Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Become A Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA)


Exciting Opportunities in Medical Laboratory Assisting

A Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA) is another fast growing and in demand career among allied health and medical professions.  Medical laboratory assistants are in demand in hospitals, major medical centers and specialized healthcare offices. Often, people who advance into this very interesting field already have a strong background in medical assisting, or phlebotomy.

MLAs are responsible for assisting phlebotomy technologists and lab technicians in collecting biological samples, operating technical equipment, data input, sterilizing equipment and tools, and maintaining laboratory cleanliness. The exciting thing about assisting in a medical laboratory is that you get involved in a wide variety of different medical laboratory sciences, including bacteriology, virology, parasitology, immunology, and mycology and automated processes with potential advancement to Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), or with additional education to department supervisor, laboratory manager, or even laboratory medical director.

Medical Laboratory Requirements

The requirement for most hospitals for MLAs is an associate's degree in laboratory sciences, or an equivalent certificate. The major focus of the curriculum typically lies on chemistry, math, and biology. In addition to on-campus classroom instruction there also are many online courses available for Medical Lab Assistant, however, employers are looking for those who have hands on lab training or experience. Many community colleges and secondary schools offer laboratory training.

Medical Laboratory Assistant Pay

The pay for a MLA is usually between $15 and $21 per hour.  Of course the pay will vary from state to state and depending on the population and healthcare demand in your area. There are many units, specialties, and sub-specialties in a medical laboratory, ranging from:
  • microbiology, which receives almost any clinical specimen, including swabs, feces, urine, blood, sputum, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, as well as possible infected tissue
  • toxicology, which mainly tests for pharmaceutical and recreational drugs
  • immunology, which uses the concept of antigen-antibody interaction as a diagnostic tool, genetics, which mainly performs DNA analysis
  • surgical pathology, which examines organs, limbs, tumors, fetuses, and other tissues biopsied in surgery such as breast mastectomys
  • hematology, and blood specialty labs where whole blood is analyzed for full blood counts, and blood films as well as many other specialized blood tests
These are just a handful of the many different departments and exciting fields in a medical laboratory. If you are  just graduating from high school, or looking for a career that can open doors to bigger and better places in the healthcare industry, then you might want to consider becoming a Medical Laboratory Assistant.

More at Phlebotomy Pages website.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Medical Assistant Students Frustrated About Medical Coding Expectations


Can These Two CPT Codes Be Billed Together?

Medical assistant students enrolled in medical assistant courses often have difficulties understanding the medical billing claim form and have problems understanding evaluation and management codes. We often hear from frustrated students; many wind up venting on one of our active forums.
A medical assistant student recently posted that her instructor wasn't very helpful while teaching the administrative medical assisting module; she felt the instructor apparently wasn't well versed in the medical billing and coding process herself and therefore was unable to explain the process in a manner that made it clear to the class. The students are frustrated and overwhelmed. Another one posted in the forum: I work for a cardiologist. We are trying to get clarification on the following...

Can these two codes be billed together if both of these services are performed?
  • CPT 93454 (Catheter place in coronary arterty(s) for coronary angiography, imaging supervision, and interpretation.)
  • CPT 93458 (with left heart catheterization including intraprocedural injection(s) for left ventriculogy, when performed.
Another question that is often raised in our medical assistant forum is why medical assistant students should have to learn medical coding and billing in the first place, and why it is such an extensive part of the medical assistant certification exams.
I have received emails from frustrated medical assistants who contacted me right after taking their certification exam, where they state that they were totally stumped on the many medical coding questions in the exam. They encountered questions that were multiple choice and asked about specific numeric codes, or modifiers for a given specific diagnosis, or procedure.
Now, ask any medical assistant to give you a specific code without any reference book/manual and he/she would be hard-pressed to give the right one, since there are so many, not to mention specific modifiers. There are codes for evaluation and management from 99201 - 99499, such as 99201 - 99215 for office and other outpatient services; codes for anesthesia from 00100 - 01999, such as 00100 - 00222 for the head; codes for surgery from 10021 - 69990, such as 10021 - 10022 for general, and 60000 - 60699 for the endocrine system, Category II CPT Code(s) – Performance Measurement (optional), Category III CPT Code(s) – Emerging Technology (Category III codes: 0016T - 0207T, to name just a few.
We also heard from a physical therapy instructor who teaches basic medical coding and billing as it pertains to PT because the majority of his students do their own billing and coding, who is equally frustrated at times, not knowing the exact codes and how to apply them.

Do Medical Assistants Really Need Medical Coding Skills?

I can see where medical assistants need to have an idea of medical practice financial management, such as banking deposits, accounting and bookkeeping, dishonored check processing, payroll - and even that is nowadays often outsourced. Nevertheless, in any profession you should get a picture of how the whole kit and caboodle functions to make it run.
I think, as far as medical assistant students are concerned, it is okay to briefly introduce them to the billing and collections process to give them a general understanding of how things work. The medical assisting instructor should also provide commonly used standard forms, such as laboratory requisition slips, which often already have CPT codes already printed on them, a Superbill, health insurance claim forms, medical history, and HCFA-1500 forms for the students to fill out, and practice. This way, they can better address patient questions and communicate with the medical billing and coding staff efficiently should certain issues arise.
However, as far as spending a great amount of time looking up CPT and  ICD-9 codes and drilling billing and coding procedures, and assigning specific codes from memory to procedures, diseases and injuries from memory in final exams, from my perspective as a former working medical assistant and medical assistant program instructor, it seems redundant.

More at Medical Billing and Coding NET website.

A Gentle Touch a Day Keeps White Coat Syndrome At Bay

A medical assistant should know how and be able to provide a personal and caring touch that helps a patient feel comfortable, or at ease. This does not have to always be a physical touch, but can be as little as a friendly gesture and positive attitude. Establishing a pleasant environment can be very important when measuring vital signs; for instance, did you know  that a person’s blood pressure reading will tend to be higher in a hospital, or medical center environment? Yes this is correct. With all of the hustle and bustle on the floors, phones ringing, conversations everywhere, white walls and the pre-mindset, or the hypochondriasis of medical office and hospital settings, these will definitely cause ones blood pressure to rise.

A medical assistant must have the pre-mindset that this hypochondriasis, or more commonly known as white coat syndrome anxiety exists in most patients to varying degrees. The vital signs are the doctor’s window to a persons body, condition, and mindset.  The blood pressure typically rises and falls with the effect of external stimuli, but  the healthcare provider is looking for a BP that is obviously to high, or too low.
The physician is also looking for consistency in blood pressure (BP) readings. The medical assistant can assist the doctor and the patient in getting a more accurate and consistent reading. This can be done by first starting a conversation with the patient; a little friendly talk. Make sure the patient realizes that you are listening.

Give the patient feedback when they tell you about how their day is going, share their health concerns, or describe the pain they are experiencing.  Give a smile or tell a joke if the moment calls for it.  We are not saying that you have to be a psychiatrist. You don’t need to try to solve people's personal problems.  Your objective, in your role as a medical assistant, is to get the patient to relax and get good vital sign readings. You will find that the elderly and young children would need a little more of your personal touch than others.  If you can get them to smile, it might just make their day a little brighter, and therefore yours, and the doctor's as well.

More at Medical Assistant NET website.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Working in the Healthcare Industry


Healthcare is the largest industry in the American economy and includes public and private hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, offices of physicians, dentists and other licensed practitioners, home healthcare services, outpatient care centers and other ambulatory healthcare services and medical and diagnostic laboratories. Occupations within a medical office and healthcare facilities are plenty and varied, and their rate of growth remains rapid and above average.
The list of jobs that are essential to the medical field and healthcare industry is long:
  • physicians
  • surgeons
  • dentists
  • dental hygienists
  • nurses (RN, LPN, LVN)
  • physician’s assistants
  • social workers
  • physical therapists
  • psychiatrists
  • psychologists
  • radiologists
  • audiologists
  • chiropractors
  • dieticians
  • nutritionists
  • pharmacists
  • optometrists
  • podiatrists
  • medical records
  • health information technicians
  • clinical laboratory technologists
  • diagnostic-related technicians
  • emergency medical technicians
  • paramedics
  • ambulance drivers
  • nursing aides
  • home health aides
  • orderlies and attendants
  • occupational therapists
  • speech-language pathologists
  • medical assistants
  • personal and home care aides
  • medical transcriptionists
  • custodial and food service workers
and those functioning in either management or administrative support roles for clinicians who provide direct services.
Many of these occupations, including nursing and medical assisting, often involve potential exposure to airborne and bloodborne infectious disease, needle stick and sharps injuries, back injuries, latex allergy, stress and other dangers. Some are at risk for occupational exposure to a variety of hazardous chemicals and situations that can be physically demanding and stressful; being aware of the potential hazards in the work environment makes them less vulnerable to injury. Past reports issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that musculoskeletal injuries were the most common type of non-fatal injury or illness for nursing, psychiatric and home health aides who represent nearly two-thirds of all healthcare support occupations.
Qualification Standards

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 a reasonable accommodation. 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.

Many healthcare establishments operate around the clock and need staff at all hours. Shift work is common in some of the above mentioned occupations. It is not uncommon for healthcare workers hold more than one part-time job, of which each one comes with unique challenges and health hazards. Healthcare workers, especially nurses, clinical laboratory workers and medical assistants, face unique situations at work of which some may pose safety concerns. 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 duties may result in health or safety consequences.

Exclusion Due to Disability
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.

Many states and localities have disability anti-discrimination laws and agencies responsible for enforcing those laws. EEOC refers to these agencies as “Fair Employment Practices Agencies" (FEPAs). Individuals may file a charge with either the EEOC or a FEPA. If a charge filed with a FEPA is also covered under the ADA, the FEPA will “dual file” the charge with the EEOC but usually will retain the charge for investigation. If an 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.
Healthcare job applicants or 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 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.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Medical Assistant Responsibilities and Day-To-Day Operations


Front Desk Duties

Medical Office Management

Some medical assistants, especially those with combined skills and work experience in the front and back areas can eventually take on the role of the medical office's practice manager and administrator. Naturally, this role brings on a whole new set of duties and responsibilities in day-to-day operations, which may include, but not limited to accounting, marketing, strategic planning, interviewing, hiring, counseling, evaluating, training, scheduling, disciplining and firing staff. Another important aspect of becoming a medical office manager is being familiar with federal, state and local laws concerning the practice of medicine and human resource such as pay roll, sexual harassment, and legislation that addresses the scope of practice of medical office personnel, and guidelines including OSHA, ADA, EOE, FMLA, CLIA, COLA, JCAHO, FACTA, HIPAA, Stark I, II & III.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Medical Assistant Information Technology (IT)

Gone are the days of clip boards and medical charts carried by the medical assistant, or nurse. Today's medical assistants, especially certified medical assistants, are headed toward the future and need to be prepared and well trained in Information Technology ( IT) and computer applications. Many are carrying iPads, smart phones, tablet PCs, and other high tech mobile devices that are directly linked to a central database, or are designed to upload into a central unit.  

A tremendous amount of medical centers, hospitals, ambulatory health clinics, and doctor’s offices are looking for medical assistants trained in computer applications which includes proficiency in appointment scheduling, electronic medical record (EMR) management, medical terminology,  understanding and managing computer databases,  medical transcription, and bookkeeping etc… Some medical assistants may be required to perform medical  billing and coding, medical insurance claims processing, and utilizing CPT and ICD-9 diagnostic codes (soon upgraded to the new ICD-10 already used in Canada and many European countries). 

Judy Jondahl, director of accreditation for the American Association of Medical Assistant (AAMA) who certify thousands of medical assistants year after year, reported that associate degree programs in medical assisting are now putting a bigger focus on information technology skills and requiring IT competency as part of the their curriculum. Two year degree or Associates Certified Medical Assistants programs can provide most of the up to date computer applications training you need to compete in today's computer tech world.  Having these skill will not only help you to get hired, but it would also allow you to earn more than the average or less qualified non-certified medical assistants. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Medical Assistant Unsung Super Hero


Based on my own first-hand experiences as a former Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) I agree with the study mentioned in the recently published article on the CNN News website titled Why Physicians Lie, and find the statement that the doctor-patient relationship is a complex one to be accurate.

Difficult Situations In A Medical Office
Dealing with people who are sick, or have health concerns and feel out of control can be difficult and stressful. Certain medical and healthcare establishments are busier than others by nature, and some experience a higher stress level internally or among their patients depending on the medical specialty and sub-specialty focus area. A pediatric hematology and oncology department, or an OB/Gyn clinic, where the work load is heavy, the hours long, the liability high, and the outcome of a treatment plan not always easily predictable can quickly drive the stress level up on both sides. Certain seasons, like the cold and flu, or allergy season can leave both, the patient and the medical office staff flustered, hoping for better days, especially in a pediatric or internal medicine practice. This is where the doctor’s medical assistant can make a world of a difference. 
Medical Assistant: I've Got The Power!
Remember the old-school classic by Snap! "I've got the power"? This definitely is a song a medical assistant can sing a song about, however, often the medical assistant remains the unsung hero of the medical office.
Medical assistants are the first line representative and “point of service” of the modern medical practice and in an excellent position, often in a better one than the doctor, to recognize, alleviate and ease some of the daily stresses and frustrations through courteous interactions and excellent interpersonal communications skills; as a matter of fact, the medical assistant is often the ONLY person who can put patients at ease even BEFORE they are seen by the doctor in the examination room through mindful interaction and a gentle touch.

How the Medical Assistant Makes a Difference
Doctors generally agree that they depend quite heavily on their medical assisting staff member's 
knowledge and skills to make the day go over well and keep their practice on track.

As far as difficult situations, no one wants to be the bearer of bad news, and doctors are just as human as their patients. To tell a mother her child has a serious disease is never easy. This is where true empathy will make a world of a difference to the patient, and make the doctor’s job and day a little easier.

A friendly “hello, how are you” can go a long way, along with a gentle reminder discretely passed on to the doctor that he/she is on running on schedule, that a patient didn’t show and there is room for a brief break, or that h/she is starting to fall behind the schedule and need to speed up the pace a little to catch up. You can learn more about the

More at Medical Assistant NET website.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Medical Assistant Mobility Now and Beyond


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 68.1 percent of 2010 high school graduates are enrolled in colleges or universities, which means that close to 32% of high school graduates will be entering the job market immediately, or seeking post high school education programs from vocational schools.

Considering the Current Job Market

The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in school was 33.4 percent, compared with 22.8 percent for recent graduates enrolled in college. In layman terms, approximately 1 million people ages 16 through 24 are all in a sudden, and all at once looking for careers, or direction that would lead them towards a happy and prosperous life style through a meaningful career. Now when you add in the number of people who are currently out of work and/or looking to make career changes, then the competition for a good job looks bleak, however, on the flip side, for those who are actively engaged and carefully plotting their career path the future is actually looking very bright, if they choose wisely.

Medical Assistant Career Path Opportunities

The one career path that still holds a lot of promise in the United States and around the world is in the field of healthcare, in particular, the career or job as a medical assistant. For most people, medical assistant is the one career, or job a person can start right out of high school in most states.  Some doctors and medical centers offer on the job training. But the best way to obtain the knowledge you need to be proficient in this craft is to attend some formal training; online or in a classroom.

Advantages of Becoming a Medical Assistant 

The first advantage a career in medical assisting has is take home medical assistant pay. When you consider someone basically coming right out of high school the medical assistant's wages are quite attractive for someone who is just starting out. The lowest 10 percent of people in this field, usually entry level, earn around $20,600 per year.  The highest 10 percent can earn as much as $40,000 per year. Those working in large regional medical centers and hospitals tend to earn even more than those working in physicians offices, outpatient care centers, or health practitioners.

The second advantage the medical assisting career offers is opportunity for mobility.  Medical assistant is the one career that gives you an overall view of the healthcare industry as a whole.  A medical assistant working in an hospital gets to observe and pickup additional skills outside his or her normal job duties.  For instance, the medical assistant takes a patient in, takes the vital signs, brings the patient to the doctor, assists and observes the doctor, refers them to a specialist, or medical technician, such as a phlebotomist, or x-ray technician, again observes and learns, reads the lab reports and other findings to the doctor, and handles many other clinical and administrative duties, such as medical billing, so essential to the health care deliver and medical system.

Medical Assisting As a Spring Board for Higher Goals

This experience provides the person with a foundation to use as a spring board to move on to the next level such as Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN) or a specialty medical technician, or technologist, e.g. in the laboratory, for which many hospitals and medical centers now offer free training or pays for the training on behalf of the employee. A person can literally move all the way from medical assistant to hospital administrator, nurse, or even doctor, if they take advantage of the educational offers so readily available in every state. In the end, the best advantage are the rewards you get from helping others in your community: Priceless.

Photo Credits: Class photo from Ana Rose, Deviant Art.

More at Medical Assistant NET website.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Medical Assistant With Prior Conviction Seeks Job

Phoenix posted the following in our medical assistant forum: 

Friend With Criminal Record Wants to Become a Medical Assistant

My friend lives in California and is considering becoming a MA. The problem is she has a criminal record. She wants to better her life now and start over. Will anyone hire her with such a background?


When potential employers of medical assistants, such as doctors and staffing recruiters review an application for employment and they see a gap of x amount of months, or years, a red flag comes up. I know medical assistants who were arrested and spent time in jail, changed their lives but have a hard time finding employment to earn a living wage and move on.

Finding a job for someone who has legal or criminal issues is difficult, even if it was just for a misdemeanor. Many companies today run background checks and employers use standardized application forms to screen people out. If an application form did not ask for the information, it is probably not relevant to the position, however, if it specifically asks: have you ever been convicted of a felony, then the answer should be yes, and you can list the offense. Unless the application asked specifically about convictions, it is okay to avoid bringing it up as a reason for leaving any prior employment. On the application, I would put "personal reasons."

How to Proceed On the Application and During the Face-To-Face Interview

Do not add on your application: I went to prison on the application form where it asks for the reason for leaving any prior employment, but rather, and if you must, put "personal reasons", or "will  discuss at interview" and then discuss it during the interview.
During the face-to-face interview do this:
  1. Bring it up early
  2. Be upfront
  3. Admit to making a mistake
  4. Say you have learned from this
  5. Keep it short
  6.  Move on 
It may take longer to get an interview then normal, but once you got it, be upfront. Your discussion with the interviewer should be honest and brief! Brief answers should go along the lines that you have made a mistake and paid for it, you have learned a valuable lesson, and would like a chance to prove to yourself and the community that you are a better person than that. That's it! Generalize rather that specify, and provide only what was requested.

"I would like an opportunity to speak to you about my past problems with the law privately." 

If the interviewer wants to know more, answer all questions politely, accurately, and without shame. Your reactions and demeanor will add to the over all impression that you fully understand the mistake you have made, intend to work hard, and not go back to your old ways. The interview is your chance to talk about your skills, discuss details of the job, and not to dwell on the ugly part of your past. Try to keep the conversation as general as possible and continue to remind the employer that it was in the past, you have made restitution, and moved on.

Everybody Deserves a Second Chance

Whenever someone is finger printed this record stays on file with the FBI for ever, even after an expungement, or when the charges were dropped the deferment will always be visible to law enforcement, the court system, and government agencies.

State and Community Funded Organizations that Can Help
Many states and communities in most states have so-called vocational rehab (VR), Work Force Development, and One-Stop Career Center services, some sponsored privately, others sponsored by the US Department of Labor to assist ex-offenders and felons seeking work. Also, there often are various community self-help agencies and workshops specifically targeted toward individuals coming out of jail and trying to make a new start. My recommendation is to explore these options in your own state.


  • Visalia Re-Entry Center (Turning Point, REAP Training Program) is a private company categorized under Employment Agencies and Opportunities that involves a wide network of employers who are willing to give felons a second chance. 
  • FEAP (Fresno Employment Assistance & Placement).  

  • Alaska's Department of Labor and Workforce Development has a Fidelity Bond which offers the employer as an incentive to hire a felon.  The bond protects the employer from losses up to $25,000.00 with approval from the bonding contractor. 

Finally, those seeking a medical assistant job or vocational training that leads to medical assitant diploma should contact the school, or the Department of Education to find out whether they will qualify for federal educational funding, and also contact the AAMA legal department to  find out if a former conviction will keep you from taking their medical assistant certification exam and working as a CMA.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Medical Assistants Specializing in Phlebotomy Credentials


Most certified medical assistants today are trained in the art of venipuncture and phlebotomy. While medical assistants do not draw arterial blood samples, they are able to obtain blood from a vein, usually in the arm,  do the finger sticks and ear lobe pricks, quick test urine tests, spin the blood tubes and preserve the viability of the sample until it gets to the lab.

What Is a Phlebotomist Technician?

The phlebotomist technician is a specialized member of the allied health and interdisciplinary medical services team, whose primary focus lies in the area of blood collection and preserving blood and blood related specimens for diagnostic purposes. In this role they are instrumental to letting people regain or improve their health. Phlebotomist technicians collect blood, urine, and certain other body fluid samples as requested by a physician so that blood tests can be run in a laboratory. They also are qualified to run automated analyzers, equipment and standardized blood test and cultures in the hematology lab themselves. One big employer, to name just one, for phlebotomists and phlebotomy technicians in many locations across the USA is Quest Diagnostics.
Can you see yourself in the role of a phlebotomist providing services to people who are seeking answers regarding their health? Can you imagine yourself helping them by collecting their blood for analysis so that a diagnosis can be made and a treatment plan can be prescribed?

Medical Assisting and Blood Collection Training

Medical assistant training programs are readily available throughout the USA and Canada, and most only take 9-11 months form start to finish. Phlebotomy training programs are even shorter. They may take from just a couple weeks to a couple months.
While most medical assistant training incorporates various blood collection simulations on a synthetic arm, followed by hands-on practice on real persons, typically a fellow student, and later on, on real patients at an externship site to solidify the techniques practiced in class. Those medical assistants who are interested in focusing strictly on this career must keep in mind that it is definitely not for the  squeamish and it can become stressful at times, especially when dealing with fearful children, and people who are afraid of needles, or faint at the sight of blood.
If you are at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma and are highly interested and motivated then you should continue your research, learn all there is to know about the medical assisting and phlebotomy career and take the next step... enroll in either a medical assistant or phlebotomy training program near you to achieve your dream.
Reliable Sources of Further Information
The PhlebotomyTech.com and CertMedAssistant.com websites continue to provide prospective medical assistant students and aspiring phlebotomists with valuable information on all aspects of these rewarding careers, including how to get certified and succeed. Page, after page, you learn about what a phlebotomist or medical assistant is, does, and needs to know to earn their credentials. These websites also lets prospective program students instantly locate and explore vocational training schools online. The so-called "Find a School by ZIP code widget" on top of every page throughout these sites provide reliable school information and lets you research more than one school at a time, thus saving tons of time.

More at Medical Assistant NET website.

Those Who Wish To Become a Phlebotomist

Can you see yourself in the role of a phlebotomist providing services to people who are seeking answers regarding their health? Can you imagine yourself helping them by collecting their blood for analysis so that a diagnosis can be made and a treatment plan can be prescribed?

The Phlebotomist

The phlebotomist is a specialized member of the allied health and interdisciplinary medical services team, whose primary focus lies in the area of blood collection and preserving blood and blood related specimens for diagnostic purposes. In this role they are instrumental to letting people regain or improve their health.

Phlebotomists collect blood, urine, and certain other body fluid samples as requested by a physician so that blood tests can be run in a laboratory. One big employer, to name just one, for phlebotomists and phlebotomy technicians in many locations across the USA is Quest Diagnostics.

Phlebotomy Training

Formal phlebotomy training is readily available and affordable. It usually incorporates various blood collection simulations on a synthetic arm, followed by hands-on practice on real persons, typically a fellow student, and later on, on real patients at an externship site to solidify the techniques practied in class. Those interested in this career must keep in mind that it is definitely not for the  squeamish.

Upon Graduation...

Most phlebotomy training program graduates decide to become certified upon completion of their training. Certification is a document that affirms that a person's knowledge meets basic requirements of established industry standards and is proficient to do the job. Furthermore, industry recognized certifications provide credentials that create trust with employers and the public. One example of a trusted certification sponsor in the USA is the American Medical Technologists (AMT), a well recognized and respected allied health professional membership association that holds their Registered Phlebotomist Technician (RPT) examination via Prometric testing throught the year.

So, if this is for you, and you are at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma and are highly motivated then you should continue your research, learn all there is to know about the phlebotomy career and take the next step... enroll in a phlebotomy training program near you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

If You Want to Become a Medical Assistant


If you want to become a medical assistant your objective is to find credible and certified medical assistant schools and programs in your local area. There are medical assisting self-study courses that you can take online to obtain your medical assistant degree or certification.Most states offer medical assistant training in both the public and private sector. This includes training from post-secondary vocational schools, vocational training institutions that are privately owned and for profit, and community colleges which are funded by the community and state, and not for profit.

Generally the training and diploma programs at any of these schools are one to one-and-a-half years. There also are online accredited medical assistant schools with programs to complete and earn a recognized vocational diploma completely online.

The Medical Assistant Net website continues to provide prospective medical assistant students with valuable information about all aspects of the medical assistant career. Page, after page, you learn about what a medical assistant is, does, and needs to know. The site also lets prospective medical assistant students instantly locate and explore vocational training schools online.

The so-called "Find a School by ZIP code" widget on top of every page throughout the Medical Assistant NET at www.medicalassistant.net website allows immediate information and lets them research more than one school at a time. Medical assistant training programs are readily available throughout the USA and Canada, and there is one for everybody that wishes to become a medical assistant often in just 9-11 months!

If you are highly motivated and see yourself eventually pursuing a career in nursing or higher, we strongly recommend that you enroll in a 2 year program at a local college or online program from a college leading to an associate in applied science degree (AS or AAS). In many cases, some of the college credits you have earned in an associate degree program can be transferred into another higher education program, e.g. to become a licensed practical nurse, RN, or earn a related Bachelors degree, such as in hospital administration, medical technician, ultrasound technologist, and health care management in the future.

More at Medical Assistant NET website.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Identity and Role of Today's Modern Medical Assistant

Do you have what it takes to become a medical assistant?

Almost all medical offices, practices and clinics are now employing between one and three medical assistants, it not more, to help them run and manage their business. Patients are considered customers and medical assistants are the first line representative when they come to see the doctor.

While the doctor conducts an objective and subjective assessment of the patient’s medical needs and prescribes a treatment plan and medications, it is the medical assistant who is responsible for all other business and customer service aspects of the visit, directly or indirectly, since telephone calls are also answered and routed by the  medical assistant.

Traits Of The Modern Medical Assistant

Medical assistants must the flexible and responsive and caring as they assist the doctor. As now and existing patients arrive for their appointment they document their demographic and health insurance information to register them into the system, help them fill out forms, copy insurance cards and verify health insurance eligibility, take vital signs, take and route messages for the doctor, respond to prescription refill requests, manage the patient’s medical records, maintain the waiting room, reception area, examination rooms, storage, supply and archive closets, and greet patients as they arrive. For every nurse in an ambulatory medical office or facility is at least one, or two medical assistant helping with crucial tasks, however, medical assistants are not allowed to do any tasks that lie outside their scope of practice.

Politely Correcting Misunderstandings

The medical assistant should immediately correct the misunderstanding and politely tell the patient that he, or she is a medical assistant who works for doctor “so-and-so”. Such misunderstandings can easily be prevented by wearing a clearly visible name tag and via proper introduction right at the beginning of every appointment visit. It only takes a second to say, my name is Paula, I am your doctor’s medical assistant. Proper introduction at the workplace falls right in line with professional conduct, excellent communication and customer service skills in the medical office. It is only through effective communication that medical assistants are able to identify the goals of individual people and the healthcare system.

To function effectively in their role as a medical assistant they must be informed and skilled participants in all areas of the medical office. They are expected to interact well with others and communicate well under different conditions. The development of required knowledge and skills is dependent upon their commitment to seeking out continuing education learning experiences across the entire spectrum of medical office and health care services.

More at Medical Assistant NET website.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Medical Assistant Salary


We often receive questions from aspiring medical assistants about medical assistant salaries, how much a new medical assistant can expect to earn and what the average wages for experienced medical assistants who graduated from a medical assisting training program might be. Unfortunately there are so many facets to the medical assisting career and too many nuances depending on the job's location, local job market, employer's expectations, work work load, hours, and benefits that it is nearly impossible to answer this question regarding medical assistant pay with an exact figure.

Who Pays Better Medical Assistant Wages?

We know that family and  general primary care physicians do not pay their medical assistants nearly as much as doctors in specialty offices can offer, mostly because primary care physicians often are members of HMOs and bound by contracts with the health care insurance companies, such as Medicare, Blue Cross - Blue Shield, Tricare, and such. Whatever they pay out to them, which is often much less than billed, must first cover the doctor's salary, and then office expenses, utilities, supplies, professional malpractice insurance premiums, professional membership dues and fees, licenses and continuing education expenses, before they pay their staff. Often, there is not much left to go around and the medical assistant is often the person lowest on the totem pole, so to speak.

On the other hand, health and medical services from specialty physicians, or surgeons often are more complex so they cost more, and the doctor earns more and can afford to pay the medical assistant a better salary.

Average Medical Assistant Hourly Wage

If a medical assistant's annual salary is $38,000 working 2,000 hours a year, it is the equivalent to an average hourly wage of $19 per hour. As a simple baseline calculation, you can assume two weeks of paid vacation per year. That leaves 50 working weeks, and if you work the typical 40 hours a week, then you have a total of 2,000 hours of work each year. In this case, you can quickly compute the hourly wage by dividing the annual salary by 2000.

Here is a small selection of medical assistant jobs and other related medical office jobs in Western Massachusetts as seen on the Indeed.com medical assistant salary guide on 10 February 2012, which gives you a general idea and simple baseline. As you see in the below examples, annual salaries range anywhere between $67,000 for the occupational therapy assistant and $27,000 for the medical administrative assistant in our area.

Medical Records Field Technician in Springfield, MA


Physical Therapy Assistant Travel in Springfield, MA


Medical Office Assistant in Springfield, MA


Medical Administrative Assistant in Springfield, MA


Certified Medical Assistant in Springfield, MA


Office Administrative Assistant in Springfield, MA


Medical Assistant in Springfield, MA


Occupational Therapy Assistant in Springfield, MA


Medical Support Assistant in Springfield, MA


Nursing Assistant in Springfield, MA


Certifited Occupational Therapist Assistant in Springfield, MA


More at Medical Assistant NET website.