Medical assistants help form the backbone of the medical care industry. They are always required in any medical setting to fill a variety of essential roles. Everything medical assistants do, from administrative to clinical work, helps maintain the proper function of any medical office. In the state of Ohio, the climbing number of medical practices opening up throughout the state requires reliable, trained employees. Ohio offers special access to career fast tracks for aspiring medical assistants through the availability of nationally recognized certification programs. Not only is Ohio unique in that entrance to nationally sponsored training programs is made easier, Ohio law is particularly lenient on medical certification. Not all companies or care facilities require their medical assistants to possess extensive prior training or education.
Medical assistants in Ohio have the distinction of being able to stand solely on certification as an American Medical Technologist (AMT) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). As long as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) sponsors the program, entering the field is made easier than ever. Overall eligibility criteria in Ohio are not only easier to meet, business-networking websites have a rising number of employment opportunities throughout the state in a variety of desirable cities. The list of delegated responsibilities a medical assistant in Ohio is legally allowed to do is more extensive, allowing for more diverse and rewarding work experiences. Ohio allows physicians to delegate a great many tasks to medical assistants as long as the tasks do not require medical decision-making.
If you are looking to branch into the medical field, training as a medical assistant is an excellent starting point for those more intrigued by the administrative or task management/organizational side of medical care. Medical assistants worked actively to fill a variety of roles throughout a given day or work week. Medical assistants work in partnership with patients, fellow staff and physicians to accomplish a great many clinical and administrative duties. This blend of administrative and clinical work situates assistants in a position of front-line aid as they make contact with the public in addition to office management. Most medical assistants will learn ICD-10 codes for a variety of insurance providers. Assistants will also analyze patient charts through electronic software applications, and learn the basics of billing and accounting and act as the primary patient liaison.
Some medical assistants will have the ability to train more on the administrative/technical side of the world of medicine. Alternately, assistants may gravitate more to hands-on roles, acting as clinical assistants. Training in the field is relatively quick, especially in Ohio. A majority of medical assistant training programs can be completed in 1 to 2 years stopped. Training may include courses in medical ethics and law or general first aid training. Such skills will come in handy in the pursuit of many other jobs. Ohio offers a great many internship jobs and additional programs to increase the ease of entering the field professionally.
According to the 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field’s projected growth between 2012 and 2022 is roughly 23%. Medical assistants can expect a flexible schedule of primarily full-time work (roughly 40 hours a week). Flexible scheduling is far more doable for medical assistants as the rising number of hospitals and practices providing service on weekends, evenings and holidays need helpful staff. In Ohio, there are more opportunities for part-time or as-needed work to accommodate the lifestyles of employees.
The broadest list of responsibilities for a medical assistant include (but are not limited to):
• Reporting to practice administrators of clinical coordinators
• Performing nursing procedures with the supervision of physicians assistants or physicians themselves
• Escorting patients to their exam rooms, conducting interviews with patients, measuring vital signs, measuring weight, blood pressure, temperature or polls
• Documenting all patient information and clinical charts
• Providing instructions to patients as dictated by physicians assistants or physicians
• Making sure all lab reports, clinical summaries and other information is correctly filed and made available during and after patient appointments
• Checking exam room stock, preparing exam rooms with medical supplies, proper instruments and sterile conditions
• Taking telephone messages and giving answers and feedback to patients, pharmacies, insurance providers and physicians
• Processing messages from triage, front office staff, patients, physicians assistants and physicians
• Maintaining accurate logs for all required regulation checks including emergency medications, refrigeration checks, expired medicines, cold sterilization fluid changes, temperature management, oxygen, etc.
• Carrying out any additional duties as assigned by clinical coordinators, physicians, faculty or practice administrators
Medical assistant duties are often broken down into two categories: administrative and clinical duties. Administrative duties often include: meeting and greeting patients, answering phones, entering information into computer applications, filing and updating clinical medical records, filing and coding insurance forms, appointment booking, arranging for laboratory service and hospital admissions, communicating with billing and bookkeeping faculty and coordinating correspondences.
Clinical duties primarily include compiling medical history reports on patients, communicating well with patients to explain procedures and treatment plans, readying patients for examination, assisting doctors and physician assistants throughout exams, preparing and collecting lab specimens, conducting standard laboratory testing, providing patients with instructions about medications or dietary plans, authorization of prescription refills when directed, changing dressings or removing sutures from patients, conducting electrocardiograms and phlebotomy work (blood draws).
Medical assistants are sometimes also referred to as patient liaisons. Patient liaisons are pivotal in assisting patients in feeling comfortable in physicians’ offices and further explaining instructions given by physicians. Patient liaisons are responsible for communicating effectively and delivering a sense of ease throughout a medical visit. Clinical medical assistants, while not qualified to perform the same procedures that primary care physicians, surgeons, RNs and other healthcare providers do, nonetheless provide an essential service to patients. Clinical medical assistants can perform noninvasive exams, supervise physician procedures, carry out tasks under the instruction of physicians and communicate with patients much like a doctor or nurse. Clinical assistants can provide important clinical information, instruction and assistance to patients when physicians are swamped.
Medical assistants will spend a fair amount of time interpreting information given by patients to doctors, nurses, practice administrators and other staff. Medical histories, current patient symptoms, risk factors, relevant concerns and patient records are all compiled by a medical assistant and delivered to the appropriate parties. In turn, medical assistants work with physicians and patients to form accurate diagnoses, communicate instructions on treatment plans, prescribe medications and work in partnership to ensure patient recovery.
Working with patients at clinical appointments can also be a lengthy process as medical assistants inform them about the steps of each exam or treatment regimen. Administering medications is often the role of medical assistants. Assistants are often responsible for preparing and delivering medicines to patients and coordinating with pharmacies for prescription refills when necessary. Additionally, assistants may take vitals or draw blood or other bodily specimens from patients.
Collecting specimens and recording patient results in medical charts must be done carefully and accurately. Replacing wound dressing such as castor bandages often falls on the shoulders of medical assistants, requiring special levels of care for young people and elderly individuals.
Administrative medical assistants often man the front desk of medical practices. Common assignments include orienting new patients along with their families and coordinating with parents, guardians, family members or other responsible third parties. Medical assistants working within larger practices may be asked to operate visitor check-ins for current patients at outpatient centers or hospitals. Managing appointment scheduling, depending on the work setting, often entails secretarial-style work to ensure quality of scheduling. Assistants are in charge of issuing reminders of upcoming visits, providing an up-to-date calendar for faculty on patient visits and keeping a medical office generally up-to-date and organized.
Medical assistants will often touch bases with insurance companies to complete insurance forms, contact providers and assist patients with any insurance-related concerns or questions. Many hospitals, clinics and physicians offices rely on in-house insurance coders and pillars to maintain a handle on difficult insurance demands. Medical assistants often fill the shoes of providing both administrative and technical assistance on insurance-related issues. Familiarity with technology is a pivotal part of medical assistant’s work as entering patient data and providing a virtual database for healthcare facilities is an essential tool. Medical assistants regularly enter or update patient records and organize faculty files to maintain efficiency through a variety of medical software portals.
The entry-level required education for a medical assistant is a high school diploma. While some employers may prefer advanced qualifications and some training programs may prefer advanced degrees, many opportunities are open for those with a high school diploma or GED. To become a certified medical assistant, one is expected to provide diploma documentation to meet eligibility criteria required by the American Association of Medical assistants. In order to become eligible, one must pass the certified medical assistant exam, complete a formal program for medical assistant certification from an accredited school in the state of Ohio or transferable to the state of Ohio.
Becoming certified through the AAMA demonstrates to employers, coworkers, and patients that you have mastered the knowledge and skills necessary to provide high quality service. Programs must be sponsored by the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Official transcripts, passage of exams and nonrefundable fees ranging from $125 for AAMA members to $250 for non-AAMA members must be completed. To check a medical assistants training program for accreditation, when can check ABHES or CAAHEP sponsored websites for a list of accredited programs throughout the state of Ohio. Accreditation from out of state may be transferable more easily due to the high demand for medical assistants in the state of Ohio. Certification is good for five years and is comparatively easy to renew.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly rate of pay for a medical assistant in Ohio is $13.16. There is a wide variety of variance from city to city in Ohio but the biggest cities ranking in the highest figures. Toledo is considered the highest paying city in the state at $14.46 on average. Smaller cities including Mansfield and Lima report averages around $14. Cleveland, comparatively, is slightly lower at $13.01. Columbus and Dayton are listed at $13.64 and $13.39. The desirability of working in nonmetropolitan regions is a bit lower in the state of Ohio. However, cost of living in nonmetropolitan regions is a bit lower. Cost-of-living may be easier to manage in areas where the rate of pay for medical assistants is not as high.
As stated by CareerOneStop, sponsored by the Department of Labor, Ohio's industry for medical assistants is expected to experience a 29% growth between now and 2018. An average 890 medical assistant positions are expected to open up each year in the state of Ohio. Business networking websites such as OhioMeansJobs provide an excellent resource for prospective medical assistants looking to network with local businesses and find employment. Job postings for medical assistant positions are frequently listed through a variety of state-sponsored job seeker websites. Top Ohio cities in which to seek employment with entry level certification include: Akron, Canton, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Cuyahoga Falls, Dayton, Elyria, Euclid, Hamilton, Lakewood, Lima, Lorain, Mansfield, Middletown, Newark, Portsmouth, Springfield, Toledo and Youngstown.
Medical assistants can look forward to health benefits including medical, dental and vision coverage, potential retirement plans, career advancement opportunities, the possibility of paid vacations, sick leave and more. Medical assistants will be able to gradually hone medical skills and knowledge, get educated on the ins and outs of medical practice, interact with a diverse client base and choose a subfield of assistance they find most personally desirable.