As you already know, the medical assisting career is a about CARING and helping people with medical needs and health concerns in an ambulatory setting. It is a highly rewarding discipline among the various health care professions. The Best Jobs of 2012 published by US News lists medical assisting as a high in demand career.
Someone once said: “Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful.”
As a medical assistant you may perform administrative and clinical duties under the direction of a medical doctor, clinician, or physician.
What is Expected of the Medical Assistant
Medical assistants typically work 5-6 days per week full or part-time in a medical office, clinic or ambulatory health care facility. They must know what is expected of them and understand what they can and cannot do. This is called their “scope of practice” and is usually outlined in the office’s Policies and Procedures Handbooks and a detailed job description. One thing can never be stressed enough: in your role as a medical assistant you must ALWAYS work under the direct supervision of a licensed physician or health care practitioner who is physically present at the facility whenever you provide DIRECT patient care as required of your job.
Administrative duties typically include scheduling appointments for new and existing patients, and maintaining health insurance, medical billing and coding records for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood and administering medications as directed by the supervising physician.
Credentials Behind Your Name
When you notice such letters as CMA, RMA, NRCMA, SCMA, or CCMA after the medical assistant’s name, e.g. on the #name tag or immediately following their initials or signature, it means you are looking at a fully qualified medical assistant who earned credentials to meet the employers and patients expectations, as well as the “credentialed medical assistant” requirements under the September 5, 2012 rule of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (see: Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs). Now, that’s a true professional and dedication, isn’t it?
The Medicare EHR Incentive Program
- The Medicare EHR Incentive Program provides incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs that demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.
- Eligible professionals can receive up to $44,000 over five years under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. There’s an additional incentive for eligible professionals who provide services in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HSPA).To get the maximum incentive payment, Medicare eligible professionals must begin participation by 2012.
These credentials are earned by passing a standardized certification exam through an entity that governs or organizes the profession, such as a professional membership association for medical assistants like the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Their CMA certification exam covers a wide spectrum of clinical and administrative areas in the medical field and any person who passes it has achieved the highest level of career focused skill and proficiency in their discipline.
Unfortunately, like with any career, medical assisting also comes with a few downsides, such as a demanding schedule, high expectations from the public, potential exposure to diseases, a general lack of regulations, poorly defined rules and relatively low pay when compared to other health careers. A survey revealed that while this career provides medium-high to high job security a higher salary would increase the level of job satisfaction.