Monday, October 31, 2011

Exclusion Due to Disability in the Medical Office

Most positions in the allied health and healthcare industry are conditioned on the applicant passing a medical examination (the so called pre-employment physical). 

If a job requirement excludes a healthcare worker, including a medical assistant working under the direct supervision of a doctor, from a position due to a disability, the requirement must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. Some requirements will obviously meet this standard, such as licenses required by state and/or local governments for doctors and other healthcare professionals. In other instances, however, an employer may need to consider whether the standard that is excluding an individual with a disability from employment accurately predicts the individual’s ability to perform the job’s essential functions. For example, a medical assistant in a wheel chair could work in the front desk reception area.

Many states and localities have disability and anti-discrimination laws and agencies responsible for enforcing those laws. A leading national health care staffing firm in Pittsburgh, PA violated federal law by withdrawing an offer of employment to a certified nursing assistant because she was HIV-positive. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged the firm with discrimination in a lawsuit.

In EEOC v. LA Weight Loss (D. Md. Dec. 1, 2008) , EEOC alleged that a chain of weight loss counseling centers with facilities in 21 states had a company wide policy of refusing to hire men into the positions of medical assistant, trainer, sales counselor and various management positions.

Both applicant flow and census data showed that men were not hired consistent with their availability and employees were told by managers that defendant was not interested in hiring men because management believed that female clients responded better to female counselors.

Healthcare job applicants, or hired employees, who believe that their employment rights have been violated on the basis of disability by a private sector, state government, or local government can file a Charge of Discrimination proceeding with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The charge must be filed by mail or in person with a local EEOC office within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation.


EEOC refers to these agencies as “Fair Employment Practices Agencies" (FEPAs). Individuals may file a charge with either the EEOC or a FEPA. If an Americans with Disability (ADA) charge filed with the EEOC is also covered by a state or local disability discrimination law, the EEOC will “dual file” the charge with the FEPA but usually will retain the charge for investigation.

Source:Questions and Answers about Health Care Workers and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Healthcare Occupations Demands and Hazards

To safely and efficiently perform work related duties the healthcare worker must be able to physically and mentally satisfy the requisite skills and be able to perform required job related duties with or without reasonable accommodations. This is why so many employers require job applicants to pass a so called pre-employment physical examination before being granted the desired position. 

Essential functions which the healthcare worker must be able to perform are based on factors such as education and job-related work experience, the reason for the position, the number of other employees available to perform the same duties, or among whom the function can be shared, and the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the duties.


It is not uncommon for healthcare workers hold more than one part-time job, of which each one comes with unique challenges and and its own set of health hazards. Healthcare workers, especially nurses, clinical laboratory workers and medical assistants face unique situations at work of which some may pose health and safety concerns.
Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA, however, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.
Medical office and healthcare facility workplace settings typically involve direct patient care with invasive procedures, exposure to body fluids, handling bio-hazardous materials in a fast-paced setting. Errors and oversights due to the demanding nature of their duties may result in health or safety consequences, however, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are there to oversee and enforce the safety of workers in healthcare.

Where Medical Assistants Work

Over 819,000 practicing physicians, hospitals and clinics heavily depend on their medical assistants. Neither doctors, nor nurses are taught the business side of things in medical school and rarely do they want to be involved with that aspect of running the practice, this is where the medical office manager and administrative medical assistant comes into play.

Doctors and nurses appreciate their medical assistants so much so that many have openly stated that they cannot imagine their medical office functioning without them:

About 62 percent of medical assistants work in offices of physicians. Some medical assistants are trained on the job, but many complete 1-year or 2-year programs, however, it must be said, medical assistants are NOT nurses, physician assistants, nor doctors and never pose or practice as such.

Understanding the medical assistant's training requirements and employer expectations gives you an edge when seeking jobs:
A medical assistant can be trained on the job, however, most acquire their skills by enrolling into a formal medical assistant training program. Once you got your "medical assistant on" you will be supervised by doctors, or another licensed healthcare professional, under which you work in a medical office and practice setting.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Is the Medical Assistant Degree Better than the Diploma?

Should You go for the medical assistant diploma or is it better to aim for the medical assistant associate degree?

Prospective medical assistant students often ask: "Is it better to have a medical assistant degree or is a medical assistant diploma good enough to find a good job?"

From my experience, and many seasoned medical assistants agree, a medical assistant diploma is not necessarily the key to better pay or faster promotions. Reality is, most doctors and practicing health care providers don't care whether their medical assistant has a degree or diploma. Their main concern is to have a medical assistant that can do the job well and pay only as much as they have to in wages.

If a medical assistant with a diploma can do the same job as their counterpart with a degree that's good enough for the doctor, however, a medical assistant with a degree has the advantage when it comes to additional education. Some of the earned college credits for courses can be transferred and applied toward a higher or different degree, such as, for example nursing (RN). And THAT is where the time and money spent on the medical assistant degree will be well worth it.

So, now that you know the most important difference between going for a medical assistant diploma vs. a medical assistant degree continue your research about qualified medical assistant certifications.

To learn more about the medical assisting career and what a medical assistant does please visit Medical Assistant Net on the Web.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bilingual Phlebotomists Are Wanted Most

Ummm, Mrs. Hernandez, we need your blood! Does anyone in here speak Spanish? Bilingual phlebotomists are an invaluable asset to any medical office, blood donation center, or blood bank. Put "proficient in English and Spanish" on your resume and it will likely immediately land on top of the rest of submitted applications.


To learn more about the medical assisting career and what a medical assistant does please visit Medical Assistant Net on the Web.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Discover Medical Assisting

Get Your Medical Assistant On

Medical assistants are in high demand.

Over 819,000 practicing physicians heavily depend on their medical assistants in the USA alone. Let us introduce you to various medical assistant vocational training programs that lead to medical assistant diplomas and degrees. We explain various medical assistant certification avenues and discuss the benefits and cost to you. For those who are already enrolled in a medical assistant school we explain the medical assistant externship and what to expect when you graduate, how to write an effective medical assistant resume and coverletter and what your duties and scope of practice will be. Last but not least we invite you to join our very active medical assistant web forum/message board to sound off and reach out to your peers. 

What Is A Medical Assistant Externship?

Succeeding In An Externship

Some people aren't familiar with the term externship. Your externship is the final step of your medical assisting training while still enrolled in the program.

The medical assistant externship is designed for several purposes. You are expected to perform duties that were learned in class, as well as to learn, solidify and refine new skills that are taught by the medical office staff. The ability to perform is important, but equally of value is your ability to be a good team member.

You must use appropriate interpersonal skills, have a professional appearance and display a good attitude. The externship gives you the opportunity to prove your dependability; attendance and punctuality are indicators of reliability and dependability.

You must be willing to help with the smaller duties, like pulling and filing patient's charts, answer the phones and organizing supplies, as well as the more critical ones, like assisting with patient intake and doing basic clinical procedures.

An externship has to do with YOU! It means you finally get a chance to put everything you have learned in the classroom to use, dealing with actual patients and medical professionals in a real medical office environment. Although many medical assistant students have some apprehension about beginning their externship, once there, they find it to be a very rewarding experience which often can lead to a first permanent job.

To learn more about the medical assisting externship and what a medical assistant does please visit Medical Assistant Net on the Web.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How Long Does it Take to Become a Medical Assistant?

When becoming a medical assistant you are embarking in a career into which you can be trained quickly, either in an accelerated medical assistant training program near you (9 -11 months), or completely free directly on the job while earning money and where you can grow as a person and professional under the guidance of the doctor who hired you. Jobs for medical assistants are on the rise and will never cease to exist, because as long as there are doctors there will be medical assistants. Once you "get your medical assistant on" you will never be bored or sitting behind an office cubicle doing a meaningless job, rather, you will be busy helping people and making a difference in your community doing a job you love. To learn more about the medical assisting career and what a medical assistant does please visit Medical Assistant Net on the Web.

Medical Assistants and Intravenous Infusion (IV) Therapy


Medical Assistants and IV Therapy Procedures

One subject that is hotly debated among medical office staff, doctors and mostly, medical assistants in the USA is whether a medical assistant is allowed to start or discontinue IV lines, even if the doctor is present on the premises. Various medical assistant textbooks and formal vocational training programs are now including IV therapy chapter overviews and IV therapy lessons into their curriculum.

While the medical assistant may be asked to lay out IV equipment, or monitor and inform a patient about their IV therapy procedure, which is fine, however, when it comes to starting or discontinuing IV lines, there are certain limitations. Therefore, if a medical assistant is asked to initiate or discontinue IV therapy equipment and lines, it is extremely important to contact the Sate Medical Board/Board of Medical Examiners, which oversees the practice of medicine within their state, to check state laws and regulations to find out whether this is permitted and deemed within the medical assistant's scope of practice before proceeding. Some states my permit it, some likely don't.

Most State Medical Boards rule that only certified or licensed professionals are allowed to start and discontinue IV therapy lines on patients, which typically is a physician, specially licensed technologist, such as an Emergency Medical Technologist (EMT), LVN/LPN, Registered Nurse (RN), Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant (PA).

Every medical office should have an organized plan that outlines the duties of every staff member in the medical office, especially for their medical assistants, and spell out what the medical assistant can and cannot do. This should also address who handles and how to handle patient assessment, triage, administration of medication, treatment procedures and responses to emergency situations, who is responsible for exactly what and how to follow the so-called chain of command.

To learn more about the medical assisting career and what a medical assistant does please visit Medical Assistant Net on the Web.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What You Need to Know About Medical Assistant Online Training Programs

Are ONLINE Medical Assistant Programs Legit?

Many community colleges and vocational training institutions now offer their complete, or partial medical assistant program online, however, potential medical assistant students should NEVER sign up for anything before doing thorough research and asking important questions.

Some websites emphasize that they offer the best medical assistant training online with nationally accredited endorsement for their certified medical assistant program, however, just because it is advertised it doesn't necessarily mean the course is accredited by any of the reputable national accreditors of healthcare schools such as CAAHEP and ABHES, or the Department of Education.

Anyone can set up a so-called medical assistant online program and locate a self-proclaimend accreditation committee and  then, make the claim their course is a certified medical assistant online program and among the best—that doesn't always mean it is true, nor does it guarantee the certificate you will receive is worth the paper it is printed on. At best, you can frame it and hang it on your wall.

What you will get, if that much, is a paper that states that you have completed an online medical assistant course. Good luck with landing a qualified medical assistant position with that and applying for "real" certification with the AAMA or AMT, the recognized authority in medical assistant certification in the USA and abroad. Also, keep in mind that some US states now mandate certification in certain medical specialties and procedures, such as in phlebotomy, X-ray, EKG, and of those who administer physical and IV therapy.

To learn more about the medical assisting career and what a medical assistant does please visit Medical Assistant Net on the Web.