HAMLET — Technology has transformed the way the world communicates and does business, which as a result has created many new jobs that didn’t even exist less than 10 years ago. One of those evolving jobs due to the digital age we live in is the “credentialed medical assistant” who enters data into a patient’s electronic health record.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide incentive payments to eligible professionals and hospitals who adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology. An electronic health record is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart.
To meet the needs of this federal incentive program, many hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities have job openings for certified medical assistants. A quick search of FirstHealth of the Carolinas’ and Scotland Health Care System’s websites shows multiple openings for certified medical assistants.
“FirstHealth employs certified medical assistants with current certifications from the Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants and the American Medical Technologists, both nationally recognized certifying organizations,” said Teresa Sessoms, director of recruitment, Moore Regional Hospital-Human Resources. “Certified medical assistants trained in phlebotomy are also considered for positions in the laboratory setting as phlebotomists and specimen processors. Furthermore, FirstHealth does use certified medical assistants to enter orders into medical records as approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid on Jan. 1, 2013.”
Richmond Community College offers an associate degree in Medical Assisting, which prepares multi-skilled health care professionals qualified to perform administrative, clinical, and laboratory procedure. Course work includes instruction in scheduling appointments coding and processing insurance accounts, billing collections, medical transcription, computer operations, electrocardiogram, supervised medication administration and the ethical and legal issues associated with patient care.
Graduates of CAAHEP-accredited medical assisting programs may be eligible to sit for the American Association of Medical Assistant Certification Examination to become certified medical assistants.
“At Richmond Community College, we strive to prepare our students for 21st century careers, and the Medical Assisting program is a great example of how we are meeting the demands of today’s healthcare environment,” said Dr. Dale McInnis, college president.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rule, only “credentialed medical assistants” (as well as licensed healthcare professionals) are permitted to enter medication, laboratory, and radiology orders into the EHR and have such entry count toward meeting the meaningful use requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
Data entry by someone other than a credentialed medical assistant or a licensed health care professional could result in the loss of 100 percent of the incentive payment.
RichmondCC is now accepting new students into the Medical Assisting program for the 2018 Spring Semester. It is free to apply and the application is completed online at http://richmondcc.edu/admissions/how-apply. Spring semester begins Jan. 5.
For more information about the Medical Assisting program, call Allied Health Department Chair Renea Craven at 910-410-1888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.