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East Central College is offering a new program for the 2013 spring semester – Medical Assistant. 

 

The program was approved by the Department of Higher Education last fall and is designed to meet the need in the medical community to employ Certified Medical Assistants.  The  new degree program has been designed upon the standards and guidelines for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in Medical Assisting.  ECC offers the Associate of Applied Science degree as well as a Certificate of Achievement.

 

This program replaces the deactivated Medical Secretary program which was offered at East Central for many years. 

 

“Medical assistants directly influence the public’s health and well-being,” stated Mary Beth Huxel, chairperson for the Business, Education, Social Science and Technology division at ECC.  “They are multi-skilled professionals specifically educated to work in ambulatory settings performing administrative and clinical duties.”

 

Huxel noted that specific tasks include phone support, bookkeeping, coordinating appointments, interacting with patients, coding paper and electronic health files and completing insurance forms.  “Some medical assistants also take patient vital signs and help with injections, examinations and lab test preparations under a doctor’s supervision, thereby enabling physicians to focus on direct patient care,” Huxel said.  

 

"We are excited to offer this program,” Huxel said.  “Currently community members have to drive into the St. Louis area to receive training toward the CMA. This will allow them to stay in their community as they work toward attaining this career goal."

 

Amber Dunn has been hired as the full-time faculty member for the department.  Dunn has worked as a registered medical assistant and nurse for many years.  She previously taught medical assistant classes at Everest College and St. Louis College of Health Careers.

 

Dunn will teach three classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays this spring semester:  Administrative Procedures, Interpersonal and Communication Skills and Clinical Setting Procedures.  Space at the Union campus has been converted to a mock office and exam room.

 

Upon completion of a self-study, ECC will apply to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) for accreditation.  “We anticipate this being a two year process,” stated Huxel.  “Upon accreditation from CAAHEP,  East Central graduates will be able to sit for the CMA(AAMA) Certification Exam Eligibility.”

 

Anyone wanting more information about the Medical Assistant program should contact Huxel at 636-584-6613 or email: huxelmb@eastcentral.edu .

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