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Certified Medical Assistants and Their Benefits Essay

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Updated: Dec 28th, 2020

Introduction

The physicians of Hamilton Gastroenterology Group have requested for specific research devoted to the advantages and disadvantages of hiring Certified Medical Assistants. A medical assistant is a person who should keep too much information in his/her mind. Billing, insurance, scheduling, managed care, etc. are the tasks each medical assistant should care about, and this list can be continued perpetually (The American Association of Medical Assistants n.p).

Patient care should be in the first place. The performance of all these tasks can be professionally completed by a certified employee who has been taught to deal with such staff professionally and in short periods. So, it can hint that to hire Certified Medical Assistants is an advantage, but it is important to check the financial efficiency. Thus, the main purpose of this research is to check the monetary and time-saving advantages and disadvantages of hiring Certified Medical Assistants and point to the benefits Certified Medical Assistants provide for patients.

Background

Hamilton Gastroenterology Group needs help in understanding whether Certified Medical Assistants are really important for medical practice and can bring direct revenue and indirect benefit or it is just a waste of time. Some specific information has been considered from the secondary sources as the research in the sphere has been provided by some organizations. To understand whether Certified Medical Assistants are beneficial for medical practice, it is important to understand the main idea of the certification. Medical certification is “a professional seal of approval issued by the American Association of or the AAMA to those who have passed the Certification or Recertification Examination conducted by them” (Daniel n.p.).

Dwelling upon medical assistants’ certification, Balasa is sure that employing Certified Medical Assistants is “a cost-effective way of providing high-quality care” (1). Certified Medical Assistants are trained to cope with numerous tasks, they are offered more knowledge and acquire specific skills that are unavailable for Medical Assistants who have not got accreditation. The desire to make thorough research in the consideration of advantages and disadvantages of hiring Certified Medical Assistants in Hamilton Gastroenterology Group, an interview was conducted with Lisa Balderson, R.N., B.S.N

Head Nurse/Human Resource Manager at the organization and a survey for 60 patients to check the level of their satisfaction with the received services.

Discussion

Getting down to close discussion of the results of the research we have got and the secondary sources related to the area of interest, it should be mentioned that to conclude financial and time-saving advantages and disadvantages of hiring Certified Medical Assistants and the patients’ benefits, the following issues should be discussed, revenue, time management, and indirect benefits. Before a close discussion of each of these points, it is important to point to the results of our research.

According to Lisa Balderson’s personal opinion Certified Medical Assistants are more knowledgeable and skillful. An obligation to re-take the certification test every two years helps them be aware of the latest tendencies and innovations which happen in the medical sphere. Employment of only Certified Medical Assistants is a great advantage for medical practice as they can professionally do most tasks and also complete the procedures which cannot be done by simple Medical Assistants (Bureau of Labor Statistics n.p.; Balderson n.p.).

Bureau of Labor Statistics has provided projections data for Certified Medical Assistants (2).

Figure 1: Employment Projections for Certified Medical Assistants.

Occupational title SOC Code Employment, 2008 Projected Employment, 2018 Change, 2008-2018
Number Percent
Certified Medical Assistant 31-9092 483,600 647,500 163,900 34

There are a lot of ideas devoted to projections that are going to increase the revenue of medical institutions if Certified Medical Assistants are employed. Many practitioners admit that by hiring certified employees they are more confident of their skills and knowledge and can remain calm about the quality of the provided services in their practice (Tach and Chapman 51).

Certified Medical Assistants can increase the revenue of the organization using performing more specific tasks and occupy higher positions that can reduce the necessity to take a person from outside. A medical establishment will not have to spend money on training as a certified person has been working as an assistant and the shift to the managerial position is provided with much information and experience in working at a specific company. Thus, certification of the employees can become stimuli for career development, even though medical assistants do not have many opportunities for career ladder (Chapman, Marks, and Chan 2).

Lisa Balderson says that there is no specific difference in salaries for Certified and non-Certified Medical Assistants in Hamilton Gastroenterology Group, but according to the demand for those who have got accreditation these rules are going to be reviewed and many factors will be covered in the salary calculation, like the certificate possession, performance, experience, etc. The experience of other organizations shows that the salaries of Certified Medical Assistants are higher, they make about 5-10% more than their non-certified colleagues (Tach and Chapman 53).

Discussing time management, it should be mentioned that nurses often perform administrative tasks due to the high amount of work that should be done. The possibility to hire Certified Medical Assistants who are responsible for doing all administrative tasks and can cope with them faster and with fewer attempts is one more reason to pay more attention to accredited medical assistants rather than on non-certified ones. Lisa Balderson also states that there is no need to explain how a work should be done as Certified Medical Assistants are aware of the latest tendencies due to the re-testing every two years.

Duties Performed by Certified Medical Assistants.
Figure 2: Duties Performed by Certified Medical Assistants.

Considering the advantage in time management for staff, it can be concluded that Certified Medical Assistants have been taught to perform the tasks professionally. It is always much better to coordinate a time and schedule the staff responsibilities when one has skills in performing such tasks. A team model has been considered as a variant to substitute a 15-minute visit to primary care professionals. Having divided a work with a patient into four specific stages, this can help not only reduce the time on providing services but also increase the quality and productivity of the visit (Bodenheimer and Laing 457).

When staff performs the duties they are strictly assigned to and can cope with doing it properly, the whole practice benefits. Proper time management directly influences satisfaction with medical care for several reasons. According to the research conducted by Bodenheimer and Laing, 50% of patients do not understand what they were prescribed with, 25% of patients are unable to point to their concerns due to constant interruptions, and 42% of physicians point to the inability to pay necessary attention to their patients (457). All these problems appear due to the inability to manage time at the workplace and lack of knowledge on how to do it. Certified Medical Assistants can easily cope with this task due to good knowledge in the sphere.

Turning to the discussion of the patients’ satisfaction from the work with Certified Medical Assistants, the results of the survey should be considered. Thus, 55 of 60 patients said that they would better work with Certified Medical Assistants. The following diagrams point to the results of the survey where patients were questioned about the specifics of the services they were provided with and their level of satisfaction with them. The numbers in the horizontal line show the number of questions.

Patient Satisfaction Survey Results.
Figure 3: Patient Satisfaction Survey Results.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Thus, it can be concluded that the increased demand for quality personnel and highly experienced staff may lead to the situation when practices will require only Certified Medical Assistants. This demand can be easily explained. Even though the wages of Certified Medical Assistants are higher, the responsibilities they perform are more professional and completed faster. Moreover, accredited professionals can provide services simple medical assistants do not have a right to do.

The employment of Certified Medical Assistants also increases patients’ satisfaction which is considered to be a strong motivator for the practice owner to hire only assistants who have received a certificate along with good knowledge, high skills, and other positive features. The work done by Certified Medical Assistants is time-saving as these people can manage their time and monetary advantages as they complete more tasks and can serve more patients. The patients’ satisfaction from being served by a Certified Medical Assistant is much higher as people want to make sure of their safety and that they are secured when treated by a professional.

Works Cited

Balasa, Donald A. “New roles for the certified medical assistant to enhance quality and effectiveness of care.” Journal of Medical Practice Management. 2008. Web.

Bodenheimer, Thomas, and Brian Yoshio Laing. “The team model of primary care.” Ann Fam Med 5.5 (2007): 457-461. Web.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. “Medical Assistants.” Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Ed. Web.

Chapman, Susan, Marks, Angela, and Melanie Chan. “The increasing role of medical assistants in small primary care physician practice: key issues and policy implications.” Center for the Health Professions, 2010. University of California, San Francisco, California. Web.

Daniel, Samuel. “Benefits of getting a medical assistant certification.” Ezine Articles n.d. Web.

Tach, Stephanie, and Susan Chapman. “What a medical assistant can do for your practice.” Fam Pract Manag 12.4(2005): 51-54. Web.

The American Association of Medical Assistants. “CMA(AAMA): The smart staffing solution.” Web.

Appendix A

Interview Questions and Answers of Lisa Balderson, R.N, B.S.N

Interviewee: Lisa Balderson, R.N., B.S.N

Head Nurse/Human Resource Manager at Hamilton Gastroenterology Group

What are your major duties as the Head Nurse/Human Resource Manager at Hamilton Gastroenterology? How many medical assistants are employed with the group?

My major duties here at Hamilton GI are many triage issues, assessing emergencies, and overseeing the 6 nurses we have on staff. The doctor’s Resource Manager I am in charge of interviewing potential employees, posting the weekly schedule for all clinical staff, payroll, and billing issues. There are so many other things I do daily I couldn’t even begin to list them all. I pretty much do whatever is necessary at any given time.

How many of those medical assistants are certified?

We have 14 medical assistants on staff; only 4 are CMA’s. The other 10 have numerous years of experience but are not “technically” certified.

Are there different duties assigned to the certified medical assistants versus non-certified?

The duties that our medical assistants perform are pretty uniform throughout the office. One major difference between what our CMA’s do, compared to our MA’s is that the CMA can perform phlebotomy. This is has been a huge help to our practice since now we can have the blood drawn in the office and can get results much faster. Additionally, the CMA’s are qualified to perform EKG’s.

Do you prefer working with one of the two due to their knowledge and skill?

I do prefer to work with the CMA’s because they are much more knowledgeable, especially when it comes to new procedures and technologies. The CMA’s must re-take their certification test every two years and must have a certain amount of CLE’s, so they are always improving on their knowledge and skill.

Do you bill for the certified medical assistants’ time?

The practice just started billing for CMA’s time and we can only bill certain insurance companies at present. This is something that we are just embarking on.

If you do bill, how much revenue has it generated?

We will not know exactly how much revenue will be generated by billed for CMA’s time for at least 6 months. The billing cycles are such that it takes a couple of cycles to see what type of revenue we will be receiving, but something is better than nothing.

Even though hiring a certified medical assistant may cost more, has it brought more revenue to the office, and why?

The MA’s salaries vary and up until recently were pretty much based on experience. The certification was not an issue until the employees that were certified brought it to our attention. We are revamping our salary brackets to take into consideration longevity, qualifications, and experience. Again, the issue of revenue is yet to be determined but through our research, we believe that it will increase.

Should there be more strict regulations on hiring certified medical assistants and why?

Yes, I think there should be more strict regulations. I know shortly it is going to become a liability issue hiring non-certified MA’s, thus negatively affecting the practice and its revenue.

Do you believe the practice has benefited overall from having only certified medical assistants?

I believe the practice will only benefit if it hires only CMA’s. I think it will bring much more knowledge and professionalism to the practice. Additionally, it will take some of the responsibilities of the nurses, which will allow us to perform more nursing tasks and fewer administrative tasks.

Do you think it makes a difference to the patients if the people that are caring for them have a certification?

If a patient sees the word certified on the MA’s name tag, I believe it does make them more comfortable and at ease. Patients want security and they want to have confidence in who is treating them. Again, if we have qualified, confident CMA’s they can take on more responsibilities and that can only benefit the patient and the practice.

Appendix B

Patient Satisfaction Survey

We would greatly appreciate you filling out the survey below so we can assess your overall satisfaction with our office and its employees. Please circle the most appropriate number as follow:

  1. Satisfied
  2. Unsatisfied
  3. Improvement Needed
  • Overall were you satisfied with your visit?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Were you checked in within a reasonable time?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • How would you rate the Medical Assistant’s performance?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • How would you rate the Medical Assistant’s performance?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Would you prefer your Medical Assistant to be certified?
    • Yes
    • No
  • How satisfied were you with the doctor?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Were you satisfied with how the medical assistant scheduled a follow- up, making sure you had all the appropriate paperwork for procedures and/or prescriptions?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • How satisfied were you with the CMA’s performance in drawing blood?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Was it more convenient for you to have your blood work done in the office
    • Yes
    • No
  • Would you recommend our practice to someone else?
    • Yes
    • No

Thank you for participating in this survey.

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1. IvyPanda. "Certified Medical Assistants and Their Benefits." December 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/certified-medical-assistants-and-their-benefits/.


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