A Discussion With Sandy Poynter – Medical Office Administration Program

Medical Office Administration Highlight

Ohio Valley College of Technology offers a Medical Office Administration program at the campus in East Liverpool, Ohio.  Sandy Poynter, CBCS, CCMA, lead Instructor for the program is a two-time graduate of OVCT in the Medical Office Administration and Medical Assisting programs.  Mrs. Poynter has returned to the college after several years of workforce experience to share her expertise with future students.  She is a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist and Certified Clinical Medical Assistant.  Mrs. Poynter says that students in the program will acquire a variety of skills, including

  • managing and updating patient records,
  • scheduling appointments and greeting patients,
  • recording medical histories and interviewing patients,
  • performing general insurance billing services (preparing insurance forms) utilizing ICD, HCPCS, and CPT Coding
  • managing electronic health records
  • performing basic computer functions,
  • ordering and maintaining supplies
  • organizing office files
  • managing accounts payable and receivable
  • arranging for patient hospital admissions
  • working with many different types of insurers (i.e, Medicare/Medicaid, HMO’s, PPO’s, etc.)

Students receive training for the following medical office certifications in the program and are eligible to take the certification exams for these nationally recognized credentials through the National Healthcareer Association:

  • Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS)
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
  • Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CERHS)

Mrs. Poynter says that employers are seeking graduates who are certified in their field because they want to know whether an individual possesses the skills and knowledge required for the position.  Certifications, in addition to an associate degree, enhance the employability of graduates.

Medical Office Administration Highlight 2

Students in OVCT’s Medical Office Administration training program develop the following skills and attributes:

Organizational skills:  Graduates must have an eye for detail to avoid any clerical errors that could cost their patients or workplace money.

Communication skills:  Successful employees in the medical office will be able to greet patients in a warm and welcoming manner, collect and relay important information to their fellow workers, and translate information for patients who may not understand medical jargon.

Friendly & Outgoing:  Students will learn how to be approachable and how to interact professionally in the workplace.

Patient:  Medical office employees need to stay calm in times of crisis and must be able to handle stress appropriately.

Multitasking:  Positions in the medical field often require individuals to handle multiple tasks at once while working in a fast-paced environment.

Good Listener:  Employees must have good listening skills in order to enter accurate patient information, and be able to follow detailed instructions given by doctors or other healthcare professionals for ordering patient testing or other services.

Adaptable:  Students must be able to bounce between patient interaction and administrative tasks, while continually treating patients in a manner that makes them feel comfortable.

Sandy says that students frequently ask if they can work from home as graduates of the program.  The answer depends on multiple factors such as the company’s policy, the level of experience of the graduate, and the ability of the employee to work independently.  Prospective students also want to know the length of the course.  The Medical Office Administration Associate Degree courses are scheduled so that a student can graduate in as little as 18 months.  Complete details regarding course scheduling and time frame for completion are reviewed by the admissions department when meeting with each prospective student.

All OVCT students are required to complete an externship in a medical office during their final quarter.  The externship experience is designed to give students practical, hands-on experience in their field of study.  To prepare for the externship, students will learn the basic fundamentals of a medical office career in the classroom.  During the externship, students will put into practice what they have learned in class and develop additional skills during the practical application.

Job opportunities for graduates exist in a variety of areas that may include physician’s offices, dental or optical offices, insurance companies, and hospitals or clinics.  Job opportunities may exist as a medical secretary, medical biller/coder, medical transcriptionist, hospital admissions clerk, unit clerk, or in other areas.

Over the next 10 years, Mrs. Poynter sees more medical offices out-sourcing their billing needs to third-party billing companies or employees who work from home.  Along with all of the professional responsibilities, she says that a career in a medical office has an impressive potential for growth.  By working in this field, individuals can lead a successful professional life and develop a solid career that supports a great life.  Mrs. Poynter indicates that opportunities in this field are expected to grow in the coming years.  She states, “At OVCT we not only offer an education, but we offer students the chance at a life-changing career!  We strive for the success of each and every one of our students and treat them like a family.”  To learn more about how to succeed with medical training in short-term courses with small classes, contact the admissions office at OVCT or request more information here.