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What is a medical assistant?
A Medical Assistant’s primary goal is to assist in patient care. This is done by helping physicians examine and treat patients, and perform tasks necessary to keep the office running smoothly and efficiently.
In small practices, medical assistants are generally required to perform both administrative as well as clinical duties. In larger practices, they generally perform more specifically as administrative or clinical assistants, perhaps even taking on a specialized role.
Certification for Medical Assistants
Several testing programs are available to students who wish to become “Certified” Medical Assistants. This is an option available to graduates to pursue on their own. Certification is not currently required of medical assistants in the State of California.
Certification is provided through the following three associations:
- 1. California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants
- 2. American Association of Medical Assistants
- 3. American Medical Technologists
Certification through the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants is highly recommended.
According to the 2010-11 Occupational Outlook Handbook, job prospects for Medical Assistants are excellent.
"Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 34 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations."
"Job opportunities should be excellent, particularly for those with formal training or experience, and certification." http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos164.htm
BUS V97 - Mult-Skilled Medical Assisting - 16 Units
Ventura College’s Multi-Skilled Medical Assisting Program is an intensive short-term training program designed to prepare students for employment in the medical field as administrative and clinical medical assistants. This program is also an excellent training program for career enhancement for those seeking to expand their skills in the medical field and advance into new job positions.
This is an 18-week program that runs from 8:00 AM to 1:50 PM on Monday through Thursday during the Spring and Fall semesters. The summer program is usually condensed into a 9-week program.
Training includes three main areas of study: General Medical Education, Administrative and Insurance Skills, and Clinical Skills.
Students must achieve 70% in all skills to complete the program.
Students must successfully complete both the front and back office components of the program. Students who successfully complete the program receive a certificate stating that they completed the course. They also receive 16 units of college credit. Applications for the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants are provided to students who successfully complete the program.
Student Learning Outcomes:
(1) Given the responsibilities of a front office and back office medical assistant, students who successfully complete this course will be able to demonstrate competency in a wide variety of both administrative and clinical skills as measured by instructor observation and written examinations.
What does the Medical Assisting Program teach?
Front Office Skills:
Our students produce a personal portfolio with samples of the skills performed in our own “clinic”. We include all front office duties that medical assistants perform on a daily basis. Skills are performed both manually and on computers. An introduction to Electronic Health Records is also part of the curriculum.
Front Office Skills
- Receptionist Duties
- Oral Communication Skills (including phone skills)
- Written Communication Skills
- Abstracting and Completion of Medical Questionnaires
- Completing diagnostic test requisitions
- Appointment Scheduling – Office, Surgery, and Diagnostic Testing
- Medical Records & Charting
- Introduction to Electronic Health Records
- Collection Procedures
- Bookkeeping & Banking
- Government Insurance Plans
- Private Insurance Plans
- Worker’s Comp and State Disability
- Managed Care and Authorizations
- CPT, ICD9, and HCPCS Coding
- Insurance Billing
- Provider Reimbursements
- Processing EOBs
Our students must attain competencies in the daily clinical skills used in a medical office.
- Clinical Skills include:
- Infection Control & Sterilization Techniques
- Taking Medical Histories
- Performing Vital Signs
- Specialty Procedures (Eye, Ear, Rectal, & Pelvic)
- Examination Positioning & Preparation
- Assisting with Special Exams
- Specimen Collection & Laboratory Procedures
- Minor Surgical Preparation & Assisting
- Administration of Medications & Dosage Calculations
- Reading and Writing Prescriptions
- Mobility Assistance
- First Aid
General Medical Education:
The Health Care Team
- Medical Specialties and Allied Health Professionals
- Professionalism & Teamwork
- Code of Ethics
- Medical Liability
- Legal Responsibilities & Legal Terminology
- Confidentiality & Privacy Rights
- Security of Electronic Communications
- General Safety
- Bloodborne Pathogens
- Medical Word-Building Terms
- Common Non-Word Building Terms
- Pronunciation and Spelling of Medical Terms
- Medical Abbreviations
Anatomy & Physiology
- Body Structure
- Body Systems & Organ Functions
- Drug Names (Generic & Brand)
- Drug Categories
- Spelling of Drug Names
- Basic English Skills
- Word Processing
- Patient Management Software
- Computerized Appointment Management
- Computerized Insurance Billing
- Computerized Accounts Receivable Management
- Resume Writing
- Interviewing Techniques
Medical Assisting Instructors
Lucy Baron – Donnelly, R.N. - firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucy is a Ventura College Alumni. She graduated from San Diego State University with honors in the field of nursing. She has practiced in the health care field since 1996 and has been a registered nurse and public health nurse since 2001. Her back office experience is based in Internal Medicine & Family Practice, as well as medical/surgical nursing. She has taught for Ventura College since 2003.
Linda A. Davis, CCS - email@example.com
Linda is a certified coding specialist, physician based. She has been in the healthcare industry for more than 25 years. She has taught front office medical courses at Ventura College since 1987.
Kathryn Dunlop, R.N. – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathryn began her career as a Certified Nursing Assistant at age 17. She subsequently trained as an Emergency Medical Technician and then obtained her Registered Nursing Degree from Saddleback College. She worked for years as a nurse in Emergency Departments in Whittier, CA, in Flagstaff, AZ and at Ventura County Medical Center, where she also served as a Mobile Intensive Care Nurse (MICN).
Kathryn has helped several physicians set up and begin office practice and also worked in 1989-1990 as a flight nurse for Guardian Air. She completed her B.S.N. and Public Health Nursing certification at California State University, Dominguez Hills in 2007. She found her true niche however, after completing her certification in Principles of Teaching Adult Learners in 2004 and began teaching nursing that year. She truly enjoys working with students who are excited to begin their career in health care.
Debbie Newcomb, MBA, CMM – email@example.com
Debbie is a full-time instructor in the Career and Technology Division at Ventura College. She received her undergraduate degree from California State University, Fresno and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from University of La Verne. She is a Certified Medical Manager and has taught for over eighteen years. Debbie’s career in the medical field spans over twenty years, as a medical practice manager, medical assistant, allergy technician, biller and coder.
"I love the medical field because it is very challenging, constantly changing, and never boring! I am thrilled to be able to combine it with my passion, which is teaching. I enjoy sharing information and experiences with students to help them succeed in their career goals."