Front Range Community College Blog

Medical Assistants Demand Rises; FRCC Expands Program

As the health-care landscape changes, the role of medical assistants is becoming more visible and more important.

One of the biggest providers in Colorado – UCHealth – for example, is changing the model of care in its clinics. As outlined in a report to the community we found in The Coloradoan in January, this new model assigns 2.5 medical assistants in support of each physician. The half-time medical assistant manages the doctor’s phones and messages “while the other two work with the physician and the patient the minute they arrive,” the report, called HealthU, stated.

Further, doctors reported more comprehensive and productive visits, and medical assistants reported an increased level of empowerment and job satisfaction.

Hundreds of job openings annually.

This is one reason the demand for medical assistants in Colorado is high – this report stated the UCHealth clinics that tested the model nearly doubled the number of medical assistants on staff. Around the state, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment forecasts about 550 job openings for medical assistants per year for the next eight years. Here’s another take on the rise in demand for medical assistants.

Community colleges, of course, start or expand programs to meet the needs of industry and the workforce demands of their communities. FRCC already has an accredited medical assisting degree and certificate at the Boulder County Campus, and Medical Assistant programs will start at the Westminster and Larimer campuses beginning in fall 2017.

The goal at each campus is to produce trustworthy, educated, skilled, and credentialed medical assistants.

What do medical assistants do?

Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other health-care facilities.

Administrative skills are developed in the areas of medical office procedures, written communications, financial management, insurance billing, International Classification of Diseases – 10th (ICD-10) Edition, and Physicians Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding.

Clinical skills include assisting with patient intake, physical examinations, diagnostic tests, and treatment procedures, including administration of medications and first aid

Accreditation

The longstanding Boulder County Campus program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). Accreditation is pending for the new programs at the Larimer and Westminster campuses.

Accreditation is important for at least two reasons. It is a sign of quality employers want to see when you look for a job. Graduates of accredited programs can sit for national accreditation examinations, so you can take your skills anywhere in the United States.

What’s next?

Choose your campus for your next step:

  • Boulder County: Contact Kari Williams, program director, at kari.williams@frontrange.edu or (303) 678-3833.
  • Larimer: Contact Angie Peach, program director, at angie.peach@frontrange.edu or (970) 204-8218. Attend an information session from 6 to 7 p.m. July 10, July 18, or July 31 in Blanca Peak Room 143.
  • Westminster: Contact Karen Garcia, Allied Health faculty, at karen.garcia@frontrange.edu or (303) 404-5115. Attend an information session at 6 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month in room A-0211 of the campus, 3645 W. 112th Ave.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College.