management, transformative health care, risk and compliance.”

Bristow passed the CMPE exams and then prepared for the ACMPE process. She developed a comprehensive business plan for clinic operations. Bristow chose to write her 36-page business plan on Tribal eyecare.

“It must cover how you will implement and successfully sustain a clinical practice, including highlights of population and financial management. I opted to focus on improving eye care, as this has been a significant project here within CPNHS,” Bristow said. “Once you submit your business plan, it goes to a committee of peers who are currently executives in the health care industry and fellows themselves. It is very similar to defending a doctoral thesis. Your submission goes through a committee review, and then Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) board review, where they may either approve or deny for fellowship designation.”

When Bristow learned she had been approved, she felt both humbled and validated.

“When you go up against peers in the health care industry, many of whom are seasoned professionals leading regional health systems, it can certainly be intimidating. To me, it was validating and incredibly humbling to receive acknowledgement and confirmation that I do have the skills to lead and further develop our health care system,” she said.

CPNHS patients are always at the forefront of Bristow’s mind when she is making decisions. Her new designation as an ACMPE fellow will help further raise the bar with patient care standards and assist the health system in achieving operational excellence.

As a CPN tribal member, Bristow said she’s proud to deliver a superior level of health care to her community, especially as the CPNHS system is poised for future growth.

“I want very much to serve our people and do anything I can personally to help us grow, expand our access and improve our processes,” she said. “Every Tuesday, I have the honor of speaking to our new hires, both for the Nation and then internally for CPNHS. Every week I highlight the pride we take as a health care system in the quality of care that we provide. We have a phenomenal and competent team, and our patients choose to come here. That’s important and something we cannot take for granted.”

Today, MGMA membership is comprised of more than 6,600 individuals who have attained CMPE or ACMPE Fellow status or who seek certification.

About MGMA

Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is the premier association for professionals who lead medical practice. Since 1926, through data, people, insights, and advocacy, MGMA empowers medical group practices to innovate and create meaningful change in healthcare. With a membership of more than 40,000 medical practice administrators, executives, and leaders, MGMA represents more than 12,500 organizations of all sizes, types, structures and specialties that deliver almost half of the healthcare in the United States.