Medical Office Management
Mari Carmen Rodriguez
Mari Carmen Rodriguez

Welcome to Texas Southmost College Medical Office Management Program. The Medical Office Management Program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a Certificate of Proficiency-Level One. The Program is designed with the assistance of a medical advisory committee comprised of various physicians and business professionals from the community who are well aware of the job potential in today's market.

Medical Office Management (AAS Degree)
An important component of this degree is the integration of coding certification with courses in supervision and accounting. Certification is valuable in demonstrating certain skills or desirable qualities. It is beneficial for students to possess good communication skills, as they often serve as a liaison between health care facilities, insurance companies, and other establishments. Accuracy is also essential because they must pay close attention to detail. A candidate who exhibits proficiency with computers will become more valuable as health care facilities continue to adopt electronic medical records.

Medical Coding and Billing (Certificate of Proficiency)
Coursework includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, legal aspects of health information, health data standards, coding and abstraction of data, database management, and electronic medical records. Coding certification is available through the American Academy of Procedural Coders (AAPC).

The degree is designed for those students who are interested in working in a doctor's office or hospital.

Career Opportunities
The fields of a medical office administrative/billing assistant are excellent. Employment is projected to grow much faster than average, ranking medical assistants among the fastest growing occupations over the 2006-16 decade. The majority of medical office assistants work in physician's offices offering challenging work in maximizing reimbursement from a variety of sources.

Medical assistants perform administrative tasks to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running smoothly. 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 administrative tasks 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. They update and file patients' medical records, fill out insurance forms, and arrange for hospital admissions and laboratory services. They also perform tasks less specific to medical settings, such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, and handling billing and bookkeeping.

Nature of Work: Every time a patient receives health care, a record is maintained of the observations, medical or surgical interventions, and treatment outcomes. This record includes information that the patient provides concerning his or her symptoms and medical history, the results of examinations, reports of x rays and laboratory tests, diagnoses, and treatment plans. Medical records and health information technicians organize and evaluate these records for completeness and accuracy.

Some medical records and health information technicians specialize in coding patients' medical information for insurance purposes. Technicians who specialize in coding are called health information coders, medical record coders, coder/abstractors, or coding specialists. These technicians assign a code to each diagnosis and procedure, relying on their knowledge of disease processes. Technicians then use classification systems software to assign the patient to one of several hundred "diagnosis-related groups," or DRGs. The DRG determines the amount for which the hospital will be reimbursed if the patient is covered by Medicare or other insurance programs using the DRG system. In addition to the DRG system, coders use other coding systems, such as those required for ambulatory settings, physician offices, or long-term care.

Work Environment: Medical records and health information technicians work in pleasant and comfortable offices. This is one of the few health-related occupations in which there is little or no direct contact with patients. Because accuracy is essential in their jobs, technicians must pay close attention to detail. Technicians who work at computer monitors for prolonged periods must guard against eyestrain and muscle pain. Medical records and health information technicians usually work a 40-hour week. Some overtime may be required. In hospitals—where health information departments often are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—technicians may work day, evening, and night shifts.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 June 2016 15:30