Medical Assisting

 

Program Description
Rapid changes in health care delivery have increased the demand for competent medical assistants. Graduates of the Medical Assisting curriculum are prepared for employment in a variety of medical and health care settings. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner's specialty. In small practices, medical assistants usually do many different kinds of tasks, handling both administrative and clinical duties and reporting directly to an office manager, physician, or other health practitioner. Those in large practices tend to specialize in a particular area, under the supervision of department administrators.

The evolving landscape of healthcare delivery has increased the demand for competent, versatile Medical Assistants. Graduates of our Medical Assisting AAS degree program are prepared for employment in a variety of medical and healthcare settings.

The duties of Medical Assistants vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the specialty of the practitioner. In small practices, Certified Medical Assistants perform both administrative and clinical duties and report directly to an office manager, physician, or other health practitioner. Those employed in larger practices tend to specialize in a specific area under the supervision of a department manager or administrator.

Medical Assistants perform administrative tasks which may include updating and filing patient medical records and filling out insurance forms. They also perform tasks less specific to medical settings, such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments and handling billing and insurance reimbursement.

Medical Assistants also perform clinical duties which may vary according to what is allowed by state law. Some common tasks include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, preparing patients for examinations and assisting physicians during examinations. Medical Assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies and sterilize medical instruments. They might draw blood, perform electrocardiograms, and change dressings. Medical Assistants also may arrange examining room instruments/equipment and purchase/maintain supplies and equipment.

The goal of this program is to produce graduates who possess the necessary knowledge of contemporary medical office practices and the skills to be an efficient Medical Assistant. Through a series of specialized courses, laboratory work and practicum experience, students acquire the competencies and standards of proficiency which are required for certification by the American Association of Medical Assistants. The program also provides a broad base of information which allows graduates to successfully continue their education in a related medical field.

The curriculum includes a 22 credit hours of general education core courses in liberal arts, social science, and science courses: specifically, Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Psychology, Mathematics and English. The remainder of the coursework has been designed to build clinical and administrative skills. Lectures help students build a professional vocabulary of medical terminology and teach medical law and ethics for health care professionals, basic medical assisting theory and concepts. Students also learn clinical office procedures, clinical skills, and laboratory skills in on-campus laboratories equipped with modern instrumentation to allow students extensive and varied training in a simulated office environment. Additionally, computer skills are stressed using a Microsoft Windows environment and the MEDENT medical practice management program. Students use these applications to record and retrieve simulated patient data, schedule appointments, create communication and correspondence to other healthcare personnel, and billing office procedures using proper ICD-10-CM and CPT codes.

Throughout their time in the Medical Assisting program at SUNY Erie Community College, students acquire the necessary cognitive, psychomotor and affective learning domain standards to become effective entry-level Medical Assistants and, in their final semester, will have an opportunity to apply their knowledge, skills and abilities at an affiliated clinical site during a 160-hour, off-campus, supervised  Practicum externship experience. This unpaid Practicum Experience will bridge the gap between student and allied healthcare professional and provide an opportunity for practical clinical and administrative experience observing, performing and/or assisting with medical assisting procedures while interacting with other members of the healthcare team. The Medical Assisting Department is not responsible for re-assigning students due to absenteeism and/or non-compliance with Practicum site requirements.

Upon successful program completion, graduates may apply to take the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) national certification examination. Graduates passing this Certified Medical Assistant examination may use the credential CMA (AAMA). Many graduates of the Medical Assisting Program immediately assume positions as Medical Assistants in private physician offices. Others work in various healthcare facilities.

A career in Medical Assisting can provide personal fulfillment and build professional experience while working alongside physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and other medical assistants, doctors and nurses, they may take patient histories, get vital signs, draw blood, handle specimens, or perform diagnostic tests. Medical Assistants possess the necessary cognitive, psychomotor and affective knowledge, skills and abilities to perform a blend of clinical and administrative procedures and activities and become valued members of the allied heath team. Medical Assistants also schedule appointments, file medical records, and work with insurance companies. Medical Assistants work in numerous ambulatory healthcare settings including medical offices, medical billing and coding departments, and various areas of hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes and laboratories.

The Medical Assistant is an entry-level healthcare position and is of the few careers in the allied healthcare field that can provide traditional “9-5” hours and/or the flexibility to work around other life obligations. Once a Medical Assistant has gained experience, (s)he may use it as a bridge to other careers by focusing on the aspects that best suit them. Medical Assistants who prefer providing direct patient care may wish to pursue further education in nursing, while those who prefer the administrative aspects of this field may seek to advance their career in heath information technology, healthcare informatics and security, or as an office manager.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook projects a 23% increase in the employment of Medical Assistants from 2018 to 2028; this is much faster than the average anticipated growth rate for all other occupations. The growth of the aging population will continue to increase the demand for preventive medical services, which are often provided by physicians. As a result, physicians will hire more Medical Assistants to perform routine clinical and administrative duties, allowing physicians to see more patients.

 

Program Details

Campus: North

Pre-Admission Recommendations:
Required 85% high school average
Biology
Keyboarding

Admission Criteria

  • high school degree or HSE (High School Equivalency);
    an 85% final grade in high school general biology or completion of Biology 147 achieving a minimal grade of "C-" within the last 5 years;
  • a minimum college GPA of 2.5 within the last 5 years;
  • completion of all developmental English and math courses.

Health Science Report Form
A Health Science Health Report Form is required to be submitted to ensure that students are in good physical and mental health and capable of completing the program requirements. In compliance with this provision, a physical examination and specific immunization records are required of all students prior to acceptance into the program. In addition to the college immunization requirements, the SUNY system highly recommends that students handling fluids that have been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as directly linked to the transmission of HBV or HIV (blood, blood products, body fluids, etc.)be vaccinated against Hepatitis B. Students need to be tested annually for TB (PPD test) and must have a tetanus vaccination within the last 10 years. Students must also have documentation of either a history of Varicella (chicken pox); two dates of VZV immuniations; or VZV titer results. The MA department requires that this specific health information be on file before students complete MA 126 coursework. Furthermore, the NYS Department of Health mandates that all students participating at practicum sites receive the Influenza vaccine or, if declined, the students must wear a mask during office practicum rotations.

Note: The immunization record is required to be current in order for the student to participate in an off-site practicum. The college reserves the right to deny progression in the MA Program when students have incomplete or unacceptable physical exam reports.

Essential Functions

Medical Assistants deal with the public; therefore, they must be neat, well-groomed and have a courteous, pleasant manner and they must be able to put patients at ease and explain physician instructions. They must respect the confidential nature of medical information.

Clinical and administrative duties require a reasonable level of physical strength, manual dexterity and visual acuity in order to successfully perform required competencies. Medical Assistants are often called upon to multi-task and may have to handle several responsibilities at once.

In order for students to perform the essential functions of the Medical Assisting profession, the Medical Assisting student must meet the essential functions in ALL of the following areas:

Visual Acuity: The Medical Assisting student must be able to read charts and graphs, discriminate colors, read instrument scales, observe microscopic materials and record results.

Speech and Hearing: The Medical Assisting student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively in order to assess both verbal and non-verbal communication and share information with other members of the health care team.

Observation and Communication: The Medical Assisting student must possess the ability to communicate effectively and read, write and use the English language to communicate detailed information verbally and in writing with individual patients, families, visitors and other members of the healthcare team and complete required medicolegal documentation. Additionally, students must functionally use all senses: vision, touch, hearing, and smell which are essential in assessing patients and maintaining safety.

Sensory/ Motor Functions: The Medical Assisting student must possess the physical strength and stamina necessary to execute the clinical and administrative tasks delegated to medical assistants, such as obtaining and recording vital signs, manipulating instruments and equipment, preparing patients for physician examination, collecting specimens, performing clinical procedures such as phlebotomy or CLIA-waived laboratory tests, transferring patients, and responding to emergency situations.

Psychological Stability: The Medical Assisting student must demonstrate the emotional health required for full utilization of the applicant’s intellectual abilities. The student must be able to handle stress and take appropriate actions when emergency situations arise.

Affective Behaviors: In addition to meeting the safety and technical requirements of the program, Medical Assisting students must also possess emotional stability and flexibility to develop the ability to think critically, exercise sound judgment, function effectively in stressful situations, accept constructive criticism, adapt to change, maintain confidentiality, and demonstrate appropriate behavior toward patients and other members of the healthcare team


An Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree is granted to each student who successfully completes all coursework and the MA practicum experience. Upon graduation from the program, an individual is eligible to apply for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants) Certification examination.

CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination Outcomes
The Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) has established > 60% as the passing outcome threshold for the CMA examination. The chart below reflects the AAMA (CMA) Examination outcome results for SUNY Erie graduates from 2016-2020. Each year, from 2016-2020, the CMA Examination Pass Rate for SUNY Erie graduates is above the MAERB threshold. Furthermore, the five-year average CMA Examination pass rate for SUNY Erie graduates is 90% which is well above the 60% MAERB passing outcome threshold.

CMA (AAMA) Examination Participation and Passage Rates

Graduation
Year

Total # Who Took
CMA (AAMA) Exam

Total # Passing
CMA (AAMA) Exam

SUNY Erie
CMA (AAMA) Exam
Passage Rates

2020

9

8

89%

2019

4

4

100%

2018

5

5

100%

2017

13

12

92%

2016

21

18

86%

Total

52

47

90%

Threshold:

60%

Medical Assisting Job Placement Outcomes 
As of 2018, Positive Job Placement rates reflect the number of Medical Assisting graduates employed as a Medical Assistant or in a related field based on Calendar Year of Graduation. The Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) has established >60% as the job placement outcome threshold for all CAAHEP-accredited Medical Assisting Programs. The chart below reflects the SUNY Erie Medical Assisting Graduate Job Placement Rate for 2020 at 80% and the average positive placement rate over the past three years for SUNY Erie Medical Assisting graduates is 81.82%, both of which exceed the 60% MAERB threshold.

Medical Assisting Job Placement Outcomes

Year of
Graduation

Total Number
of SUNY Erie
MA Graduates

Number of Graduates
Employed as a Medical Assistant
or in a related field

Number of Graduates
continuing education
or enlisted in military

Number of Graduates
with unknown job status

Positive
Placement
Rates

2020

18

15

1

2

88.89%

2019

7

5

1

1

85.71%

2018

8

6

0

2

75%

Total

33

26

2

6

84.85%

Threshold:

60%

 


SUNY Erie Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The curricula of SUNY Erie are approved by the State University of New York (SUNY) and are registered by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED).

The Medical Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
9355 - 113th Street North, #7709
Seminole FL 33775-7709
727-210-2350
www.caahep.org

CAAHEP accreditation guidelines require that a procedure be established for determining that the applicants' or students' health will permit them to meet the technical standards of the program. In compliance with this provision, a medical health examination is required of all applicants after acceptance to the program. Medical office affiliates require that this health information be current and on file before students are placed for their medical office practicum experiences.


 

For more information:
B. David Sylvia, BBA, CMA (AAMA), North Campus
Room B613D
6205 Main Street
Williamsville, NY 14221
(716)-270-5298